Ron Hicks works have been
characterized as a blend of representational art and impressionism.
Some critics have compared them to paintings by Rembrandt and
Daumier. The 41-year old artist translates his own moody visions
with a muted palette and rarely uses pure color. He particularly
favors the variety he finds in gray. Gray allows me to
capture atmosphere, mood, and layers of emotion, he says.
Gray sets the tone for the rest of the painting.
Shelves in the artists
studio are lined with art books about Nicolai Fechin, James Whistler,
and William Merritt Chase. There are also volumes featuring Hicks
main muses-John Singer Sargent, Edgar Degas, and Diego Velazquez.
As an artist, his philosophy involves guiding the viewer though
a painting, much like his artistic idols, by striking a balance
between revealing too little and not enough detail. Its
a very delicate balance, Hicks says.
Its no surprise that Ron
Hicks spurns the academic approach to figure painting, which
requires exactness-too stiff and boring, he says. Its also
a method that can yield models with pained expressions. His creative
process involves explaining an idea for a pose to a model and
then waiting for her to strike a comfortable facsimile. The
best postures are the ones that just happen; then the models
stay comfortable, he says. I dont want to paint
a pose that is unnatural and has nothing to do with actual life.
If one asks Hicks about his favorite
subject matter he replies without hesitation, figures and
interiors. But he quickly qualifies figures
by saying that painting them is really about painting shapes
of color. I am a shape guy. By that I mean I see things
more in terms of shape rather than the objects or people,
he says. Everything is about shape, medium shape vs. large
shape, lighter shape vs. darker shape.