Self Portrait in Quarantine
Eric Drummond, "Self Portrait in Quarantine," 12x12, 2020

Contemporary Realism Art > Eric Drummond uses thickness and thinness of paint to translate form, compression of values to express light, and the experience of interacting with his subjects in person to express moments between human beings. Here, he shares how the experience of Covid influenced his work.

A Welcome Challenge: Painting Realism in Art


This past year has been quite challenging. Covid has challenged our ideas of who we are as people and what we value most. This inherently effected the approach I have to my work. I began making a smaller self-portrait in quarantine, in a smaller more enclosed composition with an expression reflective of our times, reflecting something a bit trapped.

Moving forward I began challenging my own process, making a more collaborative and symbolic work with the model in the painting “Be.”

Oil portrait painting
Eric Drummond, “Be,” 85×105, Oil on Canvas, 2020

After I returned to an older work to finish up in “Still Born” and I was left thinking “what can I move forward with now?”

Figurative art realism painting of a woman
Eric Drummond, “Still Born,” 115 x 80, Oil on Linen, 2020

Now I’ve seemed to arrive to where I began, what inspired me when I was a child, such as larger, multifigure compositions inspired by the old masters I grew up looking at. These kinds of works were something I always marveled at, and they were introduced to me by my family; the people I hold most dear to me. So now I’ve arrived at this point of origin and heritage with my work.

Graphite figure drawing of a man
Eric Drummond, “Reclining Self Portrait study,” graphite and white chalk, 2021

I have been working on something I feel connected to through my family and these inspirations, and I’ve been really taking my time with the preparations and studies for the final work. It feels fulfilling, and a welcome challenge. I started with drapery studies and basic compositional studies. Now I’m moving into more formal composition drawings and paint sketches. The preparation and research have been so enjoyable and stimulating, what more could I ask for?

Drapery study for a painting
Eric Drummond, Drapery Study for Larger Composition, Charcoal and White chalk, 2020

It has been a combination of taking what I have learned in school, and also finding a sense of expression and sensibility that comes from the things I love most. Family, heritage, art. It’s one thing to make a work from life with someone you know, but to reach back through your memories of the ones you love most, and think about how they’ve impacted you…it breaks any sense of time because you’re still interacting with them as you also immortalize them in the work.

Figurative art realism painting of a woman
Eric Drummond, “Portrait of Irene,” 85×135, Oil on Linen, 2019

More about Eric Drummond:

Eric began drawing at a very early age. Born to parents from Madeira, Portugal and Le Marche, Italy; he was constantly inspired by Western art specifically from the Italian Renaissance. Some of the artists most influential to Eric over the years include: Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Pontormo, Cellini, Bernini, Rembrandt, Ribera, Ramon Casas, Velazquez, Carpeaux, Repin, Solomon J Solomon, John Singer Sargent, Bonnat, and Bouguereau. After studying Art History at the University of Guelph, he was accepted and enrolled at The Florence Academy of Art in 2016. There he was taught to draw and paint the figure from life and compose portraits and still lifes, using the traditional methods and practices developed by the old masters from which he was so inspired by as a child.

Eric works only from life. This allows him honest and true artistic translation. Staying true to the sight-size method developed by the Academie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France in the 1800s, he largely crafts his own materials, and hand preps his own canvases to ensure quality in each work. Working from life allows Eric total creative control and interpretation of his subjects.

This creative control, by working from life is about translation. Artists are not printers, they are not copyists. This philosophy of interpreting nature has been canon to art since before the Greeks. Each image is Eric’s view of the specificity of what he sees while balanced with his experience. People, portraits, and figures done in oils under the academic principles are his focus, using the medium of paint or charcoal as a sensory experience to be seen as well. The goal is to use methods developed by the old masters and bridge a new horizon in Canada for painting and draftsmanship.

Eric’s work has been awarded and featured by The Art Renewal Center, The MEAM Museum of Barcelona, and The Florence Academy of Art. He is an alumnus of and has worked as a principal instructor of drawing at The Florence Academy of Art, and has exhibited internationally in Italy, Spain, The United States, and Canada.

Eric Drummond at the easel, painting a realism portait
Eric Drummond at the easel

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