Portrait of Eva (oil, 44×31) by Scott Bartner was a finalist in the portrait/figure category of The Artist’s Magazine‘s 27th Annual Art Competition.
Hometown: Maastricht, The Netherlands
Early Art Years:
I didn’t paint until my late 20s, after pursuing a career in finance. Art made me feel productive, which my office job couldn’t offer. I started off making sketches of friends and colleagues, prior to copying old master drawings. I studied drawing and painting in the evenings at the American University with Ruth Stroik. Frank Wright, Washington D.C. artist and teacher, recommended I study with Danni Dawson, a prize student of Nelson Shanks. In 1991 I moved to the Netherlands and worked on establishing the foundation for my technique with the Dutch artist Maarten Welbergen.
My career as a financial analyst ended in 1993. I moved to Maastricht and began working full-time as a professional artist painting commissioned portraits.
While I have done some still life and landscape work, I primarily work with portraits and figurative paintings in oil. Although my home area in Province of Limburg is ideal for landscape painting, I prefer to hike through it rather than paint it.
I like to paint my daughter Eva during her developmental stages. In one situation I captured the uneasy period of attending school and creating friendships. I wanted to the viewer to see her sense of loss after a disagreement with her best friend.
I worked on Portrait of Eva both from life and photo. I began with a pencil drawing and transferred it to the substrate, linen mounted on panel. The drawing developed into a tonal underdrawing using Van Dyke brown. A grisaille underpainting was created using flake white, titanium and zinc white painted over the dried underdrawing. Color was then applied in transparent layers on the dry underpainting. While the transparent layer was still wet, opaque paint was applied to the light areas for smoother transitions. I continued this process until I met my desired flesh tone and pattern.
Time Spent on Paintings:
Typically I’ll spend four to six weeks on a painting working on several projects at once. With Portrait of Eva it took a little longer because of the difficulty of getting the expression just right. I try to avoid any projects with deadlines; I don’t paint well under pressure.
I work primarily on panel but this time chose a linen panel. The difficulty was keeping the linen structure smooth and barely visible. Having that subtle structure helped me create interesting clothing textures that are impossible to achieve with a smooth panel alone.
I just completed a painting of a little girl wearing a kimono. Now I’m working on a portrait of a woman wearing a tiara. I aim to always be working on at least one non-commissioned piece. It’s satisfying to work for the love of art.
Visiting museums and art fairs with 19th century realist art inspires me a great deal. Maastricht, Holland hosts the European Fine Art Fair, one of my favorite shows. Online work posted by my colleagues also inspires me.
Edited by Hunter Tickel, editorial intern for The Artist’s Magazine.
Artists of the Month are chosen from the list of finalists of The Artist’s Magazine’s Annual Art Competition.
• Working Up From a Grisaille (step-by-step portrait demo by Scott E. Bartner)
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