Photorealism with Meaningful Metaphors

Photorealism Artist > Doug Webb considers himself a “classical romantic surrealist, juxtaposing Magritte-like oversized objects and shifts of scale within scenes.” Learn more about his photorealistic art in this spotlight.

By Doug Webb

Although I work in a hyper/photorealistic style, I consider myself a classical romantic surrealist, juxtaposing Magritte-like oversized objects and shifts of scale within scenes, to create meaningful metaphors. My influences, which have shaped my work over the past several decades, are Magritte, Dali, Bosch, the Pop art movement, the Photorealist movement, and most recently, Gerome.

Creating Art in the Style of Photorealism

In regard to technique, I began in watercolor, then transitioned to acrylic. The most difficult challenge was learning to blend since acrylic dries so fast. After over 40 years of trial and error, the secret word I discovered in working with acrylics is “patience.”

And so now my chosen medium is acrylic paint on linen canvas. I isolate each transparent wash, of values from light to dark, with a gel medium glaze to create texture and depth. My ideas come to me as visions. Many times these visions come from the hypnagogic state known as the unconscious middle zone between wake and sleep.

Once I receive an image, I follow up with extensive photo research. Working with photos is a great reference tool for me but is simply a launching pad, not the destination. The strength of my work lies in the reconciliation of opposites: the humdrumness of urban living with the dream of utopia based in nature, and the exaltation of the fragile over the powerful are recurring themes in my work. With the use of composite imagery and shifts of scale between everyday scenes, situations, and common objects, I weave a tapestry blending threads of satire, irony, conflict, and hope.

By the very grace of God, painting has been not only a gift but also my full-time profession for over forty years, thus, survival as an artist is my greatest challenge and goal. My artistic goals are to keep the integrity of my work intact in the midst of novelty and passing fads, while recording my impressions of society, culture, and environment for the good of humanity.

Paintings in the Style of Photorealism

Acrylic paintings - Doug Webb - RealismToday.com
Doug Webb, “Birth of a New Frontier,” 2019, acrylic on linen, 14 x 12 in.

“Birth of a New Frontier” was inspired by an artist submission call titled “Inside Out/Outside In,” curated by DiDi Menendez, publisher of Poets & Artists magazine and Dr. Elaine Melottie Schmidt. This painting depicts the portrait of an astronaut with a fetus almost at full-term growing inside the space helmet. It’s a metaphor for a new dawn of exploration and discovery in both inner and outer levels of existence. (Editor’s Note: See additional works featured in “Inside Out/Outside In” below)

Contemporary art - Doug Webb - RealismToday.com
Doug Webb, “Midlife,” 2018, acrylic on linen, 16 x 12 in.

“Midlife” was inspired by my son’s 40th birthday. The scene is of the pipeline, on the
north shore in Oahu, HI. It depicts my son about to enter the water with his surfboard. A giant hourglass that is half full is suspended in mid-air with a giant rubber duck on the horizon, which was his favorite childhood bathtub toy. His entering mid-life is a blessing not a crisis.

Narrative art - Doug Webb - RealismToday.com
Doug Webb, Diptych: “Surrender” and “Recovery,” 2019, acrylic on linen, 20 x 16 in.

These two paintings (above) were inspired by the submission call at Zhou B Gallery, Chicago, titled “Secondary Meanings: Figurative Diptychs,” curated by Didi Menendez and Dr. Melottie Schmidt through Poets & Artists magazine. It was my first attempt at a diptych and deals with the subject of addiction and recovery. My wife, pictured in both paintings, is a psychotherapist and has helped many people overcome addiction and find sobriety. “Surrender,” with the backdrop of a graveyard, shows a woman in a surrendered posture of prayer. “Recovery” shows the same woman, who is now sober, as a light to others in crisis.

About the Artist: Born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1946, Doug Webb is an American, self-taught surrealist painter. Visit his website at www.dougwebbart.com.

View the photorealistic art of Doug Webb in person at RJD Gallery (Bridgehampton, NY) in the exhibition “Inside Out/Outside In.” The show is curated by Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt and Didi Menendez and is on view November 5 through December 5, 2019.

Additional Contemporary Paintings From “Inside Out/Outside In” at RJD Gallery:

Oil portrait painting - Kelly Birkenruth - RealismToday.com
Kelly Birkenruth, “Looking Within,” 2019, oil on canvas, 24 x 36 in.
Photorealist art - Yunior Hurtado Torres - RealismToday.com
Yunior Hurtado Torres, “Immersed in Time,” oil on canvas, 32 x 32 in.
Photorealistic art - Rachel Linnemeier - RealismToday.com
Rachel Linnemeier, “Candy Crusher,” 2019, oil and silver/gold leaf on aluminum, 16 x 16 in.
Photorealism figurative art - Daniela Werneck - RealismToday.com
Daniela Werneck, “The Swallow,” 2019, watercolor on clay panel, 16 x 20 in.
Narrative art - Daniela_Kovacic
Daniela Kovacic, “Whiling in Blue and Green,” 2019, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 in.
Figure painting - Geoffrey Laurence - RealismToday.com
Geoffrey Laurence, “The Old Man’s Shoes,” 2009, oil, 44 x 32 in.
Contemporary acrylic paintings - Grant Gilsdorf - RealismToday.com
Grant Gilsdorf, “Expel,” 2019, acrylic on linen, 18 x 24 in.
Timothy Robert Smith, “Blind Spot,” 2019, oil on wood, 24 x 24 in.
Timothy Robert Smith, “Blind Spot,” 2019, oil on wood, 24 x 24 in.
Contemporary narrative art - Scott-Hutchison
Scott Hutchison, “A Curve, a Presence, and the Space Between,” 2019, oil on aluminum, 28 x 38 in.
Contemporary artists - Sonal Ramnath
Sonal Ramnath, “Introspection,” 2019, oil on canvas, 36 x 36 in.
Contemporary artists - Alessandro Tomassetti - RealismToday.com
Alessandro Tomassetti, “A Pain That I’m Used To,” 2019, oil on canvas, 19.75 x 25.5 in.
Contemporary art - Suzy Smith - RealismToday.com
Suzy Smith, “Seven Shades of Blue,” oil, 36 x 24 in.
Victor Wang art - RealismToday.com
Victor Wang, “Wishing Wings,” oil on canvas, 50 x 62 in.