Thomas Reis Interview
|Illustration for Time Magazine|
|Amelie - 19"x 12" - Best of Show, ARC International Salon|
|Recent study from sketch group Reis regularly attends - 12"x 16"|
|Hannah - 16"x 12" - Oil|
What constitutes a classically trained painter? The term may have been too narrowly defined by the Modernists, who reacted against the rigorous, formal training of French Academy. The term carried pejorative implications. However, Modernism may have placed too much premium on the avant-garde and its reaction to mass-culture. It has had a hard time sustaining itself with fresh insight and its art schools ironically present a mass-marketed formalistic approach to art making. "Classically trained", in the best sense of the term, seems to connote training based upon past styles and techniques. Perhaps all artists are classically trained.
Does photography play a part in your work? My paintings often rely on photographic reference, though I prefer working from life whenever possible. Such reference affords the artist unlimited working time at the expense of the subtle values, colors, and edges found only when working from a live model. The live session imposes a time restriction, which is actually an advantage - since all but the essentials are sacrificed.
|Boat Watcher - 12"x 16" - Oil - Plein Air|
|Naples Farm - 12"x 16" - Oil|
|Grapes - 12"x 9" - Oil|
|Hanok - 26"x 38" - Oil - Step-by-step demo of this painting is featured in Feb/Mar 2012 issue of International Artist Magazine|
|The Violinist - 30"x 40" - Oil|
|Moravian Bakers - 26"x 40" - Oil|
|Peonies - 16"x 12" - Oil|
How much preliminary work do you do before tackling the final canvas? I've found through a lot of wasted effort that it's best to spend time working out the composition prior to beginning final art. I generally make a number of small sketches and color studies. Well begun is half done.
What is your major consideration when composing a painting? The basic tenets of art -color, shape, line, value, and composition - continue to present endless challenges. Beyond technique, I try hard to communicate aspects of the ephemeral nature of experience via my work - a sense of atmosphere and narrative content.
|The Reader - 30"x 34" - Oil - 'Top 20', 2012 International Portrait Competition|
|Tangerines and Chopsticks - 16"x 12" - Oil|
|Emily - 10"x 8" - Oil|
If you could spend the day with any three artists, past or present, who would they be? Today - Sargent, Alma Tadema, Wyeth.
If you were stranded on an island, which three books would you want with you? Besides "Idiot's Guide to Survival on an Island" or "How to Build a Raft" - Henri's "The Art Spirit".
When you become discouraged and feel the well is dry, so to speak, what do you do? Constant growth is essential to me as an artist, and the dry spells can be very challenging. I have always worked my way past them.
|Twilight Hour - 12"x 16" - Oil|
Thanks Tom for a much appreciated and very interesting interview. I'm confident we'll be seeing your paintings winning many more awards in the future.