Seeing The Light

This painting was created during a time of research and discovery for me, also known as graduate school. I was introduce to techniques used by Old Masters such as Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt Van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens and contemporary artists such as Odd Nerdrum, Andrew Wyeth, Steven Assael and Susan Hauptman. In this post, I included several artworks that have inspired me and maybe they will inspire you as well.

Contemplation 30" x 40" oil on canvas

Below you can see the influence from Vermeer, a Dutch Baroque painter of domestic interiors. This artist was a master of capturing the beauty of reflected light and the textures created.

Vermeer, Woman Holding a Balance 1664

Girl With A Red Hat 1665-67

The work below is by another Baroque artist, Rembrandt Van Rijn. Here you can see the thoughtful use of light to draw attention to the emotion on the father’s face as he welcomes back his son. The following link contains more information about the Baroque art movement and typical stylistic qualities.

Return of the Prodigal Son 1655

Here is another work by Rembrandt where he used light as a compositional tool to give the painting a sense of meditative emotion.


Below is a work by Odd Nerdrum. The Forum Gallery in New York City, is exhibiting 13 of his works through May 5. For a preview of the exhibition, go to the following web site. Although I am often times confused as to what is going on in his paintings, I am so fascinated by the narrative quality of Nerdrum’s work. Drifting reminds me of a dream that I had where I was floating in open water. I have always heard that the origin of your dreams tend to stem from every day life but I’m not sure what “floating in open water” means. Any thoughts?


The work below is a self portrait of Odd Nerdrum. He has created many self portraits and often includes himself in his narratives. I think this work is interesting because it has a visceral quality in the textured surface.

Self Portrait

Here is one more by Odd Nerdrum that I think is simply beautiful. It is also going to be at the Forum Gallery through May 5. If you click on the image you can see the lovely subtle pieces of color that he places throughout his work. Especially the red-orange colors in the skin tones. The narrative quality reminds me of a J.W. Waterhouse painting.

The Egg Snatchers

The work below is by Andrew Wyeth. Look at his use of light, and the gorgeous skin tone colors included in the shadows on Siri.I had the pleasure of seeing this painting in person at the High Museum in Atlanta, GA. Wyeth would layer many dots (almost like pointillism but more blended) of color to build up the surface. Β “Siri, another Maine model, was painted both alone and with her father George Erickson through the 1970s. The portrait is done in tempera, a medium Wyeth used often. Dry pigment would be mixed with egg yolk then layered on a gessoed board.”


Here is a self portrait by artist, Susan Hauptman. She is also represented by the forum gallery. Hauptman’s self portrait usually stands as the “figure” in her works. The medium used is charcoal and pastel in a photo realistic manner. Her choice of objects to include in the composition is always intriguing, causing the viewer to admire her skill as an artist and also consider the narrative. In this particular work, the title gives us a clue. πŸ˜‰

Self Portrait as Prima Donna bitch 2000

Finally, I have included a work by Steven Assael. Check out his drawings and paintings by going to the following site. This artist uses (seemingly natural) light to draw attention the passive emotions on the faces of his subjects.


Published by Lisa Johnston Hancock

I'm a visual artist, illustrator & art educator, finding a balance between freelance work and playdates.

4 thoughts on “Seeing The Light

  1. Lovely post, Lisa. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the pictures. I love your perspective.


  2. Wow, enjoyed your post. My computer crashed. Saving proceeds from the Farmer’s market to buy a new one. You definitely inspired me to start writing as soon as I can. Marie

    1. Thanks Marie! I enjoyed your post on “Distractions.” I find myself using my garden as a distraction as well. I think that it is worth it. It is very satisfying when I complete a project and also a great workout! In my opinion, a garden is a form of artistic expression as well. Enjoy your distraction!

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