MIKE SMITH photo realist painter
Inspired by the classicists, my paintings demonstrate the same love of rich fabrics against the figure that painters such as Lord Leighton, John William Godward and Lawrence Alma-Tadema expressed in their work.
I feel my work creates a sense of place with the figure totally at ease, making the interior, or secluded corner of an English country garden, a place of quiet contemplation.
I use light on the figure to enhance the natural form of the model, with deep shadow dramatising the atmosphere of the moment, and accentuating the detail in the contrasting textures of textiles and flesh. A mirrored image occurs in several of my paintings leading the viewer into the same world as the model but only able to imagine her thoughts. I am excited by this sense of mystery but it is always important that the models in my work are believable although they may exist in a dream like or theatrical setting.
I hope my paintings go beyond the "photographic" as the qualities of the paint and its ability to create a reality are a great fascination to me. The female body as a classical form is capable of endless interpretations. I seek to celebrate the form, not to idolise or sensationalise in any way, with the mood of the painting being sensual rather than sexual.
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