Other men said they have seen angels,
But I have seen thee
And thou art enough.
~ by G. Moore ~
There are many great artists whose main inspiration derives from love and romance. They use beauty found in their muses to dictate the feeling of passion found on the canvas.
Gary Benfield’s work is romantic art at is finest. His work is a rhythmic of the imagination, uniting precision and artistic skill to depict his ‘lifelike fairy-tales’. He creates a unique juxtaposition of chaos and classical proportions, collision of color and line, realism and fantasy.
In Benfield’s work the viewer can grasp the intention behind the thorough, yet intimate brushstrokes. His rendition of movement has a balance of spontaneity and conscientiousness. His paintings represent a discrete world of objects which combine figures, mythology, nature and still life.
Despite the casual appearance of his compositions, all imagery is highly organized, and after long observations one finds the hidden symmetry and beauty beneath the layers of finery. The background of his paintings is soft and his palette is constructed on sepia tones, most of it defined only with pencil and a slight highlight of color.
Gary Benfield’s treatment of softer colors is similar to that of Da Vinci who was one of the first Florentines to adopt oil paint and observed that the “true” color of a non-shiny surface (such as a face, hands or clothing) is to be found in highlighting movements and areas of the body. He used the term “sfumato” to describe the way in which he delicately blended highlights into shadows to “soften” edges between colors without the brushstrokes showing, without lines or borders, in the manner of smoke.
Though Gary was born in Birmingham, the most populous British metropolitan city outside London, today he paints in his Irish Countryside studio where he is inspired by the stunning nature of landscapes and animals that surrounds him. His works with animal subjects show his inclination to use nature as a framework to express himself – a trait that was markedly associated with Romanticism.
Gary’s work is reminiscent of those classical works by Francisco Goya who was believed to be the most prominent Romantic artist. In Goya’s “The Milkmaid of Bordeaux” as with Benfield’s work depicting his muses in motion, the bodies of the female subject are painted in darker tones and they gradually fade into the background. His technique is of this caliber and collecting his work would entail a taste for Classical excellence.
“I love the beauty of the line and I use these skills to create and transform inert materials into images of beauty and romance,” – Gary Benfield