Portfolio | Watching Their Figures

Meet 10 artists who focus their artistic attention on the human form

This story was featured in the November 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

Karen Clarkson

Karen Clarkson, The Goddess Within, Laurissa, oil, 16 x 12.

Karen Clarkson, The Goddess Within, Laurissa, oil, 16 x 12.

“THE GODDESS WITHIN, LAURISSA is a portrait of my daughter. It was inspired by her search to reach internal peace and beauty and to radiate love. When Laurissa was growing up, it was evident to me she was truly special. This became even more evident when she became an adult. I have painted her many times, but I never felt I captured her inner strength and beauty until this painting. These days my daughter lives in the wilderness, surrounded by nature. She lives on the land without encumbrance of electricity and other diversions, becoming one with Mother Nature and the ‘goddess’ within.”

representation
Arts Prescott Gallery, Prescott, AZ; www.clarksonart.com.

Jane Chapin

Jane Chapin, Waiting, oil, 16 x 12.

Jane Chapin, Waiting, oil, 16 x 12.

“In my figurative work I am always concerned with becoming too specific or illustrative. There is usually a human element—even in my landscape paintings—that I want the viewer to connect to with their own emotions and story. In WAITING, I was initially very drawn to the model’s contemplative expression and the lighting that brought out the blues and greens in her skin tones. The shawl added the pop of color from the warm light and a layer of privacy to her in the public background of an old hotel lobby.”

representation
Gallery One, Naples, FL; Alla Prima Fine Art, Pecos, NM; janechapin.com.

Paul Schulenburg

Paul Schulenburg, Cleanup Detail, oil, 40 x 30.

Paul Schulenburg, Cleanup Detail, oil, 40 x 30.

“One of greatest challenges an artist can confront is depicting the human form. Capturing the essence of gesture and the personality of facial expression requires skill achieved through years of practice. I find some of the most intriguing figure paintings place the subject in a scene that will add depth and integrity to the work. I am often drawn to depicting the individuals who continue the maritime traditions of our fishing fleets. Part of my interest in painting CLEANUP DETAIL is the interplays of shapes, lights, and shadows. More than that, it is a testament to this living heritage.”

representation
Addison Art Gallery, Orleans, MA; schulenburgstudio.com.

Nancy Haley

Nancy Haley, Splish Splash, oil, 8 x 10.

Nancy Haley, Splish Splash, oil, 8 x 10.

“Pure energy is what I felt as I watched these two girls playing and struggling against strong waves. Their hair was flipping and twirling, and their clothes were flying and clinging to their bodies as they tried to move forward without being pushed over. I filled my brush with fluid paint and let the strokes flow from the figures into the still-wet background, creating a sense of movement. You can’t see their faces, but you know they’re laughing and squealing as the waves splash all around them.”

representation
nancyhaleyfineart.com

Stacy Phillips

Stacy Phillips, Sophia, bronze/turquoise/pearls/silver, 16 x 5 x 5.

Stacy Phillips, Sophia, bronze/turquoise/pearls/silver, 16 x 5 x 5.

“I am constantly on the lookout for something that triggers a ‘what if’ moment. Colors and textures in nature, as well as fashion, create a spark of curiosity, leading me to wonder how I might translate certain combinations into my work. How humans choose to adorn themselves is fascinating to me. The beads used in fashion, whether created by hand or by nature, are inspiring. The figure has been a constant form in my work. I have worked as a jeweler and a sculptor. It seemed like a natural progression to create this body of work.”

representation
Coda Gallery, Park City, UT, and Palm Desert, CA; Pismo Gallery, Denver, CO; www.stacyphillipsart.com.

Rhonda McEnroe

Rhonda McEnroe, When Giuseppe Speaks, watercolor, 22 x 30.

Rhonda McEnroe, When Giuseppe Speaks, watercolor, 22 x 30.

