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 Hugh J. Masterson  (20/21st century)

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Lived/Active: Colorado / Ireland      Known for: classical realist still life painting

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Artist Statement

From Dublin Ireland, I began painting at the age of 14, experimenting with a variety of media. I quickly gravitated to oils as a preferred medium for conveying scenes with strong luminosity and chiarascuro. In addition to my still life work, I have provided portrait illustrations for a number of books and pencil drawings for Universities and various other institutions.

Presently I exhibit in Galleries in Ireland and the UK and my work is held in private collections in several  countries.  I currently reside in Colorado, where I am blessed with a keen understanding of the science of light colour and atmosphere, which together with the ability to observe is essential in the pursuit of classical realist painting.  Issues in art such as background illumination highlights , scattered and reflected light all have physical explanations, an understanding of which aids in the paintings process. I often experiment with new ways to help achieve the qualities of a good painting, in the spirit of the Masters, who in their time applied scientific principles to their art, including such devices as the camera obscura.

At the heart of good painting is the ability to make a unified statement on the canvas and convey a message with light and color. This is something that goes beyond technical understanding and must be obtained through perseverance and the study of great artists of past times.
                                             
Although a broadly consistent style characterizes my work, I approach each painting in a unique way depending on the statement I intend to convey and the manner in which I wish to paint light in each case. I paint the light on the objects not the objects themselves, since each object is visibly real only in so far as it is illuminated. The study and emphasis of light in a painting is of critical importance for conveying realism, since real objects are not colored geometrical line drawings, but consist of illuminated planes.  Pigments do not possess the intensity of emitted light found in reality, and a strong emphasis on contrast is needed to maximize the dynamic range of values in the painting and convey the illusion of luminosity.
                                                                                  
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http://hughjmasterson.com

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