By Hailey Wood, Staff Writer
Artist Sydney Stultz is a junior at USM majoring in studio art with a concentration in painting and drawing. This spring semester she is focusing on painting portraits.
Stultz finds that she gravitates towards painting those closest to her. “I will sometimes sketch out an idea before painting if I have a specific vision,” said Stultz.“Sometimes I dive right in and start on the canvas.”
Her current project is a portrait of her brother. “With this portrait of my brother, I had a very specific pose and the expression that I knew I wanted to turn into a painting,” said Stultz. “I will almost always take a reference photo and work from that as a starting point. Then, the painting evolves from that image and I alter it as I go.”
Stultz said that her artistic expression has always been rooted in portraits as well as landscape. Her goal this semester is to blend the two together.
Another one of her goals is to capture the emotion of the subject she is painting. She wants not only to portray an individual in accurate detail and features, but also their spirit and personality.
“This can come in the form of texture, color and context of the background. I am not trying to regurgitate a photograph through the paint, but create a stronger narrative,” Stultz said.
“As an artist I am trying to engage the audience,” she said. “My purpose is to allow the viewers to feel and to relate to the subject.”
One of the reasons she enjoys painting people so much is because she can get to know someone in a more untraditional way.
“I feel like it’s a personal experience for me as the artist as I get to know people and step inside their world for a brief moment,” Stultz said.
Stultz explained that finishing a project depends on a few factors, one being the size of the piece and another being how satisfied she is with the overall composition.
“In my eyes, art always has room for improvement, so it is often difficult to gage when a piece is done,” Stultz said.
She doesn’t always work consistently on one project. “I will work on projects for a bit, then leave them for months and pick it up again when I have fresh eyes and a clearer vision of where I want to take the piece. Some works are quick and only take a few weeks, some will last for months,” she said.
Stultz also said that not many people realize how menial tasks like painting or drawing can be, “it is so much more than simply using your hands to make marks.”
A lot of thought is put into it and since art is pure decision making, according to Stultz, every decision is critical to the outcome of the piece.
“How you interpret shadows and highlights, knowing where to place them so they make sense, color theory and proportions are all skills you must develop to enhance your art,” said Stultz. “It sounds cliche, but the journey is superior to the destination.”