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​It is said that we form a first impression within 100 milliseconds of seeing a person’s face. Many variants influence how we look: our age, the time and various shades of light in the course of the day, our feelings at any given moment. As I approach subjects from the perspective of expressionist art, I like to linger on a face captured by the quick eye of a camera and draw or paint it according to how it appears through my subjective lens.

When you look at someone, what do you see? Do you see them as they really are? As you wish them to be? Maybe you notice part of yourself  reflected in them. Do you instinctively attribute faults, qualities, values to them? These are some of the questions that come up for me as I sketch, exploring my subject’s faces and body language.


Psychological expressionism emerged in the early 20th century. It is characterized by the exploration of the inner emotional states of both artist and subject. The artists of this movement work to convey intense emotions and psychological tension through the use of bold colours, distorted forms, and gestural marks.

The term “psychological expressionism” refers to the artists’ own inner emotional experiences and insights. Rather than merely depicting external reality, we draw upon our thoughts and feelings to create deeply personal artworks. In doing so, we hope to evoke emotions in the viewer and to create a connection with our audience that transcends traditional representational art.

One of the most notable features of psychological expressionism is the use of bold and vibrant colours to express a wide range of emotions, from deep sadness and despair to joy and exuberance. Another hallmark is the use of distorted forms, the exaggerated or odd proportions of subjects. Although this can result in highly stylized, almost unrecognizable or abstracted figures, it can create a powerful emotional impact.

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