Conveying human emotion
This story was featured in the June 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art June 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art June 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
Although his style continues to evolve, Will Pealatere says one thing remains constant: The Los Angeles-based artist has always been drawn to figurative work. Pealatere says the genre is so difficult that it subsequently becomes the most rewarding for him. “The figure is beautiful, perfect in its design, and offers an artist so much to work with,” he says.
For Pealatere, creating a great painting is not about conjuring up a clever concept but rather about conveying the subtlety and variety of human emotions. For example, in PLAY OF LIGHT he evokes the exuberance and joy of childhood. “I wanted the painting to show how pure happiness is when you are young—before the need for money and success weigh you down,” he says.
In a more moody and mysterious painting, WHISPERS OF ALCATRAZ, Pealatere says he tried to capture the despair associated with the infamous California prison. The painting depicts a young woman standing on Alcatraz Island with the ocean in the background. “She is listening to the lost souls of the people who were once incarcerated at the prison,” the artist explains.
Pealatere studied art at Barnstone Studios, an atelier in Coplay, PA, and later at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. But he is quick to point out that he plans to be a lifelong student of art. As this story was going to press, Pealatere had recently learned that one of his paintings was accepted into the prestigious Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition, which runs through June 17 at InSight Gallery in Fredericksburg, TX.
Although he’s just 30 years old, Pealatere says his work has evolved dramatically in his relatively brief career. As the years have passed, he keeps pursuing painterly approaches to his work, expressing and achieving more with fewer brush strokes. “I try to find the right balance between accurate representation of form and loose brush strokes—ones that give the painting rhythm and a lifelike feel that gets lost when you try to paint every detail,” Pealatere says. “It’s important to know what to leave out of a painting, and not just copy what you see, but reinterpret it.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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