In painting, the addition of color onto solid forms moves them away from the ambiguity of a black and white drawing. Now dependent on the intensity or subtlety of the coloring, wholly new moods and atmospheres are created. In addition, a drawing often times has a little more “airy” quality to it, whereas the paintings appear to have more solidity and weight.

I love working with the juxtaposition of artificial and natural light and the points where the two light sources merge. I get this wonderful and often times strange color that I wouldn’t get from either source alone. In Storm, the model was underlit by red artificial light and his hands and feet were exposed to indirect natural lighting. Optically, that created a very odd, grayed-out acid green on the palms of the model’s hands and soles of his feet, which suited the atmosphere I was trying to create.

People respond to color emotionally. I direct the viewer to see my world when I’m doing any kind of artwork, so the more color and detail elements I add, the more I influence the viewer to see in a particular way. That said, when a piece is most successful, it still maintains an enigmatic quality of content or form, which allows viewers to bring their own experiences to it.

drawing detail

Detail of Norman Tyler Larson from the Portrait Painting Portfolio