About Rich Nelson

By Sue Dolamore
rich-nelson-birch-in-sun
I am a portrait and gallery artist residing with my wife Kim and our three children in the mountains of North Carolina.
Though portraiture is a major part of my career, I also love painting landscape, still life, and figurative gallery pieces. I am endlessly fascinated by people, places, and things and consider it a privilege and a challenge to capture some aspect of their essence on canvas.

I work toward ‘painterly realism’; good drawing and composition, rendered with strong natural color, in such a way that you can still ‘sense’ or ‘feel’ the paint. The effect of this process is that the subject begins to artfully reveal itself to me and hopefully, the viewer. I do teach workshops now and then so check that out here.

We’re from Detroit, Michigan, where I earned my BFA from the College of Creative Studies in 1988. It was at CCS that I developed my love of painting, drawing, figurative art, and art history. I have been working as a portrait and gallery artist, and occasional instructor since graduating. I strive to do museum quality work that will be around long after my subjects and I have left this world.
In over 20 years as a professional artist I’ve completed over 500 portraits, sold many gallery paintings, had a number of one-person shows, and won a number of awards.

What is on your palette? A warm and cool of each primary, and a few greens and earth colors; Lead White, Lemon Yellow, Cad Yellow Light, Cad Red, Permanent Rose, Ultramarine Blue, Thalo Blue, Viridian, Sap Green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna.

What are your favorite materials to work with, including surfaces, brushes, mediums, paints, etc.?
Usually linen, stretched or on a panel, long filbert brushes (also called egberts), some mineral spirits and a bit of linseed oil for later stages, Winsor Newton or Utrecht oil paint.

Who have you admired and perhaps been influenced by through your years studying painting?
All the good painters!

What do you feel are your strengths?
Hmmm. Maybe value, drawing and color? That leaves inspiration and composition in my book.

What are you working on now in your own journey as a painter? What challenges you?
Everything!

Is there anything that you would like to share with the group that you feel strongly about? What have you learned that you think would be a benefit to most artists that paint plein air that might not be commonly discussed?

Our eyes are better than any camera.

What would you intend for the outcome of your demo? What do you hope participants take away from their time with you?
Maybe by seeing my procedure and hearing about my approach they will find something new, or helpful.

Rich regularly offers workshops which you can find out more about at his website.
richardchristiannelson.com