Lady Nakeeda – Oil on 30″ x 40″ Canvas

I decided to use chiaroscuro, once again, for this oil painting. It is hard to capture everything in a photo due to the size. My recent project has been focused on trying to depict the seven different types of love described in Greek. I love combining Classical Realism with more contemporary styles. As we know, love is not one thing. You have love of self, love between friends, lovers, and more! This one is based on Philautia, or self-love.

Lady Nakeeda-Philautia: OIl on 30″ x 40″ Canvas by Vanessa Withun

See more: http://www.vanessawithun.com

Pink Carnation and Apples: 16″ x 16″ Cradled Wood

I received a pink carnation flower for Mother’s Day and decided to pair it with some green apples. I arrange my still life as if it were a landscape–with depth and movement.

See more: www.vanessawithun.com

Why Do I Train in Classical Art?

In a world dominated by galleries representing contemporary styles in art, it is an overwhelming decision to know where to begin when it comes to selecting an artistic style. The truth is I am equally inspired by artist like Jean-Michel Basquiat as I am by artists like Rembrandt and Monet. I think there is room for all kinds of artistic expressions because art represents a unique voice and a statement. People paint for different reasons and in different ways. My first encounter with art was actually from my relatives who painted in a more “contemporary” form. One was a graphic artist/designer, and the other is a graffiti artist. Notice I put quotes on the term “contemporary.” The truth is, any art done recently is in fact contemporary. I decided to call myself a Contemporary Realist because I am influenced by many styles of art and have integrated them into my work. In fact, I am inspired by art from many cultures.

My art will never look like those done in the Renaissance or those painted in another time period. However, I have chosen to train in the Classical Realist style. The reason for this is because I was always drawn to strong shapes and contrast in art. I also love the challenge. I know when I copy older drawings and paintings, I am pushing myself to learn from them. I love structure in painting, but I am also drawn to representational art that tells a story. I love chiaroscuro used by painters like Velazquez and Caravaggio and I am excited by the challenge of depicting the movement of light. I also love Classical Greek Literature and philosophy, which have inspired me to look at art and beauty differently.

When I first began my artistic journey, I was attracted to Representational art, specifically to the more Classical style, which is classified as Western art. I studied from several people who painted from life and in a more traditional way. There are quite a few painters today that have embarked in this journey, however, very few I know are Black or Afro-Latina. Although I enjoy this style for my own personal reasons, I know that there is power in who I am and who I represent. I don’t want anyone to ever say to me that the color of my skin, gender, or any other socially constructed identifier prevents me from painting a certain way and pushes me to paint in any other way. We are only free when we can paint how and what we want regardless of who we are.

This painting was acquired by the Pompano Beach’s Cultural Arts Division for its permanent collection.

See more: www.vanessawithun.com