That sounds gross, but in the hands of contemporary painter Alex Kanevsky, it's not. As a classically trained artist, Kanevsky's painting techniques and skills are strong. But the way he chooses to paint–in patches and broad swaths that lend a visual vibration to every inch of canvas–is not just about presenting forms realistically.
|R.W. by Alex Kanevsky, 24 x 24, oil painting on wood, 2011.|
In Kanevsky's hands, paint practically pulses with life. If he's drawing a figure, for example, he'll depict the model, the wall behind where he or she sits, the floor, and what the model is wearing and sort of leave traces of them everywhere with his painting brush. A nude figure in front of a blue wall has dabs of that same blue on her thighs and around her hands. A figure clutching a brown coat to her chest is surrounded by that same brown color, as if the coat spilled itself all over the floor. The paint texture varies on the surfaces from slick to scraped and smeared, further complicating where one depicted object ends and another begins. It's bizarre and really, really cool at the same time.
|J.F.H. as an Island by Alex Kanevsky, 36 x 36, oil painting on wood.|
Motion or energy supersedes more traditional preoccupations of light and shadow in Kanevsky's fine art. Patches of shadow and sections of light on a figure's back or face are not realistic but they are refined-and he's aware of this. He is just not allowing what he sees to overtake how he wants to present what he sees, which is a lesson all of us should take to heart if we want to paint in a style that is truly our own. After all, the style with which an artist handles paint and wields the painting brush is what makes them unique.
At Artist's Network University, there are dozens of instructors who paint in many different ways, and we're lucky to have access to them all. Consider treating yourself to an Artist's Network University gift card or give it to that special painter or draftsman in your life so they (or you!) can find art instruction in the style and from the artist that most inspires them. Enjoy!