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
“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 work that were featured in “Inside Out/Outside In” below)
“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.
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.
The photorealistic art of Doug Webb was presented at RJD Gallery (Bridgehampton, NY) in the 2019 exhibition “Inside Out/Outside In.” The show was curated by Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt and Didi Menendez.
Additional Contemporary Paintings From the 2019 Show “Inside Out/Outside In”:
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