Beau is a dashing little Cavapoo, a Cavalier Kind Charles Spaniel and Poodle mix, who finds his sweet and impish nature challenged by a pair of taunting crows.
Prints available on Etsy.
I presented a talk at the downtown Napa Main Library on July 12, 2019 about how and why I make my animal portraits. In my talk, I reveal a pivotal moment from my childhood, something unique about how I think and how that shapes my art, and I describe my process in depth. Please enjoy this recording from the opening reception, as well as a write up from the Napa Country Register.
Art in the Library featuring Jamie L. Luoto runs throughout the month of July 2019. Click here for more details.
Introducing Orca & Odie
It is an awesome responsibility and honor to create a portrait of remembrance. I was touched by my collector's love for her two dogs, Odie, who had recently passed away, and Orca. The pair shared a special bond and this piece is a terrific example of how individual identities meet and meld into a unique relationship, a sort of evolved oneness. Ultimately this piece is neither about Orca or Odie, It's about how they related to one another as individuals and the choices and life they shared together.
CONCEPT & THUMBNAILS & COLOR PALETTE
In the case of a commissioned portrait, I begin with research and interviews. I explore the subjects behavior, diet, and home. I think of breeds the same way we think of our own human ancestry, and I consider stories about the subject, as well as how they relate to the members of their family. With this information I imagine who this creature might be and sketch out ideas of how they would appear in a portrait of themselves. For example, Orca and Odie kept checks and balances on one another - Odie's loving and free spirit complimented and challenged Orca, whose herding background informed her practical nature and desire to keep tabs on her family, especially Odie!
My approach to color in a commissioned work is both a consideration for my collectors taste, while also taking into consideration the different emotional or symbolic interpretation a color can represent. For example, we decided on a cool jewel tone palette. In Orca & Odie the outdoors, and in particular water, in it's many forms were important to the pair. Within the range of jewel tone colors, I created an abstract geode looking background representative of the cool and fresh alpine feeling of dancing water and twinkling snow. It's important to know my color palette before I begin painting with gouache — unlike acrylic and oil, gouache doesn’t allow one to simply paint over something unliked. The colors I select are part of the story the painting tells and emphasize the animal’s identity.
Before I begin painting, I draw a realistic rendering of my subject(s) in graphite. In Orca & Odie I had to consider the relation of their size and builds for accuracy and correct proportions. Orca has more pointed features, but a thick and ample coat of fur, whereas Odie had a boxy, muscular build with very short fur. Once the drawing is finalized, I erase my pencil work until it is just barely visible. The faint pencil marks are essential because I use my line work as a map to block in color, but it is important that I erase enough so that the pencil marks do not show through the paint.
I typically begin by blocking out the background color or the outfit, and then I apply a number of translucent washes to the face to develop the structure and depth through gradual shading. As my work progresses, the opacity of my paint increases, my brushes get smaller, and the painted details more exact. I spend hours painting individual hairs and blending until I am satisfied with the detail in my work.
How do I know when I’m finished? There is a certain level of precision detail that appears finished to me. I no longer see areas wanting for more — more hairs, speckles, sheen, shading etc… it’s a combination of experience and a gut feeling.
My portraits go beyond a likeness of the subject, they celebrate individuality, capture the spirit, and encapsulate stories, all of which bring the piece to life.
Rattlesnake and Turkey Vulture are exhibiting as part of Animalia at the Healdsburg Center for the Arts. Join me at the opening reception Saturday, March 2, 5:00-7:00pm. The exhibition continues through April 14.
A portion of the proceeds from all of the art sales in Animalia will be donated to the buyers choice of the Humane Society of Sonoma County and/or Safari West Foundation.
Healdsburg Center for the Arts
130 Plaza St., Healdsburg, CA 95448
Open | Sun, Mon, & Thur 11am-5pm
Fri & Sat 11am-6pm | Closed Tue, Wed
Freddie is part of a high altitude gallery composed of 90 artist's works from around the globe that have been replicated on seven foot banners and hung on lampposts throughout the world-famous Garment District in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, creating a fantastic aerial art gallery that will remain on view from September 12 to October 30, 2018.
*Freddie is located on West 39th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue.
I'm eager to present my newly painted animal portraits. Although this series has always focused on individuality, in previous years the works have thematically centered around locations, such as Sonoma County or the Arctic. This year is a little different because I focused on female identity as I developed three portraits of North American animals - Bald Eagle, Mountain Lion, and Black Bear.
When human women are depicted as strong it is almost always along with sex appeal - the "strong and sexy” cliche - as if female strength and capability are synonymous with sex appeal. The bald eagle, mountain lion, and black bear are all seen as strong animals, at the top of the food chain. When we encounter one we don’t automatically make assumptions about the animal based on its gender. We appreciate their strength, beauty, power and ferocity.
We marvel at the amazingness of both female and male animals, never questioning their abilities, motives, or intelligence based on gender. So why do we tolerate and accept the gender limitations we impose upon ourselves as humans? By anthropomorphizing these female animals, and giving each a unique identity, I seek to question why our society often struggles to present strength, intelligence and beauty without sexual undertones.
I created this space to showcase my past work, chronicle my current projects, and share my inspiration.