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Art in Progress: Behind the Scenes with Artist Peter O’Neill

Did you ever want a behind the scenes glimpse of a professional artist’s model-sitting process? In this article, Artist Peter O’Neill welcomes us to view some of his creative moves. These moves are the initial steps of a process that ends with amazing art that you can view and purchase starting here.

Art in Progress: Behind the Scenes with Artist Peter O’Neill

[twocol_one]Though Peter O’Neill paintings are born from his thoughts and imagination, the models chosen play a large and integral part of the creative process.  The best models chosen for Peter’s work are found through day to day life experiences. Peter doesn’t necessarily look for a certain style- but for someone with emotion and life in their eyes. He looks for models that can convey emotion without speaking a word. Now, he might come to the table with certain ideas and poses in mind, but sometimes the model arrives having just had a day that would contradict Peter’s intentions for the shoot. Think of these model sessions almost as therapy sessions, where Peter is the therapist. He wants the models to feel comfortable enough with him to talk about what upset them that day, maybe. Or the exciting event that just happened in their lives. These stories play a large part in the end product of a painting, believe it or not! If they are feeling sullen, Peter pulls that emotion out of them and uses it to set the mood. Instead of shooting the coy, playful scene, he will end up shooting the thoughtful, contemplative scene.

Any artist of any medium will say that coming up with the idea, an original idea, is the hardest part. Peter will often shoot 200 photographs just to walk away with 1 or 2 possible paintings- if he is lucky. Sometimes, he will revisit a shoot years later only to find something he missed before. In this digital age, many artists have gotten away from doing live sessions with models. They are able to hold on to the photographs- their research- for years, now! Art is a process in which Peter collaborates with the subject, their mood, the light and lastly, the paint to create his masterpieces.

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