Ken Bronikowski

Spanish Onion (oil, 8×10) by Ken Bronikowski was a finalist in the Still Life category of the 2005 Art Competition.

ART EDUCATION: ?I broke into commercial art at the age of 17, just out of high school. I got into the art department if Gimbels department store in Milwaukee, doing newspaper art, first paste-up and small spot drawings, then drawing furniture and progressed into men?s fashion art.

“While working at the department store, I commuted to Chicago on Saturdays, where I was fortunate enough to study under William H. Mosby at The American Academy of Art. I attended figured drawing and oil portrait painting classes for about one and a half years. Basically, that?s all the formal education I?ve had. I?m mostly self-taught from there, on.?

MENTORS: ?Early in my career, Mosby was my only real mentor. He was a wonderful instructor, helping many people develop their art skills, especially the highly respected artist, Richard Schmid. For several years, I?ve had the privilege of knowing and painting with Dan Gerhartz and a group of artists. We paint portraits and Dan is our mentor. His critiques and honesty are extremely helpful and his knowledge of painting is amazing.?

WORKING PROCESS: ?I don?t draw much when I start. Rather, I look for shapes to paint, specifically their values, edges and temperatures. Portraits are done from life with a limited palette of four colors, namely titanium white, yellow ochre, cadmium red hue and ivory black. I use water-soluble oils indoors.

?Still lifes, landscapes and wildlife are done with a different limited palette: titanium white, cadmium yellow light, alizarin crimson, thalo green (yellow shade) and ultramarine blue.

?After 44 years of illustration, it was difficult to get out of the commercial mode and loosen up with oils. What helped me was the limited palette, small Masonite panels (8×10) and large filbert and flat brushes. Because of my commercial background, I paint rather quickly. A painting of an onion such as this takes one and a half hours.?

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