Hrehov's Art

The inspiration for John’s paintings and drawings comes from many sources – nature, poetry, toys, biblical images, and Midwest scenes. "The inspiration for the flat aspects of my paintings are based on contrast and comparison," says Hrehov. "Most of the objects I use are depicted with an emphasis on looking three dimensional. I then contrast that aspect with an environment or surrounding which is opposite or rather flat. The flat areas provide opportunities to explore using color in a more expressive and sometimes artificial manner. I'm interested in the tensions created between depicting two and three dimensions with equal importance on the same plane."

In many cases, Hrehov does a charcoal drawing before the painting. "It helps me get a sense of the shading. Then I can use color to show light and dark and to show a contrast."

He makes his initial sketch on tracing paper and then either transfers it directly onto his surface (which is usually canvas or a l/8"-thick Masonite panel) by covering the back of the drawing with graphite and retracing the lines onto the support or enlarging it on a photocopier and then transferring it in the same manner. He prepares his surface in a number of ways, including applying Winsor & Newton underpainting white over a glue size or troweling a smooth layer of acrylic gesso onto the surface with an aluminum ruler or a plastic binder from a notebook.



Next comes the paint application. His works generally consist of two layers of paint: an underpainting of a thin mixture of turpentine and pigment to block in the local color and values as well as the cast shadows, and a thicker layer composed of paint and Maroger medium. His brushstrokes are precise, and he likes to give the work a high degree of finish.
Excerpt from John Hrehov's ALLEGORICAL REALISM
© American Artist
June, 1997

  ©2004 John Hrehov
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