Master portrait artist Cassidy J. Alexander creates portraits
in oil, soft pastel or charcoal.
My name is Cassidy J. Alexander and I am a master portrait artist, creating memorial portraits, horse portraits, dog & cat portraits, and more. It has been my passion since childhood, and for years I have bettered my craft through private study with master portrait artists, traveling the world, and connecting with people from all walks of life. I pride myself in continuing the strong tradition of portrait painting and bringing the subject to life on canvas, putting together a gentle rendering of their essence using oil, soft pastel, or charcoal.
Why is portrait painting still relevant? To answer that question, we need to talk about the history of the art form.
Portrait painting has been a staple of the art world since someone first put a brush in his or her hand. It goes back at least 5,000 years! Such pieces will always play a role in an artist’s development and the growth of the self. In recent years, portraiture has experienced a renaissance with many people saying that portrait painting is cool again, going against the notion that in an age of selfies, portraiture has lost some of its prominence.
Centuries ago, portraiture was a means by which to preserve someone and this was usually for the very wealthy. Such men and women wanted to be immortalized. That said, we live in an open era of portraiture, meaning that anyone can get it done. Overall, these days we are more in tune with the self than ever before, but there is something missing from the social media snooping we immerse ourselves in on a daily basis: an organic reflection founded on skill and a keen eye for detail; an almost-spiritual side of things that no smartphone camera or selfie could ever hope to capture.
I understand what it takes to grasp someone’s sense of self so that viewers will appreciate the very heart of the subject. An artist must be in control of all the elements, which includes the intelligence, humor and passion of the subject as well as their visage. All these things together dictate the mood of the piece and once I establish the mood I decide on the colors and tones that will best represent the subject. Of course, I communicate intensively with the family or business that is commissioning the portrait and blend their input with my artistic expertise to create just the right work of art for the client. To further break down the subject, I use a camera to snap photos, to capture a particular expression. I do this to freeze a moment in time from which I can meditate on the subject’s personality and essence, the thoughts that flow through the head, the emotions that swim through the heart. It is my goal to capture the best side of everyone, because all of us have a best side despite our worst intentions.
With over 30 years’ experience, no subject is outside my skillset. Over the years, I have painted commissions of Arnold Palmer, Reggie Jackson, Bette Davis, Gene Roddenberry and many others. My work is a part of private and public collections across the Unites States and in many foreign countries. From celebrated sports figures to silver screen stars, I do it all, but my big passion is doing portraits of law-enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. What started as a tribute for my late husband’s brother has blossomed into a garden of celebration and I have painted portraits of fallen officers and police dogs. I have worked with numerous police departments in California, Chicago, and more.
A memorial portrait, like any effective portrait, captures the essence of the subject and preserves it in all its grace and soul. A strong portrait will immediately convey things like facial expression, gesture, clothing, and more, but when you peel back those layers, you will be able to pick up the subject’s place in society and their hobbies. Peel back the onion a little more and the subject’s inner world will reveal itself, bringing you face to face with their personality, beliefs, and every nuance of what makes them tick. The goal of any portrait is to capture the soul of your subject, to take the small details that make all of us unique and constellate them together to provide a compelling map that guides the viewer to the heart of the matter.
I work in Chicago and the surrounding area, including Aurora, but I am willing to travel for an extra fee. I can also ship the artwork anywhere you like. If you are interested in commissioning artwork, please contact me today. I look forward to hearing from you!