John Van Dreal

John in the studio

Artist’s statement:

My artistic style and method, as well as my philosophy about art, is founded in my admiration for the Northern European realists as well as American Realists of the early 20th Century.  As a craftsman, I build surface and texture through layered oil painting combined with thin applications of translucent glazing.  I have found that such an approach allows me to capture light as well as render form that has a sort of intrinsic identity.  This is especially important when working with still life, the figure and portraiture because character and spirit are necessary features that the work must offer the viewer while remaining a subtle expression of beauty as it is found in the simple arrangements of form within the quiet moments of life.  I study and report these moments by continually sketching, writing and painting on multiple canvases.  I also capture the actual pure color remnants from my pallet and employ it compositionally throughout the work providing a work that is a representation of artistic process, from basic subject sketch and composition through creative interpretation and the use of material and medium.  The completed painting is a collection of moments with nothing wasted or left behind.

Using this method, combined with traditional aesthetic principles, allows me to create contemporary images that are evocative and spiritual, and hopefully connect with the viewer on a personal or individual level. By indulging in form and the aesthetic, I attempt to paint the denominators most common to human beings in their search for the beautiful and sublime, and thus hope that my art offers a connection to good things. 

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