The stunning portrait “The Showman” by Brent Flory, winner of the 2016 Fall Online International “Best of Show” is an arresting image. This beautifully painted portrait, with the intense blue eyes, well-balanced composition and vivid colors is not just about Brent’s ability to paint. This portrait tells a story; it lets the viewer in on the obvious possibilities, but leaves the rest of the story to the viewer. And that was the intent of the artist.
“The Showman” by Brent Flory, Oil, 12×16, Private Collection
Brent Flory was educated in Illustration at Brigham Young University, and there his most influential teacher, James C. Christensen, inspired in Flory the idea of not just painting well, but painting well and telling a story. He cites painters and illustrators of the past who inspire him as well, such as Norman Rockwell, Dean Cornwell, N.C, Wyeth, Russell, and Remington, all who were able to narrate wit, wisdom and humor through their art. It is this narrative in his artwork that sets Flory apart; for example, his fantasy work “Window of Opportunity”, where Flory says he has included “the A-Z at the top of the arch for apple to zebra and all the opportunities we are given with letters and language. Then the beautiful valley though the window for the ‘sometimes’ wonderful opportunities we have but miss because we are looking in another direction.”
“Window of Opportunity” by Brent Flory, Oil, 24×20, Private Collection
Today, Brent’s inspiration comes mostly from the history of the West. As a young boy he was exposed to books mainly dealing with the West, a subject matter that continues to inspire him. Living on a ranch in Wallsburg, Utah, and travelling in the western United States has given him access to many people and places that continue to feed his imagination. His painting, “Mahwissa’s Gift” is a portrait of an American Indian woman, who tells “an amazing story about one of the survivors of the massacre of Black Kettle’s camp on the Washita and Custer”.
“Mahwissa’s Gift, by Brent Flory, Oil, 24×12, Private Collection
“And Jill Came Tumbling After” by Brent Flory, Oil, 30×40, Private Collection
In the studio, Brent starts the day with fresh paint, and uses a palette of warm and cool red, yellow, green, blue and burnt umber. He mostly paints on Masonite, but uses canvas for larger pieces. His process consists of first getting the large areas of the painting covered, and then returning to the painting to adjust values and colors.
As for Brent’s greatest achievement, it is his next painting. His commitment and effort come from his mother’s words of wisdom, a saying above her computer: “The wishbones will never replace the backbone”.
To view more of Brent Flory’s work, visit his website at www.brentfloryfineart.com.
Brent’s work can be viewed at “Going to the Sun” gallery in Whitefish, MT and “Beartooth Gallery” in Red Lodge, MT
To view the NOAPS 2016 On Line International Exhibit, visit www.noaps.org/html/on-line_international