There is no one better able to introduce a portrait painter than the painter himself - and not with words - with a self portrait that illustrates a portrait is worth a thousand words!
Multi award winning artist Philip Johnson from Barlaston, Staffordshire, United Kingdom describes his self portrait (above) in this way:
I wanted it to be more than just a copy of my face. To this end I emphasised the focus of my large hand and tiny brush, together with my bloodshot eyes, broken fingernails. The surprising result has been to give my painting a captivating intensity.1
And I am sure we all agree: the self portrait is capitivating. The eye that carries the message from brain to hand, the fingers that hold the brush are - magical. And so are Philip's portraits which are dazzling in their intensity and touch of class.
Let's start with a little quiz and see if you can identify these Philip Johnson portraits of famous characters from UK television drama series.
I'm sure you will all know the famous sports star on the left. But can you also identify the one of the right - very famous in his time. And I might add a personal note here - I was lucky enough as a young child to see the gentleman on the right below perform his sporting craft to perfection.
The character of each person is captured so superbly - this is a master artist as his list of awards attests to including: Best Painting: Three Counties 2020 and Second place: American Art Awards 2020.
As Philip emphasis: Realism is my specialism!
Following 3 years of study at the Birmingham College of Art, I illustrated in the UK for The Open University. Some time later I set up my own business for 18 years. At the age of 40 I sold the business and studied full time for a Bachelor of Education Degree, subsequently taking up teaching for the following 22 years.
Now retired I finally have the time to return to my personal passion for drawing and painting. Especially portraits! 3
Portrait painting is a very exact art and requires very precise observational and execution skills. Philip has shared some of his practice sketches on his instagram account and for those of you who use this social media platform you can see more examples by clicking here.
Here is a practise sketch of the amazing actor and presenter Martin Clunes - a favourite actor amongst many of us. And another favourite, on the right - a pencil sketch of Welsh singer Sir Tom Jones to celebrate his 80th Birthday in 2020.
I am sure we will return to look at more works by Philip Johnson but in the meantime: The Eyes Have it!
© Thank you to Philip Johnson who kindly gave permission for the images of his work to be shared on AnArt4Life.
1. Twitter account: @pjohnsonartist
Below are the answers to the portraits. I have made the answers a bit of a challenge for you to decipher!!