I’ve been proud to exhibit my work at Richland Fine Art in Nashville for over a decade. Established in 2003, Richland showcases traditional artwork by contemporary artists. Their collection includes landscapes, urbanscapes, still lifes and figurative work. Cordial and knowledgeable, the owners frequently host open house events and exhibition receptions. Richland currently houses my two Irish landscapes, Golden Field, Ireland and Irish Homestead. They are located in a beautiful space at Grace’s Plaza in Green Hills. If you’re in the Nashville area stop by, and tell owners Clay and Anne I said hello!
Today I present the preliminary oil study I created for my Bentley University portrait of the late Norman and Lida Smith. As mentioned previously, these small-scale paintings are an important part of the portrait process. They show my client what to expect in the final portrait, and allow me to resolve the composition, value scale and palette before starting the larger canvas. The preliminary study was vital in the instance of this posthumous portrait, since the scene was realized from several reference sources. Painted in oil on linen panel and measuring 5.75 x 7.75", this study allowed the scene to come to life for the very first time.
I'm delighted to have recently painted the portrait of the late Mr. & Mrs. Norman and Lida Smith, for whom the Bentley University Smith Academic Technology Center is named. They are the parents of Robert (Bob) Smith, past Chairman of Bentley’s Board of Trustees. To create this posthumous portrait, the Smith family furnished several photographs of the couple at home so I could appreciate the span of their life together in rural Maine. From this information, my own conceptualization and by using live models as stand-ins, I created the portrait setting of Mr. & Mrs. Smith on their homestead. The image depicts their dedication to each other and their love for their land. The portrait is featured prominently in the lobby of the Smith Academic Technology Center.
I'm pleased to share that my Janet Leigh portrait for The Players Club of New York was featured in the April/May 2013 issue of International Artist Magazine. The publication's Master Showcase noted the story of the historic actors club and included the portrait alongside others from The Players' permanent collection. I am thrilled to honor this talented actress amid such prestigious company.
I am extremely honored to be the artist chosen to paint the late Hollywood actress Janet Leigh for her 2012 Hall of Fame induction at The Players Club of New York. Founded in 1888 by Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth, The Players is a private club formed as a place for actors to meet creative artists of other disciplines. The clubhouse still resides at its original home in Gramercy Park. The Players annually inducts selected members into their Hall of Fame, adding their portrait to their permanent collection as painted by an established fine artist. My Janet Leigh portrait was among those unveiled that year and now hangs prominently in The Players' historic Grill. Cordial and welcoming, The Players kindly arranged a special viewing for me last week so I could see the portrait installed in the collection.
Folks often wonder what the portrait process entails. Each stage is quite exciting and may include: 1) an initial concept meeting and site visits to determine portrait setting, pose and attire; 2) painting or drawing a preparatory head study from life; 3) creating a small, preliminary oil study that represents the final portrait composition; 4) live on-site painting sittings between the artist and sitter, and 5) subsequent work back in the studio to arrive at the finished portrait.
Today I'm sharing the preliminary oil study for my Dr. Arthur Kleinman portrait for Harvard University. This 4.5 x 6" oil on linen panel study is a mini, semi-posterized version of the final portrait. Detail is intentionally omitted in favor of simple, flat, abstracted shapes. This method emphasizes the light-effect and greater painting concept as a whole. I present these oil studies to the client to convey my vision of the final portrait, so they know what to expect in the larger canvas. Later, when working on the larger portrait in the studio, I frequently reference the oil study to check that my new color-values don't stray beyond those of the original vision.
I recently had the honor of painting the official portrait of Harvard Professor Arthur Kleinman for the University’s permanent collection. Dr. Kleinman serves as Professor of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Social Medicine and Director of Harvard’s Asia Center. A brilliant author, Dr. Kleinman’s perceptive interview style expresses his concern for humanity and substance. From our conversations and the questions he asked about the painting process, I learned as much about myself as I did about him and his life. I enjoyed our portrait sittings in his office and felt our time together always passed too quickly. First unveiled at Harvard’s Department of Global Health & Social Medicine, the portrait now hangs in Harvard’s new Tozzer Anthropology Building in Cambridge, MA.
For Dr. Kleinman's thoughts regarding our portrait experience, click here.
Welcome to the newly-redesigned website of Kim Gorrasi, Boston-based portraitist and fine artist. New work is currently on the easel and will appear here as the year evolves. Stay tuned for a peek at the Portrait Society of America's annual conference, held this Spring in Washington, D.C.. Follow Kim on Instagram (@kimgorrasistudio) for periodic studio updates.