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Black and White photographs followed by monochromatic painting are my favored mediums of expression. These mediums allow me to focus on form, composition and light to create and reflect my emotional response to a subject or location. For me black-and-white photographs and monochromatic paintings best reveal the subject. They best reveal the form and emotion of an object, and enable a more intimate relationship between the viewer and the image. I can successfully provide the intimacy and aesthetic possibilities to convey my responses through b&w photographs, monochromatic paintings and monoprints rather than with full color. In portraiture, my goal is to get behind an individual’s public mask to show others the real personality.

Often my photographs are the inspiration for many of my oil paintings and monoprints which tend to be monochromatic like my black-and-white photography.

My oil painting technique involves applying a single color over white gesso on linen. My final image is created by the removal paint with a variety of implements – stiff brushes, combs, rough textured paper towels, gauze, etc; whatever provides the details needed for the image. The white seen on the linen is not painted and the varied tonality in the paining comes from the absence of paint that was once there.  I need to work quickly and not allowing the paint to dry. Twenty-four to thirty-six straight hours of straight painting is a typical time frame when the oils can be still manipulated.

At sixteen, I was a professional photographer working for three major New England photography studios which enabled me to pay my college tuition for five years. During that same period I apprenticed with one of the leading portrait photographers of the time learning the fine art of portrait lighting and posing subjects.

Early in my career I had the good fortune of creating photographic, portrait character studies by spending considerable individual time with numerous performing arts luminaries including — Buster Keaton, Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronin, classical singer Corrine Curry, concert pianist Sonia Klosak, and Ted Williams (at his final-at-bat) amongst many others. Peeling back their public cover was my goal of photographing people.

Larry Blumsack

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