This blog is hosted by Hanne Lore Koehler, artist, author, illustrator. I will try to post a new article every day, including new work, painting tips, art news. Hope you will join me and leave a comment!

Sunday, November 29, 2009



A detailed subject with a dramatic contrast in hues along with an indiscernable, implied background puts the focus on the subject (not the floral couch background). To paint the details of the couch would not only date the painting but would certainly detract from the baby's portrait. Movement is implied in this portrait where some details of the subject fade into the background (i.e. the hair and the dog's ear on the left).

Contemporary portraiture, like today's lifestyle, is becoming less formal and rigid now that a subject can easily be captured in a natural unpretentious composition with the aid of photography.

Formal portraits of the past were generally rigid, sterile poses for the simple reason that a person would have to sit in one position for hours in order for the artist to capture the nuances of his subject. Today's formal photographic portraits are still based on our perceptions of those formal oil paintings.

Just as life and technology have evolved over the past century, I believe that portrait art should also evolve, reflecting today's lifestyle and using today's technology. In my opinion, the artist with vision is the one who uses modern technology to his advantage. With the marvelous invention of the camera, it is no longer necessary for artists to expect their subjects to sit still for long, exhausting periods of time posing for a formal, rigid, unrealistic portrait. With the aid of modern technology, today's artist can paint action-packed detailed images from photographs to produce contemporary realistic and informal portraits. A child's portrait is more likely to evoke happy memories if the subject is engaged in a favorite activity in natural surroundings.

I welcome your inquiry into the commission of a personal hand painted portrait for Christmas.