There are times in life when we reminisce of days gone by and long to somehow capture a permanent record of such transient moments of the past. Once the events take place, however, the story has been written and all that remains are the memories of the moment and the telling of the tale. Such memories are those which we hold on to for the rest of our lives, ones that touch the heart of every human being and hold the greatest untold stories. Stories worthy to remember, retell, and relive, but which require a storyteller to bridge the gap between the past and the present. It is this storytelling that fascinates me and one in which I find myself engaged in on a daily basis. I am intrigued with people and the stories that they have to share, stories that are written on their faces, just waiting to be read. As a portrait painter, I am not only interested in portraying the outward appearance of a person, but am looking beyond the cover of the book in order to read the story behind it, for it is within these pages where life is lived. This story begins to show outwardly through mannerisms, gestures and attitude. It is this outward display of inward emotions that affords me the opportunity to tell the story of a lifetime.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a well painted portrait may be priceless. Through the use of oil paint and brushes, along with a keen eye and steady hand of an artist, the summary of a person’s life can be captured within the confines of a single canvas. A great portrait painter is not only in the business of capturing likenesses, but is interested in capturing memories, as well. Whether I am commissioned to paint the accomplishments of a successful businessman for a boardroom or the innocent youth of a child on a sunlit beach, the objective remains the same: Excellence. By employing the highest standards of the past, I am striving to create a painting that will stand the test of time and one which will tell the story of those that are being painted with the same excitement and enthusiasm of a great storyteller.

Each portrait is as unique as the individual who is being portrayed. A one of a kind work of art handcrafted using the finest materials available, such as Belgian linen, heavy duty canvas stretcher bars and Winsor & Newton oil colors. The permanence of these materials ensures that the painting will be preserved for years to come. The use of light plays an integral part in interpreting my subjects and helps to set the mood of the painting. Whether it is the strong, dramatic light of an indoor portrait, or the high pitched, soft lighting of an outdoor subject, careful attention is paid to both the values and color temperature of the light. It is this interplay of warm and cool temperatures within a close value range that gives the illusion of depth and form and helps to bring life to a painting.

Through accurate drawing and a variety of edges I strive to create a portrait that looks relaxed and natural, one which holds the viewer’s attention and invites them to take a closer look. Capturing a person’s character is of utmost importance as well. That ability to record an elusive, intangible trait with such sensitivity as to allow the viewer to feel as though they might know that particular individual is the difference between a good portrait and a great portrait.

As a student of art, I am constantly surrounding myself with great works of art, whether it is in books or photographs, or visiting museums and gleaning knowledge from the old masters, particularly those of the late nineteenth century. Artists such as John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla, and Anders Zorn are among my favorites. The constant studying of great art is vital for me as an artist. It is a reference point from which I can gauge my own work and progress and also serves as a great source of encouragement and inspiration. It is that inspiration that drives me to tell the story of others in a way which it has never been told before, a story not written in words but spoken in paint, a story that can be instantly told each time that it is viewed.

By doing so, I am able to capture a sliver of time and a moment of memories which can be shared with others for generations to come.


Portrait of Josie by Brian Neher