Realism Today Ambassadors
All artwork by Larry Neal

Meet this week’s top Realism Today Ambassador, Larry Neal.

From the hand-carving of my canvases to the replication of my subject, my goal is to convey a sense of realism in my artwork. I find this especially vital when depicting the human face; with various muscles, tissues, and tones in the skin, the vibrancy of my colors is of utmost importance. My fascination with the human form and the various concepts that are involved with its illustration are the core themes of my work. I am inspired by the compositions of the Renaissance era. Contemplating such pieces motivates me to apply different techniques to achieve my desired look.

My process begins with sketching out different ideas in my sketchbook. Once the dimensions are decided, I sand down and prepare the plywood board — usually on a scale of 4 feet or larger. With the goal of a realistic portrayal of my subject throughout the development of my painting, I use synthetic brushes and oil paint to switch between brush-stroke and blending techniques.

Currently I am working on two realist pieces that depict human forms and figures.

The intention of the painting above, which features my son, was to create an image that showed the connection between a child and their parent. Whether a child encounters difficulties in life or achieves success, they will still have support and love from their parents. They stand in front of each other to symbolize a close connection without separation.

The image is painted over the quote “A man stands now where my baby used to be.” The painting is on a 48 x 48 inch primed and sanded board and done in oils along with mixed media.

“Mask Off” by Larry Neal
“Mask Off” by Larry Neal

The purpose of “Mask Off” was to paint a powerful image that draws the viewer’s attention to the color and structure of the painting. I painted a variety of tones and hues to create the present image and applied a series of washes and transparent oil paints to create fine detail and colors. “Mask Off” was created on a board measuring 48 x 48 inches and painted with oil paint and mixed media. In the background is a series of arrows that take the viewer’s eyes from one direction to the other, all leading back to the powerful face.

Paintings by Larry Neal

Our journey was created to give the viewer a sense of time travel; if you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be? The young girl in the painting above stands patiently waiting, looking back to hear advice. I created this painting as a way to reflect on the past and to look toward the future.

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Related > Browse portrait and figure workshops in the style of contemporary realism here.