There is a lot of superb contemporary realism being made these days; this article by Allison Malafronte shines light on a gifted individual.
If you happen to stumble upon a young man in a Colorado forest wielding his brush with both fierceness and finesse, it may well be the painter Jared Brady (b. 1998). Out in the wilderness, he is not only able to engage in the challenging yet therapeutic act of painting, but also to document his adventures while communing with nature.
“Something about the forest has always transfixed me,” Brady explains. “The abstraction, flow, and complexity have always drawn me in. When a subject seems too difficult or out of reach, I gain so much when I push myself to take it on.”
Brady paints in the mountains and valleys near his Colorado home in every season and at every time of day. In the fall, he may arise before sunrise to hike to his favorite spot and paint studies and gather reference photos of the early-morning glow. In winter, a twilight scene after sunset with cool light and shadows dancing may catch his eye, or perhaps it’s the graceful morning light after the previous day’s snowfall, as in “Softly Falls the Light,” illustrated here.
“This is a scene from my favorite valley near my house,” Brady notes. “It had snowed the night before and the next day we had sunshine and clear blue skies. It was a perfect day to hike around with my pups to look at all the beauty. I came upon this scene and was instantly hooked. I did a small study on location and then used the study and photo references to paint this larger piece in my studio.”
When not traversing the great outdoors in search of subject matter, Brady can be found in his studio painting still lifes in a romantic realist style. Particularly evident in this genre is the influence of two of his teachers, Quang Ho and Daniel Keys; he took workshops with both while in his early 20s. Brady’s first introduction to oil painting and representational art, however, happened at 16 through the artist Kenneth Shanika, who taught him the basics of traditional technique. Brady then built upon that foundation through self-study and practice.
Regardless of the subject, Brady has trained his eye to find something paintable in every situation. “There is beauty everywhere I look,” he says. “The same visual concepts that excite me in a grand vista can also be found in a simple still life.”
This article was originally published in Fine Art Connoisseur magazine.
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