Experimenting with New Technique
Traditional portrait painting is familiar to us all. We have seen examples in libraries, board rooms, museums, and even the White House. They are almost formulaic in their approach. For some this technique, was 'classic', for others it was boring and lacked energy. While the artist had experimented with portrait painting using the Northern European style he had worked with for years, it was not true creative expression for him...it was a sort of mimicry attempting to see/feel what the artists before him did. But this was not fulfilling, for the obvious reason...it lacked depth and lustre.
John began a 'repaint' of an older portrait he had done of Benjamin Franklin incorporating a new approach he had concieved. The facial portion was now 'over-painted' using a new application method. And it began to flow out of him. He used the $100 bill [engraving] as a model. Ben's favorite coat featured in the original painting was maintained as is, with only his face enlightened using oil pens and texture in an impressionistic way. technique. John's art had evolved!
Benjamin Franklin - close up
This new technique had the look and feel of engraving, or woodcarving. But was merged with the color and layering style which he had worked with for years. The visual experience was one that was spontaneous, line based and colorful. This resulted in a flurry of work being done based on historic engravings and woodcuts, as well as more contemporary work like the Dead Presidents and a new self portrait.
The artist considers this a significant breakthrough and is excitedly working to develop the style on different subjects and in different ways, Mostly he is excited about bringing 'life' to the people in his portraits, to paint in a new and exciting way, enabling the flow of creative expression that would unlock his development in painting portraits, as well as other subject matter.