“I love studying the complexities of the human form, so expressive, and so beautiful. I look for aesthetic qualities depicting emotion through composition, perspective, lighting and color”
Craig R. Werkheiser is a talented painter based in Pennsylvania, in the United States. He fell in love with art at a very young age and later studied at the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design. His subject matter is nature and wildlife. On his website, you will find beautiful portraits of tigers, golden retrievers, and french bulldogs, but also stunning paintings of the human figure.
Werkheiser started using graphite pencil, then acrylic and oil painting, and currently he prefers pastels and watercolors. His style has changed over the years and his talent has been recognized in competitions and art galleries. In 2019 he was one of the winners of the 5th annual ArtPop Billboard Competition and his painting, The Snow Leopard Trio, was displayed on a billboard until January 2020.
In this Q&A, artist Craig Werkheiser shares with PoseSpace why he prefers figurative art, details about his greatest artistic success, what he recommends to artists who have an interest in pet portraits and more:
Can you tell us about your background and how you got into art?
I grew up in Allentown Pennsylvania where I took to art at an early age. When I was a kid maybe around 7 or so, my mom gave me an old drawing set and the book “Learn To Draw” by JON GNAGY. I was hooked! I needed to learn more besides watching Bob Ross on PBS so I went off to art school. I graduated from Pennsylvania College of Art and Design where I studied illustration. Currently I consider myself a pastel artist. Figurative work and animal portraits.
Which artist painter has influence you the most?
Oh gosh, there are so many! Boris Vallejo is one artist that made a huge Impression on me. Also Jason Morgan for his wild animal paintings in pastel.
Why figurative art?
To perceive someone so beautiful and be compelled to reproduce that beauty into art.
I find figurative work to be my ideal form of expression. I love studying the complexities of the human form, so expressive, and so beautiful. I look for aesthetic qualities depicting emotion through composition, perspective, lighting and color.
What do you like about posespace? Do you have a favorite model?
Posespace is such a great resource. Love being able to find reference photos with out the hassle of photographing myself or having to worry about copyright infringement. I don’t have a model that is my favorite but, I’m a fan of the hard lighting and the 360° for each pose. Ok, Becca.
How has your style changed over the years?
I have learned so much over the years and I’m still learning more each day. I feel that my style is forever in development. I started with graphite pencil like most artists, which led to acrylic and oil painting, that graduated to watercolors and pastel paintings. The past couple years I feel I have really settled in to a style I really enjoy. An experimentation of colors starting with a watercolor on board with water and salt to create interesting designs. Once that’s dry I’ll start rendering figure drawings on top in pastel or charcoal.
What’s been your greatest artistic success?
I won an art contest to have my artwork displayed on a billboard for an entire year. The contest was through ArtPop street art gallery and was from December 2019-January 2020 around Pennsylvania in the Lehigh Valley area. It was a pastel painting of three snow leopard cubs.
You also have experience painting beautiful pet portraits. What advice would you give to artists who have an interest in pet portraits?
Whenever possible have a great reference photo. Practice! Put in the hours and practice. Be willing to experiment. For most pet portraits you do want it to look like the animal that your drawing or painting, but you can always try different avenues, techniques, or mediums to get there.
Craig Werkheiser’s website: https://www.myartwerk.com
Interview by Andrea Miliani