Portfolio | The Human Experience

Michael Mao

Boardwalk, oil, 40 x 30.

“While I was watching the beginning of the 1964 French movie Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, I had the idea to paint a top-down scene of people walking on the street. Later, when I was riding the cable car at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, I looked down and saw people walking, and it triggered that idea again. When I painted BOARDWALK, I had Italian painter Morandi’s still-life works in the back of my mind: twisted line and tangent edges between the objects in a limited color palette. The lighting is pretty flat with limited depth and not many shadows. I also want to do a series of paintings looking down showing different pavement on the ground and different seasons and weather.”

Waterhouse Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA; Park Gallery, Carmel, CA; www.michaelmaoart.com.


Vincent Giarrano

Communiqué, oil, 18 x 24.

“The figure is a major element in my work. I love capturing the beauty that exists in people moving through daily life. I especially enjoy quiet moments that speak so much about our culture and society. In COMMUNIQUÉ, I show a young woman texting in a city doorway, communicating yet isolated. This idea is heightened by the contrast of her figure against the surrounding architecture. Opposite her is a newspaper, a reminder of how technology has changed how we receive information.”

Waterhouse Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA; Susan Powell Fine Art, Madison, CT; Grenning Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY; Gardner Colby Gallery, Naples, FL; www.giarrano.com.

Cynthia Feustel

Summer Solstice, oil, 37 x 54.

“I like to think beyond the obvious visual representation in my work, creating stories about the figures as I paint. In SUMMER SOLSTICE I was interested in the symbolism of the sun and solstice. As the late-afternoon sun filters through the translucent layers of fabric, the arch of the skirt forms a landscape that mimics the path of the rising and setting sun. While the sun fires up our passions and heats up our hearts to the potential of life that abounds, it also warms and quiets the spirit. With her face turned gently toward the light, this woman seems to be lingering in a moment—just as the sun lingers on the solstice, the longest day of the year.”

Turpin Gallery, Jackson, WY; Orly’s Art Gallery, Colorado Springs, CO; www.feustelfineart.com.


Ryan S. Brown

Daydreams, oil, 44 x 60.

“The design for this painting was based on the simple idea of quiet, contemplative moments. I love portraits that move beyond portraits and give viewers the chance to relate to the painting in their own personal way. I designed the dress for the model specifically to frame her against the antique chair in a bold way, with the sash around her waist to add a stroke of color that played off of her flesh tones. I like putting pieces of art in the backgrounds of my paintings to show the importance of living with art. In this case I included an Ilya Repin drawing, an Edwin Austin Abbey drawing, and a Waterhouse painting in the background, all of which helped the theme of a woman off in thought.”

Astoria Fine Art, Jackson, WY; Principle Gallery, Alexandria, VA; M Gallery of Fine Art, Charleston, SC; Haynes Galleries, Thomaston, ME, and Franklin, TN; www.ryansbrownart.com.


Ignat Ignatov

Morning in the Snow, oil, 28 x 22.

“Bulgaria is a place close to my heart. Returning to the country of my roots has provided me inspiration for many paintings. MORNING IN THE SNOW is a depiction of peasant life in Bulgaria. On this morning, I came across a man whom I found very intriguing. His hard life was carved into every wrinkle of his face. Dressed in working clothes, he represents life in a rural village in the Stara Planina Mountains. By using the impasto painting technique, I wanted to bring to life his weathered features. The roughness of the brush strokes and layering of the paint provide depth and texture to the painting, echoing his many years.”

Greenhouse Gallery, San Antonio, TX; Total Arts Gallery, Taos, NM; Egeli Gallery, Provincetown, MA; Marchese Fine Art, Marina del Rey, CA; www.ignatovart.com.


Mark Andrew Bailey

In the Weeds, oil, 24 x 30.

“The setting of this painting is the kitchen at Basil Thai Restaurant in Charleston, SC. Every time I have been there, it is full of life and has an environment that begs to be painted. In this particular piece, as with many of my paintings, I tried to capture the color and energy of the inspired, fleeting moment. This is especially difficult when adding figures to the mix. I want to stay as true to the drawing and form of the figures as possible while maintaining loose but direct brushwork to imply the movement of the scene.”

Wells Gallery, Charleston, SC; Gallery 903, Portland, OR; Dean Day Gallery, Houston, TX; Brandt-Roberts Galleries, Columbus, OH; Water Street Gallery, Douglas, MI; Lovetts Gallery, Tulsa, OK; www.baileypaintings.com.

Featured in January 2012.