RESIDENCE: Chatham, NJ
HOW HE GOT STARTED IN ART: “I started oil painting when I was seven, studying under the late Helen Wiscomb. Later, I took classes from Harold Petersen, founder of the Petersen Art Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. I received my BFA from Brigham Young University. Since graduation, I’ve taken courses from Nelson Shanks at the Art Students’ League. Last summer, I studied at the Academy of Realist Art in Florence, Italy.”
HIS PAINTING PROCESS: When painting children, my primary references are a color sketch and digital photographs. After deciding which digital photo to use as my primary reference source, I make a sketch from life to capture accurate color notes. I draw and label certain colors, referencing highlights, tones, and shadows of skin, hair, clothing and background. Then I edit the picture in Photoshop to approximate the digital colors to the colors of my sketch. Next I print a color-managed reference photo that’s the same size as the painting. I mount this reference material on an easel next to the easel on which I put my canvas. The actual painting is done from this reference photograph.
ARTISTS HE ADMIRES: I’m drawn to Sargent’s technique and composition. Some of his murals, such as Gassed are wonderful. I also admire the work of Ciseri, who painted Ecce Homo! and Trasporto di Cristo al Sepolcro. In these paintings, the expression in each figure’s face and gesture gives meaning to his work.
THOUGHTS ON THIS PAINTING: I’ve spent anywhere from three to three-hundred hours on a single painting. Since this painting involves only the head and shoulders and lacks a detailed background, it was at the low end of the time range. I usually encounter some challenge through which I have to struggle on most paintings, but for some reason I didn’t this time. My favorite part about the painting is how it captures Lindsay’s lively spirit, inquisitiveness and engagement.
Kat Sawyer is an artist in Sherman Oaks, California.