What a fantastic success!
I’ll tell you what I love the most about holding events like this Private View: the contact with the public – I am always interested to hear what people can see in my work, what they notice, because more often than not it is something I haven’t noticed. A great example from last night: with reference to the Portrait of Professor Michael Arthur, “His eyes seem to follow you around the room, wherever you stand in the room he is looking at you.” – Something I hadn’t noticed but it is actually very true – fascinating.
I would now like to touch upon a great question I was asked at the Private View: “Which masters do you have a particular reverence for?”
Old masters I am most interested in, learn from, and am inspired by are: Rembrandt, John Constable, Joseph Wright and Caravaggio.
Rembrandt, first and foremost, for his technique – the way he builds up the paint in order to capture not only the light within the painting but also the lighting within the room the picture is displayed in. He uses directional strokes and it is his techniques I try to emulate – it is difficult but I enjoy the challenge. No artist has ever managed to recreate his technique exactly but it is through copying Rembrandts work that I learnt to oil paint.
John Constable – another phenomenal artist – formally known as one of, if not the greatest English landscape painter ever. The National Portrait Gallery did an exhibition focusing on his portraits (which he painted, unless of family, purely to make money) – I found them just incredible, as good as his landscapes in my opinion. It is his use of light, the way he seems to capture it and almost keep the original light source within the painting that I just find mind blowing – it just seems to float above the surface of the picture.
With Joseph Wright and Caravaggio, it is mainly to do with their use of light (once again) and specifically their use of Chiaroscuro (a representation of a strong contrast between light and shade).
The long and short of it is, I appreciate: talent, skill, and draughtsmanship, which is why I prefer the work of old masters. These days, even if a portrait looks fantastic, it is rarely painted using the traditional painting techniques.
My journey started at the University of Leeds and so to hold my first Solo Exhibition there was just perfect. It was in my final year at the university in which I taught myself to oil paint (copying from works by those artists listed above and modern masters: Gerhard Richter and Lucian Freud) and reading the really old painting guides written by 15th to 18th century artists where they gave detailed descriptions of their: materials, methods, process, and technique. Some of the comments that stood out the most that evening (of my Private View) were the ones referring to the astonishing difference between seeing my paintings on the my website, Facebook, etc. in comparison to being able to view them in the flesh:
“They come to life.”
“It is more like you are looking through a window than looking at a painting.”
“The diamond earing looks like it is actually in her ear, the way it reflects the light…it is amazing.”
“The detail is outstanding…the way you capture depth – there is so much depth to your paintings.”
“…the paintings were even more impressive in real life than viewed online. Especially the use of light and some of the anatomical details such as the hands on the Beautiful Mind and the face on the professor.”
Thank you to everyone who made the effort to attend and to Jillian Johnson MBE (artistic director for the University of Leeds International Concert Series) and Philip Spellacy (Honorary Exhibitions Curator) for making the exhibition possible. (PORTRAITS runs until 12th December contact me or visit Concert Series for further details)
I would just like to draw your attention to one last, but significantly important, thing: my daughter, Destiny Ana Husar, exhibited her paintings for the very first time on Thursday evening (23rd October) within Hannah Ostapjuk PORTRAITS. Destiny is just 2 years (and 4 months) old, lately I have noticed a very interesting change in her painting process, she has begun to think more carefully about which brush stroke she wants where and they are precisely place in varying but specific directions. Sometimes she mixes colours sometimes she doesn’t – she chooses depending on the painting it seems. I am quite enjoying being her studio assistant. Please take the time to flick through the photos in the gallery below to view her work – her paintings were amongst the visitors’ favourites.
Photographs of Yorkshire Artist and Portrait Painter’s First Solo Exhibition: Hannah Ostapjuk PORTRAITS