One of the easiest ways to decide what’s popular this year – or any year – is to check the pulse of the fashion industry. Pantone would have to be my first stop then, as color is, in my oil painting world, the first order of reality check. And if Pantone is preaching the beauty of “Marsala.” you go along...but Marsala? It just sounds kinda loaded with garlic. Who agrees?
Dirty purple notwithstanding, fashionable colors are important to living artists. We do not paint to please, exactly, but we do strive to be popular ourselves. We recognize our symbiotic relationship with designers and decor, and so we often study and accept what’s considered good, friendly, color matching in our work.
Nothing is easy about portrait art creating except our ability to tone and tilt our portrait paintings toward any certain color scheme we choose. As long as the choice is made early, we can certainly make our reds dustier, and our mauves browner, if the color design experts and greater buying professionals such as interior designers (or our clients) are likely to say we need to.
A few of the current trends for portrait artists show our attentiveness to interior design and architectural demands.
Maybe it’s always been that way, but it seems portraits are being less structured in size, and canvas orientation, than ever before. Want tall, narrow, and elegant? Crop it. Got a long wide space? Order a landscape portrait. Everything’s possible.
No longer does the sitter have to bring their own elaborate lamp, table, place setting and horse to the portrait studio for detailed background studies. Treating art pieces like color fields, many artists are finishing canvases with either crisp color masses like Bart Lindstrom’s, or orient-finished, repeating motif details like Kehinda Wiley’s. The artist is free to choose the background, and to choose how much of it to finish, or not.
No longer do we rigorously have to see the “bows and toes” of darling daughters… or the miniature smoking sweaters and yachting shoes on the pre-school family scions. Clients are learning their power more and more in choosing original, meaningful portrait genres. Here is a new classic that offers a variation on the casual-as-chic; a low-country casual scene of three grandsons of an important Southern family, complete with bare feet and tidal marsh arena.
There may have been a strict family order in hiring a portrait painter in years past – anything from “The painter is in town- we gotta get these done now!” to “Everybody gets their portrait done at age 12.” But now is different.
Many people today find that an event or milestone in their lives just clicks, and they realize the moment has come. For some, a loss cements their desire to grasp onto the happy connection to a cherished family member – and they know that getting a painting of that moment in time will comfort them for years to come.
What have you seen to be popular in decor? Is “Marsala” a criteria for successful decor in your room this year? Are portraits on the incoming or outgoing tide – strong enough to meet landscape and design on its own? Our Spring 2015 gallery show at the Library Wall Gallery in Sandy Springs, outside Atlanta, of Portraits In Decor strives to highlight the natural positioning in room design between portraiture and landscape art. Ask for more about your portrait design needs here.
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