Portraits to be offered on the spot
Adrenaline surges through Paul Davis’ veins when he puts his brush into oil and recreates the face in front of him on canvas.
"I enjoy the physical performance pressure of it," Davis said. "It’s like baseball, you got to be accurate and do the right thing. It’s just a little bit more of a performance."
Davis will be at the Coda Gallery Aug. 25 during the Park City Gallery Stroll. His work will be on display and he will be available to do one-hour, 12-inch portraits for $300.
"They’re not caricatures," Davis said. "They’re basically oil paintings done in realistic style. They’re sketches but more complete and done in an hour."
Davis strives for accuracy and wants to give his fans something they can have for under $500.
"They’re meant to be affordable and quick," he said. "A likeness is important, it’s as close to the real deal as I can make it."
Davis who turns 60 in December, has been painting and teaching for 25 years, he is well respected among artists.
"Paul is a remarkably original painter," said Andrew Forge, professor of art at Yale University in press release. "He is a most serious and dedicated artist with an acute eye and a highly developed critical sense. His work is sophisticated, knowledgeable and completely independent."
The figure, Davis says, is the most demanding undertaking for an artist.
"I was interested in what’s difficult, in a technical sense a lot of people find the figure to be the most difficult and I like the challenge of that," Davis said. If you draw a figure, it matters if you get things right," Davis said. "It’s about getting the ball over the plate."
It’s not like drawing a tree, he said. An artist doesn’t have to draw a limb or a blade of grass accurately but with someone’s face, everything has to be in place. Davis’ work, being done in an hour, adds to the load. It’s a challenge he welcomes.
"The pressure of having to perform is good to me because I have to think fast, I just have to do the job and I’ve found that that’s good for painting," Davis said.
Instincts are what Davis claims makes an artist great and doing artwork quickly heightens instinct.
"With this, you have to make bold decisions, you’re more committed, and generally your first instincts are better." Davis said.
Coda Gallery owner Jen Schumacher says people will benefit mostly from the experience of watching Davis.
"Meeting the artist for any piece of art makes it twice as special," Schumacher said. "Meeting him and watching him paint the portrait of you is going to be special. It’s going to be really fun."
Davis started this last March as an experiment during an arts festival. It caught on quickly and is starting to gain a following.
"We did some quick portraits and it turned out to be very successful, so we decided to do more of it," he said.
The demand for the portraits astonished Davis but he’s seen similar reactions in different parts of the state.
"I was surprised at how many people came out of the woodwork after they saw the first few portraits," he said. "Once they saw that is was something that they would like, people just came out and wanted to do their wife and family."
Those that attend the gallery stroll are welcome to watch Davis paint without purchasing a portrait.
"People are curious about this kind of thing can watch all night if they want to," Davis said. "People were pretty interested before, it’s been the same reaction wherever I’ve done it."
Davis will stay the following day if people want to schedule portraits.
"Most people are curious to see what they look like through painters’ eyes," Davis said. "But they’re also interested in having their children done. Once somebody has themselves done, then they come back and say let’s do the whole crew. It’s been fun."
Paul Davis will be at the Coda Gallery during the Park City Gallery Stroll on Aug. 25 from approximately 6 to 9 p.m. He will do one-hour portraits of individuals for $300. He may stay for the next day if people want to schedule portraits. For more information, call 655-380.
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The Park City Ice Arena is expected to temporarily close later in 2021 to allow crews to replace the ice surface and perform other maintenance work, one of a series of projects City Hall plans to outline at an upcoming open house. It will be an in-person event.