Have a look at Wayne’s paintings, from “then” until “now.”
Examples of Wayne’s photos, in convenient categories
Wearables and other things, so you can own our designs!
There are additional items for sale at my society6 site!
About Figurative Artist Wayne C. Allen
I started painting back in the 1960s, but really started taking it seriously in Art Classes at good old Elmhurst College.
I suppose that my “arts education” began in College, at Elmhurst College (now University.) I’d painted a couple of things, in oil, while in High School, and they were “ok-ish,” but then… Art class.
The very first thing we were asked to do was to paint a portrait from a live model. Being me, I painted her on plexiglass, and mounted the plexiglass on a box full of twinkling lights.
The next painting was taken from a “Life” or “Look” cover (magazines, for those of you younger than me.) It was a photo of a mom, dad, and baby, cuddling. I loosened the image up a bit, but my colour palette was pretty bland.
My art Prof gave me an “A”, but then, fatefully, asked me, “Can’t you see the colours in the shadows?”
Given the amount of recreational substances he and the rest of us were taking back then, I guessed he was tripping.
Then, I began to see what he meant by that. There WERE colours in the shadows.
Realism dictates an almost exact matching of what is right there. In a figurative world, the realism remains, but is “overwritten” by the artist’s vision of how to bring out the emotions contained in the scene.
I won’t waste a lot of your time on Art Theory, but suffice it to say that I hated, absolutely hated Abstract Art. Instead, I became a figurative artist.
To quote Wikipedia: “Figurative art, sometimes written as figurativism, describes artwork (particularly paintings and sculptures) that is clearly derived from real object sources and so is, by definition, representational. The term is often in contrast to abstract art:
Since the arrival of abstract art the term figurative has been used to refer to any form of modern art that retains strong references to the real world.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figurative_art
I pretty much stopped painting from the early 70s to the mid 80s, focussing instead on photography. But then, a couple of photos tweaked my imagination, and out came the brushes.
I even went through a hyper-realism stage; a couple of my paintings from way back then have an almost photographic quality. The downside, for me, was that the images have a bit of a “flatness” to them.
This portrait has a story: a friend wanted to learn to take studio portraits. Her friend came along to pose. She liked posing so much, I photographed her 2 more times (and photographed her wedding, but that’s another story!)
This painting demonstrates pretty clearly my hyper-realism stage; several of of my paintings from ’83 through ’88 have an almost photographic quality.
I think I was initially enamoured with photo-realism because I’d spent so many years learning to take good photos.
Anyway, some years passed as I focussed on photography, opening a studio in a suburb of Chicago, and doing model photos, figure studies, and ad work.
After moving to Canada in ’75, I of course opened a studio, and kept doing photos.
I took another break, resuming painting at the turn of the century. This painting shows the beginning of my exploration of figurative art and colour in the shadows. It’s still fairly figurative, but I’ve stepped away from hyper-realism… for good.
From 2000 through 2010, I further loosened my style. Much of my work back then features a more stylistic, “blocked colour” technique. I produced several paintings that feature the play of light and shadow, with a tip of the hat to my core “figurative artist” perspective.
More about Figurative Art
This “real world, focus” fit for me. My brain just doesn’t compute abstraction. I like the “here and now” reality of figurative art (I’m a simple Zen guy, after all.)
I therefore started to “open up my colours” a bit… which was certainly step one toward becoming a figurative artist.
More time passed, and that question about figurative-style painting and colour in the shadows started nibbling on my brain.
I’ve never abandoned my love of figurative painting; each painting I create has a very real basis in reality.
I’ve always loved the human form, and that also features heavily in my figurative art. In a sense, it dovetails with my love for photography. This painting is one of several from a lazy afternoon photo shoot. It is all about colour hinting at the underlying emotion.
I think I finally settled on the perfect blend of figurative art and stylistic art around 2016. My commissioned portrait style “locked in” and seems “easy.”
The result is a body of work that revolves between three themes: nude figure studies, portraits, and “scenes from everyday life.” In each case, I follow my instinct to produce paintings that are identifiable as “mine.”
My process is to take a photo (or download an image) and to begin to edit. I have a sense of direction and because of the advent of digital photos and photo manipulation, I’m able to shift colours, backgrounds, body shapes and positions, etc. before I transfer the image to canvas.
Figurative art needs a strong basis in reality; but I don’t believe it has to be “accurate.” It’s possible for creative expression to marry itself with my artistic vision.
I (finally!) found my niche. It’s actually a bit funny. I occasionally try to shift things up, and as I paint, I correct myself, so the end product matches my vision.
Now retired (I spent 32 years as a psychotherapist) Darbella and I have spent the last decade travelling. (And then Covid-19 hit…)
Dar tends to be the “scenic” photographer, and she’s amazing at it.
I look for people and situations that interest me, and then turn the photos into paintings.
Please do look around at both my paintings and a representative sampling of my photography.
You’ll also see that I’ve added my artwork to clothing and accessories. And some of my paintings and photographs are available as limited edition prints and wall art.
My style flexes back and forth between realistic and figurative art. I’ve worked to learn to “see” the colours in the shadows… my art Prof was on to something!
And I’m proud to be a figurative artist!