Kevin Ritchie

I.D. Card (oil, 36×24) by Kevin Ritchie was a finalist in the Portrait and Figure category of the 2005 Art Competition.

HOW HE GOT STARTED IN ART: “As a child, I was something like Hokusai in that every unoccupied minute was time for drawing. For a long time, I never thought of art as a career; I enjoyed it too much. It was less something I did and more some thing I was: The drawing kid. It wasn?t until after graduating high school that I realized that there was nothing I wanted to pursue in college, until someone offered me a scholarship in the one thing I had passion for. In 1996, I received a BFA in painting and drawing from Southwest Missouri State University.

ARTISTS HE ADMIRES: “The artists I admire are not often the ones I emulate. I?m drawn to Abstract Expressionism and Postmodern Realism; Diebenkorn, de Kooning, Debuffet, Kokoschka, Kossoff, Rauschenberg, Kiefer, etc.

I?m influenced stylistically by the artists of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The list is long. The artists who?ve most influenced my work are Velazquez, Ribera, Guercino, Jordaens, Degas, Rubens, Vermeer, Delacroix, Rembrandt, selected works of Caravaggio as well as works by Lucien Freud, Mark Tansey and David Salle.

MEDIA AND GENRE:” I?ve studied in most media. The ones I work in most often, professionally, are oils, charcoal, pen-and-ink and graphite. The genre I?m most prolific in are figurative and naturalistic (wildlife and landscape) and mostly an amalgam of the two. I supposed I?d call it classical style with modern motif. Also, I do portraiture to keep us in diapers and kibble.

INSPIRATION FOR THIS PIECE: “With this piece, I intended to make a work that?s blatant and in-your-face. A strong warning-red, the unapologetic cigar, the coyless stare?a man of experience who needs an I.D. card to identify him in a place he?s worked for years as a steel welder.

The painting puts the man, not the I.D. number, right in your space. There?s a confrontation here that, be it for racial, economic or social reasons, we usually try to avoid. With this painting, it?s not leaving; it doesn?t break down.

PALETTE: “Working in an archaic style, there are some old standards: umbers, Van Dyke, Naples yellow, cadmium red light. Most often the white I use almost exclusively is Cremnitz white for its luminescence. I try to mix white as little as possible so as not to mute the colors.

I will use an initial undercolor of Old Holland raw umber very thinly rubbed over the white gesso for a light golden color. On top of that I tend to use much transparent/translucent glazing for the colors to have an underglow of many colors without the dilution of color-saturation by mixing colors and without the chalky, muting opacity of mixing with white for illumination.

It does seem that for some reason I have a bias for the most poisonous and toxic pigments: the cadmiums, the cobalts, the lead whites, cerulean. Maybe art needs to be dangerous to be art.”

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