“A man’s face is his autobiography. A woman’s face is her work of fiction.”  Oscar Wilde.

Oh, for goodness sake, Oscar, you know that’s not true. The lives of women are written on their faces, too. No amount of makeup or plastic surgery will turn their (and some men’s) stories into beguiling fiction and the older we get the more legible the calligraphy. Like it or not, our faces are sculpted biographies.

I paint portraits, lots of them. I’ve been doing it for years and, yes, there are people whose faces are a mask. But the mask usually reveals as much as it disguises. Think of Jared and Ivanka for a moment — bear with me — and consider the affectless, vacant demeanors they present. Meant to conceal, they proclaim the languid hubris of the preposterously entitled.

It’s a truism that a great portrait artist, whether a painter or a photographer, will capture the essence of his subject’s personality: his or her intelligence or lack thereof, wit, willfulness, arrogance, humility. The essential person will be revealed using the simple tools of paintbrush, oil and canvas.

It’s a lot to ask. But one only has to look at the work of the great masters – Rembrandt, Annigoni, Sargent – to know that it can be done. There are artists working today where that quality and insight is only a few brushstrokes away.

I’m not there yet, but with each painting I get a little closer.

Please contact me if you’d like to commission a portrait:

 A quick portrait sketch in oil on canvas.

Video by Chloe King

Landscapes and Still Lifes



One thought on “Paintings

  1. Hi Alan
    Just met you tonight at the opening of your show. As I related to you earlier, I saw the show this past Saturday and decided to return to the opening to meet you. I suppose, at some point we can engage in some discourse around art and art-making, that is, if time is in your favour. Your work is quite nice indeed.

    Leroy Stapleton


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