I think painting a woman might be the best way to truly understand her. Spending hours studying every surface, every shade, the way her mouth curves just so or the slight expansion of her retina as her eyes adjust to the flash – she reveals herself. She may not intend to, but she always does.
Ginger Del Rey is one of those artists who can capture the pain, frustration, courage, triumph, perception and passion of female experience while simultaneously proving that she knows a thing or two about technique.
We chatted with her about her work, inspiration, and upcoming shows. Get inside her world:
Favorite Artist of All Time?
Easy- Edward Hopper It’s funny because his style is completely different from my own, but I could stare at his paintings all day long. There’s so much depth and contemplation in his work … and the mystery of other people’s lives. But my all-time favorite painting? Flaming June by Frederic Lord Leighton. Gorgeous.
When did you first start painting? and how did you cultivate your craft?
I painted my first painting in middle school – it was a large black/white portrait in high contrast and it was about 5 ft x 5ft. The school chose to hang it in the library and I was so proud! I learned a lot about painting from my cousin Terry. She was a great artist, a great portrait artist in particular. She taught me about color theory and composition, about finding the light in your subject, about whimsy. But my true education came from studying pictures and teaching myself how to paint what I see, not what I think I see. That’s how I accomplish that ‘like a photo’ look. Well, that and good blending 🙂
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?
I was a performer (singing and dancing) for a long time so I would probably be doing that, although painting brings me more joy.
If you could show anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would love to show in Paris, at the Musee d’Orsay! why not think big 🙂
Things // words that keep you inspired?
I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream – Vincent Van Gogh
I paint photo-realistic nudes of my friends, lovers and women I admire. My process usually begins with a photoshoot filled with fun, costumes and a little wine! I pick my favorite shots – I layer them with texture, color, light and filters on Photoshop so I will have a solid plan for what I will paint. The painting process usually takes from a few weeks to a few months as I strive to capture the essence of my model and discover her secrets. I use oils on canvas, sometimes mixing in gold leaf, sometimes following my original plan exactly, sometimes lovingly deviating from the path and letting loose with color, drips and washes of light.
I’m on a mission to show the world the immense beauty of the women in my life, to honor them and capture their vitality and light. My style is evolving – I originally painted in a neo pin-up style with Vargas, Gil Elvgren and O’Keeffe as my influences. I enjoyed it but found it too narrow a focus – now I mix my love of saturated color with a retro dreamy, sunny, sexy 70’s light that really highlights a woman’s beauty.