This is a series of paintings I worked on from 2016-2018 in which I experimented with different amounts of detail and realism in black and white portraits. These were some of my first paintings. I set out with the goal to paint a face and initially limited myself to black and white as to keep cost down. Quickly, though, I fell in love with the feel of this style.
As you can see, I really experimented with varying degrees of realism for a style that on the whole ends up feeling very surreal. Even the most photorealistic of the portraits have this surreal feeling due to the accented highlights and the lack of color.
Sleeping Beauty (seen below) is the biggest piece I've worked on yet. It is 47 inches wide and 36 inches tall. It was much more difficult to find a balance between realism and abstract in this one, but what I ended up with I think lands on the mark. It has a landscape air to it as if the viewer were a tiny person looking on these beautiful mountains.
The piece to the bottom right was the very first portrait I painted. The one on the left was a few deep. The center one was one of the last portraits I've painted in this series. What is unique about the center one is that it is tiny, at only 4" wide by 6" tall. There is a mirror behind the grey of his eye where I cut away the canvas and clued a shard of mirror behind.
I really enjoyed making these and maybe will make more in the future. It's the only thing I've painting that I keep coming back to. I just can't stop!