I'm an avid reader and am particularly fond of ancient and medieval European history (and enjoy historical fiction of the same), as well as theology and philosophy, especially of the Thomistic and Aristotelian variety. Although primarily self-taught, I graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2017 with a B.S. degree majoring in Art and minoring in Classical Studies (Latin, Ancient Philosophy, Greek and Roman history and the like).
In my artwork, I am principally inspired by the traditions of Catholic sacred art, along with the culture, history and art of the Middle Ages. The Catholic theological worldview of the Incarnation (the great drama of God Himself stepping into human history) elevates humanity and the whole of history into a glorious and epic narrative which fuels my passionate love for religious and historical subjects. This incarnational attitude is the reason that the human figure (especially that of the saints) plays such a central a role in all my artwork. I love to work with a variety of materials and art forms. Much of my portfolio consists of icons, landscape paintings, portraits, calligraphy, illuminations, wood-carving, pyrography, graphic novels, poetry, and short stories. The media I work with the most are ink and watercolors, though I also paint with acrylics and enjoy working with wood as well. In all my work, I delight in dense ornamentation, bright colors and vivid contrasts between light and dark (I love chiaroscuro!). I also like decorative elements of all sorts: designs, borders, and patterns, and pay particular homage to my love of gothic architecture and stained-glass windows. I work in a traditional, naturalistic style inspired by the paintings of late nineteenth-century artists, stained-glass windows, and traditional Byzantine and medieval iconography.
In my portraits, I take especial care in the rendering of the faces, and most especially the eyes (for "the eyes are the windows of the soul" as the great proverb says). I enjoy thoroughly researching my subjects before painting them. In my icons of the saints I try to convey their personality and spirituality through the use of symbolism, while also grounding them in the historical period in which they lived through accurate contemporaneous clothing, hairstyles, etc. The saints are universal and are for all times and places, but I've found that too often in artwork they are abstracted to the point of seeming like nothing more than vague mythological figures. I want to try to depict them as real, joyful, and alive, always ready to encourage and pray for their brothers who still struggle to fight the good fight. I aspire to create artwork that is a rich blend of theology, historically-grounded realism, symbolism, ornamentation, and transcendent goodness and truth through the beauty of the pieces I create. I want the viewer's eye to be captivated and drawn in so that they are led onward to contemplate the beauty of God and His creatures.
Some of my favorite artists include William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Viktor Vasnetsov, Augustus W. Pugin, Br. Max Schmalzl, Sandro Botticelli, Jan van Eyck, Edmund Blair Leighton, Frank Dicksee, Alphonse Mucha, Edmund Dulac, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Thomas Cole, Graham Turner, Mariusz Kozik, Henryk Siemiradzki and the Limbourg Brothers (the artists of the wonderful Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry).
"Contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere" ("To contemplate and to give to others the fruits of contemplation.”) - Motto of the Dominican Order
Love your artwork so much! And just because I'm a wealth of random Catholic facts, here's one for the month of October:
A little-known tidbit I learned recently is that when Columbus said, "We'll turn back in three days if we don't see land," it wasn't an accident that's the very day of the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar (extremely popular in Spain).