Heart and soul
This story was featured in the August 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art August 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.
The subjects in her portraits often stare out of the canvas, beckoning viewers to glimpse their souls. For Southern California painter Andrea Mosley, that’s exactly her artistic intent. “Each face has a unique story to tell, and that story is found in the subject’s expression, specifically through their eyes,” Mosley says. “It’s been said that the eyes are windows to the soul.”
Viewers sometimes tell Mosley that her portraits resemble photographs, attempting to offer their best compliment. But Mosley points out that a photograph can never capture all of the values, colors, nuances, and depth that a skilled artist conveys with paint. For her, painting in the representational tradition is far more than depicting the flat likeness of a photograph. “Painting is about bringing a canvas to life with paint by imbuing the surface with not only the soul of the subject, but also the heart of the painter,” she says.
Mosley grew up in a family that nurtured a passion for the arts, including drawing and painting. When it came time for college, she entered a small private university to study art but soon discovered that most members of the faculty were strong proponents of conceptual art, which didn’t interest her. Through a friend, Mosley learned about the esteemed Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. She signed up for a summer workshop and then enrolled in the full-time program, undertaking four years of intense study of traditional painting and drawing.
Today, classical artists from other eras remain strong influences on Mosley—painters such as Gustav Klimt, Caravaggio, and John Singer Sargent. In PORTRAIT OF MY FATHER, the artist notes that she was inspired by Sargent’s 1879 portrait of his teacher, PORTRAIT OF CAROLUS-DURAN. “The pose in my father’s portrait is classic and timeless, and the expression captures perfectly the dignity, warmth, and charm that my father possesses,” the artist says.
Mosley frequently teaches painting and drawing at colleges in Southern California, including the Laguna College of Art + Design and the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art. Her work most recently appeared in the California Art Club’s annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition at the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles. —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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