“Giuseppe and Nilde Pinotti have hosted me on each trip I have taken to Italy since 1979. WHEN GIUSEPPE SPEAKS illustrates the pure love seen on Nilde’s face as she sits quietly listening to her husband tell the same old story. As an artist, I enjoy seeking interesting moments, especially when bright light creates strong value contrast and deep tones in the cool shadows. This contrast pulls viewers into the painting, and then the quality of the technique holds their interest.”

representation
Serendipity Gallery, Newburgh, IN; The Earle, Owensboro, KY; Kentucky Artisan Center, Berea, KY; www.enroestudio.com.

Dali Higa

Dali Higa, Children Watching the Parade, oil, 36 x 48.

Dali Higa, Children Watching the Parade, oil, 36 x 48.

“Although CHILDREN WATCHING THE PARADE was created by numerous energetic brush strokes, the painting is unified by a grand harmonious design—very breathable; shaped with rich, grounded colors; and balanced but not busy. I like to travel so I can choose a subject from real life before filtering it through a very subjective process that will bring out the core emotion of the painting. A painting must be mastered from both an artistic and aesthetic point of view to successfully move the viewer and stir an emotional response.”

representation
California Museum of Fine Art, Torrance, CA; Silvana Gallery, Glendale, CA; www.dalihigaart.com.

Clarissa James

Clarissa James, Spring Offering, oil/gold leaf, 60 x 44.

Clarissa James, Spring Offering, oil/gold leaf, 60 x 44.

“SPRING OFFERING is one of a group of paintings called Drawn to Silence. In my work I strive to create an atmosphere of calm, serenity, and beauty—internal and external balance. I capture moments of stillness. This painting was inspired by the rich texture of the Daniel Hanson kimono. Often I see an object or a face and immediately an image appears fully formed in my mind. I love working with rich textures and the finest materials. Here I paint over layers of 23-karat gold leaf. SPRING OFFERING is a contemplation of new beginnings, new seasons, the promise of life unfolding held in the opening magnolia blossoms.”

representation
SR Brennen Galleries, Santa Fe, NM, Scottsdale, AZ, and Palm Desert, CA; Whittington Fine Art, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England; www.clarissajamesart.com.

James Van Fossan

James Van Fossan, Rosibel, oil, 28 x 23.

James Van Fossan, Rosibel, oil, 28 x 23.

“I am a musician as well as a painter, and in both art forms, I strive to capitalize on the extreme complexity of simplicity. While exposing the components of beauty is inherent in my process, my primary goal is to express a new and original form of beauty itself. The single-figure painting, like a perfectly strummed musical chord, contains a multitude of complexities. Realizing these intricacies allows me to build these chords into progressions and eventually into entire symphonies, or multifigure paintings. And though I will continue to create the larger, more complex works throughout my life, I will never cease to sit down with my paintbrush and strum one lovely chord, letting it ring out.”

representation
SR Brennen Galleries, Palm Desert, CA, Scottsdale, AZ, and Santa Fe, NM; Paderewski Fine Art, Beaver Creek, CO; Gallery France, Beynac-et-Cazenac, France; www.jamesvanfossan.com.

Judith Dickinson

Judith Dickinson, Headin’ West, oil, 20 x 16.

Judith Dickinson, Headin’ West, oil, 20 x 16.

“My goal in painting images of the Old West is to tell a story. This painting reaches back to a time long ago when entire families were uprooted from what they knew and headed west to what they did not know—seeking adventure, prosperity, and a new and better way of life. For the children, who had no choice in the matter, it must have been a time of uncertainty, hope, anxiety, and maybe even fear of what was ahead. In creating this painting, I tried to capture the mood, emotion, and atmosphere of what it must have been like for a child to be headin’ west!”

representation
Abend Gallery, Denver, CO; Adobe Western Art Gallery, Fort Worth, TX; Main Street Gallery, Brighton, CO; www.judithdickinson.com.

 

Featured in the November 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art November 2013 print issue or digital download
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