(Above: "Koffi Klan" 2010)
Multiple Personalities: Fine Art Portraits
By Jean Bradley
What can be learned about someone through an image of their face?
Classically-trained in traditional portraiture, Palm Springs, Ca., fine artist, Jean Bradley, begins her work with
a base art knowledge to explore -- and through acrylic painting -- translates an emotional response to a subject
most fascinating to her: the human face.
"The first thing we see in life is a face," says Bradley with a broad smile. "What could be more
personal -- a reflection of who you are and what you feel -- than your face? A face holds the perfect blend of
a public personae facade and a mirror to an inner truth, which translates into an interesting story told in portraiture."
Bradley was born in Duluth, MN, knowing confidently at age six she was going to be an artist. Jean studied under
various teachers for a number of years, while always dedicated to her craft. One artist who was retiring from the
profession donated all of her art books to Jean, once realizing Jean had the potential for success as an artist,
more so than anyone else in their particular art association.
Bradley was asked to do portraits of four anchors on NBC television's "The Today Show": Katie Couric,
Ann Curry, Al Roker, and Matt Laurer, plus portraits of two additional hosts on another television program in which
actor George Hamilton (who represented the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Kauai Island where he discovered Jean's work)
presented the portraits to the hosts live.
Using the techniques of a wide color palette and free-form brush strokes, Jean seeks to mine the nuances of a face
-- the window to the soul. To her, the process of give-and-take, back-and-forth, giver-and-receiver interplay between
an artist and her muse is what the portraits are really about. Models can be anyone from friends, family members
or someone working behind the counter in a coffee shop such as the painting titled, "Koffi Klan".
"I start with a concept of heightening the subject's personality through the use of props and costume,"
she enlightens. "I choose the models for many reasons -- a 'vintage' look, perhaps something 'timeless' about
them. There must be a sense about them I want to know more about. Whatever that 'it factor' is, it will translate
into an intriguing painting."
Once asking someone to pose, she photographs the individual in various positions, while always conscious of the
light and shadows. Striking a strong contrast is vital to her work. After editing and cropping the photographs,
color theory is considered to enhance the overall composition or mood of the subject. Choosing the right "scale"
is important to the essence of the image.
Bradley considers the biggest accomplishment and highest honor of her long career to be when her artwork was chosen
for the cover of "International Artist Magazine", complete with a ten page article concerning her work.
"Jean has grown as an artist in both technique and in message," espouses Jean's husband, Rik Phillips,
a fine art sculptor. "There's humor. There's pathos. There's composition, contrast, texture. I'm proud of
what she has accomplished."
Most recently, Bradley has painted a series of dramatic portraits of outrageous self-proclaimed uber-artist, Brother
Andy. "What she does is landscapes," informs the larger-than-life artist, Brother Andy. "That vista
just happens to be a visage. The joy of seeing her vision of you can not be described in simple terms. It's knowing
you have been immortalized through creativity."
Jean is also currently scheduled to be published in an up-coming art book entitled "Santa Monica Art"
which is scheduled for release in the next few months. Bradley is on the Board of The Artists' Council for the
Palm Springs Art Museum.
Jean Bradley allows us to learn about ourselves and the world we live in through the creative work in which she
reveals her subjects -- and herself.
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