Matt Harvey is a contemporary British portrait painter and artist based in Devon. His portraits in oil and his portrait sculptures are celebrated for the depth of their humanity and vibrant character.
I graduated from Wimbledon School of Art in London after studying Fine Art, where I specialised in Sculpture. While originally I developed an artistic practice making abstract sculpture and painting, I continued to work on the art of portrait painting. During this time I became increasingly interested in renaissance painting techniques, and had the opportunity to study under James Scrace, a pupil of Pietro Annigone’s, and learned the techniques of the Italian masters.
I continue to use these techniques in my oil portraits, gaining commissions from a wide variety of clients. One of my favourite oil painting techniques is the ‘grisaille’ method, where I paint the portrait in a monotone or grey (grisaille in french) and then glaze over the underpainting in thin layers of oil paint. This creates a very beautiful optical effect where light passes through each glaze like through a stained glass window, giving a luminous quality to the portraits.
My portrait paintings have been the subject of films showing the process of painting these glazes on grisaille, to provide inspiration and instruction to artists learning this technique, and these can be seen on the videos page on this site and also on my YouTube channel Matt Harvey Art. This is a magical transformative technique where light shines through each glaze, giving the impression that the painting and the sitter are illuminated from within. Each person has a beautiful inner life that is evoked and recorded through this beautiful method.
As well as painting in oils I also make bronze portraits and carve portraits directly in marble. All the marble I use is sourced in the famous Carrara mountains in Italy, the same marble as used by sculptors such as Michelangelo during the renaissance.
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Link to my agents website