This is a painting a began about a year ago. I decided to put it away and sort of forgot about it until recently. I remember being unsure about it back then, but there were elements I really liked. I painted this from my imagination. Today, I decided to add some touches to it to bring out the contrast and color. I also used a different medium back then, so I don’t want to do too much to change the effect of the old medium which consisted of a special old masters blend. Wood panels have been one of my favorite surfaces, besides linen, to work on.
I began painting this one a couple of years ago and it was initially commissioned for a public symposium dedicated to African Americans in Classical Literature in Savannah, GA. I was able to acquire this piece again and it will now be shown at The Telfair Museums’ Jepson Center for the Arts in Savannah, GA next months. What makes this piece important is that I was unable to locate a picture in color so I had to recreate this from a black and white photo. From what I know, there are very few paintings of him, if any. He is known to be the First African American Scholar in the Classics going from slavery to becoming president of Wilberforce University, in Ohio. He also wrote a classical Greek textbook for students.
This portrait is inspired by Vermeer’s famous painting “Girl with a Pearl Earing” and the style of Rembrandt. This is actually a portrait of the late actress Esther Rolle, the famous American comedian from the show Good Times. I used her as the model due to her beautiful smile. This painting will be feature at the Ali Cultural Arts Center in Pompano Beach, FL on October 30th until February 22nd, 2020.
I decided to do a portrait of the late Chadwick Boseman with charcoal on 14″ x 11″ paper. He has been in so many great films aside from the well-known “Black Panther” movie. An interesting fact about this man is that Denzel Washington payed his way to the prestigious British American Drama Academy while he was still a student at Howard University. It was great that he saw the talent in this young man.
I also decided to feature one of my older paintings from 2018. I am very passionate about the ecosystem especially since I live in a coastal area. This one was displayed at the Garibaldi Museum in Oregon for an art show dedicated to the coastal areas around the United States.
This was a 1 hour sketch done on 11″ x 14″ Toned Paper using Conte Crayons. I tried to use the tone of the paper as the mid-tone only using the white crayon for the lightest highlights. I have seeing some people blend the white and black for a grey mid-tone. I think this can cool the drawing too much, depending on the color of the paper. It is certainly not a perfect sketch, at least to my standards, but I know it has been a long time since I sketched a live portrait. I will be doing these frequently along with some figure drawings.
I started off with a simple set up for this one using only two of each kind of fruit. I then decided something was missing, so I added the fruit in the shadows. I wanted to implement the stylistic features of Chiaroscuro paintings, which emphasizes dark to light.
This painting is based on a beautiful photo taken by my husband. I was present when he took it, so I was able to absorb some of the scenery. I added my own touch, of course. I asked people on FB and Instagram to give me a name suggestion, and someone suggested the name “untouchable.” I really liked the touch of irony in the name as I attempt to draw you in with the textures.
My reflection for this painting is to continue to pursue what makes you happy!
I’ve gotten asked several times by people why do I paint given my background. Honestly, I don’t have a good answer. I was in the Army, have gone to nursing school, and hold two bachelor degrees, but I chose to pursue art out of the many things I could have done. I think art was always in me. I had several relatives that were artist, and my uncle is a well know graffiti artist (No it’s not Banksy!). I grew up in Bronx, NY in what you would consider a “rough” area with a single mom, and was able to get through college on my own. It wasn’t until later in life that I began to draw. It took a couple of years to call myself artist, but five years into my art journey, here I am doing this and with no compulsions to quit. I hope that my art and words inspire someone to not give up, and to pursue what makes them happy despite what others think.
This painting and a few others are now available for sale on my website. Simply click and scroll down to the painting: https://vanessawithun.com/