I mean seriously. Steven Assael renders (no pun intended) me speechless. His talent is epic. He has a passion and a work ethic unlike anything I've ever seen. He is a gentle soul and a good friend.
I studied with Steve at SVA my senior year, and continued to study with him privately during my years in New York. Steven is a student of Max Ginsburg and Harvey Dinnerstein, other painters I greatly admire.
Seeing this painting at his 1998 show at Forum Gallery changed my life. This is one of the best figure paintings I've ever seen.
Amy's favorite, "Amber Ray".
Watching Assael paint is similar to watching a professional wrestling match between a paint brush and globs of gloppy wet paint. Although in reproductions one is mostly aware of the level of realism, when viewed in person there is quite a lot of abstraction in the paint. Threads of pure and half-mixed color can be seen in the strokes. Steve loves to pile on the flake white and thickly layered wet glazes with a honey-thick medium that creates a jewel-like effect on the surface. His unorthodox technique normally involves a superloaded fan brush or round sable shifting about masses of paint the way a sculptor models form in clay.
Steven Assael is well-known for making ballpoint pen a serious drawing medium. He handles it quite like silverpoint, and often adds washed in layers of color and tone.