Billy Secombe's Painting Demo at the Transformations Gallery March 24th

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The current exhibit, by William Seccombe, at the Old Franklin School opened in January 2013 and will remain until the end of March. A special "Open Invitation Sunday" event, which will include a portrait painting demonstration by the artist, is scheduled for Sunday, March 24th from 6-9pm. The free event will be held in the Transformations Gallery at the Old Franklin Schoolhouse.

Seccombe was born and raised in Rochester, NY, and studied illustration under the direction of Bob Dacey at Syracuse University, receiving a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in illustration in 2000. He has also studied academic approaches to painting and drawing at the Art Students League of New York and the New York Academy of Art. His work combines academic realism with a combination of patterning, textures, and a hint of playful theatrics by utilizing vibrant colors and costuming. Seccombe's work as a painter has been hung in various galleries across the United States and has been recognized with multiple awards and honors. He is a member of the renowned Portrait Society of America and the Salmagundi Club in New York City, and currently resides in Metuchen, New Jersey with his wife and young son.

Click through for his opening reception interview . . . 

Why did you choose these specific works for the Transformations Exhibit?

These paintings are a collection of recent works as well as older pieces that span approximately 4 years worth of work. I have been building a body of work to show to potential galleries with an underlying figurative theme using patterning, hats, scarves, and other props. Many of the pieces have a theatrical quality that I wanted to carry throughout

the work. The paintings show a progression of an early academic style but evolve to a looser and more impressionistic style.            But, to be honest, I have been also very much waiting for the moment to exhibit my work in Metuchen and the opportunity to exhibit as a solo artist really provided me with a chance to show the span of work in it's entirety for the first time.

For your portraits... do you paint most of the figure with a live model, or from memory?

I create my work from photos as I find that it's simply more convenient for both me and the model. It's also cost efficient as I can't afford to pay a model for the length of time needed to complete the painting. Although, this shouldn't down play painting from life. Photos flatten the background and change the color. It's really important to study from life as much as you can to understand the colors that are happening on the model. Often, there are subtle tones in the flesh that can't necessarily be seen in a picture.            I think an ideal situation is to combine both photos and working from life so you could re-evaluate your colors from the figure.

What is the most challenging part of the portrait for you to paint and why? (i.e., face, lighting, background, limbs, etc.)

The most challenging part of painting a portrait is to capture the true likeness of the sitter. People's faces have such unique characteristics and to capture those subtleties can be difficult. The other challenging part of painting a portrait is to be honest with yourself about what you are seeing and to be truthful in your approach. Your marks must be confident and honest and through this you can be successful.

Do you ever do (or would you ever consider doing) commissioned portraits?

Yes, I am absolutely open to private commissions and have done many before including both children's portraits, wedding portraits, and even pet portraits.

What's next for you?

The projects that I am looking to create going forward will continue to be looser but still with a focus on the human form. I like the idea of incorporating poems, iconography, etc. to make the experience for myself and the viewer a more interpretative and interactive experience ore as in a piece of music.

Will your work be showing anywhere else soon? When?

Yes, I have a show being hung right after this exhibit in Rochester, NY. The same group of paintings displayed here will be shown for a one night showing on Saturday April 6th.

Do you have a website or blog where people can check out your work and here about upcoming events?

Yes, I have a website and a blog. You can check out both, and . For more information, contact me at 201-450-6080

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