California-born artist Loran Speck draws the inspiration for his still life paintings from the realist artists of the Renaissance, such as Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Rubens. Indeed, many say his artistic talents surpass the great Dutch Masters with his brilliant use of light and color. With incredible detail, Speck creates images that look as if you could reach into the painting and take out the objects. Glistening water drops appear to actually be there - causing some to want to wipe the water away.
Speck’s artistic flair extends far beyond the painting itself, to the museum quality frames that encase his art as well. Gilded in 22 karat gold leaf or metal leaf, and hand carved in his own framing and gilding studio, each frame is in itself a work of art.
He is dedicated to the principles of classical still life, setting up his arrangements in a shallow space, thereby challenging his own skills to convey the three-dimensionality of fruit and vegetables, urns, bottles and pots. Just as important is Speck’s use of light. Dramatic, often theatrical, lighting helps convey form, as in the highlights bouncing off an onionskin contrasted against the darkened chiaroscuro shadows behind it.
Speck’s attention to the relationship and variety of shapes and textures, truly the essence of still-life painting, delights viewers with the subtle differences in a grouping of plums and peaches, as well as the illusion of polished clay, reflective glass and dimpled lemon rinds. The seeming reality of such objects, especially when depicted at life size, is what is known as trompe l’oeil (or “fool the eye”) realism, a technique of which Speck is an undisputed master. However, Speck’s work is not all perfection. Indeed, he often suggests the concept of mortality through imperfection. For Speck, the cycle of life to death is conveyed in an overripe tomato, still bearing its dried stem, yet marked by spots of decay.
Speck has been honored with feature articles and covers in many of today’s major art magazines, including Most notable are USArt, American Artist, Art of the West and Southwest Art.
Speck lives and works in Carmel-by-the-sea, on the coast of California. There he creates the paintings that demonstrate the dignity and classical elegance for which he has become so well known.
Reference: http://www.loranspeck.com, gallery publication with an essay by Susan Hallsten McGarry