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MJ PHALEN

MJ PHALEN

My series of still life paintings is reflective of the technical concepts established by the Old Masters. Such as the emphasis on value, color, edges, and paint quality. I attempt to convey a sense of mystery and visual focus through the use of chiaroscuro, or light flow. I want the viewer to feel a sense of story telling through this visual focus. I do this by emphasizing light movement, color temperature, space, and impasto, (or textural and directional) paint application. The brushwork is evident in my paintings, and I paint from life. My technique is alla prima, or “wet into wet” paint with very little glazing. I mix my paints with the same medium as the 17th Century Dutch Masters in order to create consistency, and luminosity to my oils. I choose to paint subjects that have simple beauty yet exude inherent character. They become immensely interesting to me as they emerge through paint. I become keenly aware of, and am passionate about conveying the true beauty in these elegant forms. Figure drawing is also my passion. In the tradition of the Old Masters Drawings, I draw from life using red, white, and sometimes black conte on toned paper. Refined and controlled line work which follows the form allows the figure to emerge on paper.

Born and raised in the desert of the Southwest, one of eight children I had always longed to travel and study Art in a metropolitan setting. Obtaining my Bachelor or Fine Arts Degree from the University of San Francisco’s Academy of Art College I began a ten-year freelance Illustration career. Residing in Chicago, I was represented by agents in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, creating Illustration Paintings for book covers, posters, magazines, and advertising, with inclusion in the New York Society of Illustrators.

Then one event changed my artistic direction forever, I received a workshop scholarship to study with critically acclaimed painter David Leffel, teacher at the Arts Students League of New York. Learning to paint in the tradition of Rembrandt peaked my interest and passion in Chiaroscuro painting, where light is brilliantly illuminated against rich backgrounds and the subject matter emerges with lush painterly brushstrokes and luminous color. I knew then that I had to pursue my dream of Fine Art.

I am fortunate enough to have received several awards, and through Gallery representation my work has been purchased throughout the country. I continually study with Master Painters David Leffel and Joshua Fallik. I look forward to and am passionate about the continual evolution and exploration that Oil Painting and Figure Drawing awards me.

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