Art, Decor, Kids

Behind the Art: Filbert and Bright

oil portraits of boy and baby Filbert and Bright

As I a graphic designer, it is my opinion that no design program or digital altering can quite compete with the human hand touching brush to canvas. The fine art of painting allows space for interpretation, evokes emotion, and offers a classic elegance hard to find elsewhere. 

Meg of Filbert and Bright recently did these oil portraits of the boys, and I can’t stop looking at them. To me they’re treasures. She captured that look on Luca’s face perfectly. I know that look very well, and it makes me smile — not because he looks so sweet, no. That’s his I’ll-look-adorable-before-I-do something-naughty-so-you-won’t-even-suspect-it face. And if you ask me, that is perfect for a portrait of a two year old!

Meg is the real deal. She doesn’t paint on the side or do it as a hobby. Art is a way of life for her, how she makes a living. And her work is impressive. Her studio, Filbert and Bright, is based out of Brooklyn, New York, and offers portraits of people and pets at a fair price. 

behind the art house mix blog
Photo by Maria Teicher

Let me live vicariously for a minute. What’s it like being an artist in New York? It seems quite glamorous.

It’s great to be an artist in New York because of all of the readily accessible art. Openings are nearly every night and new shows at museums are constantly up. Also, there are so many other artists to share ideas and friendships with. But with all of the other artists, we also have such competition for exposure. And, of course, the cost of living in New York is so high, which is difficult for artists, many of whom lead a kind of “feast or famine”—rarely feast, often famine—lifestyle.

I’ve yet to feel particularly glamorous as an artist. I’m usually wearing some of the rattiest, paint-splattered clothes you can imagine. The other night I was buying a bottle of wine, and the girl at the register asked if I was a painter. I was like, “Yes, wait, why?” And she said she’d asked because I had a huge streak of blue paint on my face. That’s my reality.  It can be fun to see your work on gallery walls, but that’s just a fraction of it all.

As an artist, how do you see art in everyday life?

I think I mostly see everyday things in terms of art in a technical sense. I’ll notice the way light sometimes hits someone’s face in a funny, brilliant triangle below the eye or the tint of a shadow.

How would you describe your style?

When I paint portraits I very much want to get the person’s likeness down as well as I can. I don’t, however, aim to make it look photo-real or hyper-real. If I were aiming for that, I’d be failing miserably. My style is more expressive. I’d like to capture more the feeling of the subject matter than the exact appearance.

What are your preferred subjects to paint?

I like painting people, particularly the faces. Children are always wonderful to paint because there is no sense of needing to flatter them. They’re all adorable. I like painting adults most when I know I’m free to allow the finished portrait to convey a bit of awkwardness. That’s real to me.

What are your favorite pieces you’ve done?

filbert and bright -portrait painting of boy - nicky
“Nicky”
"Blueberry"
“Blueberry”

What would you like your pieces to evoke of people?

I love it when people who know the people I’ve painted see the painting and say that I really “got” that person in some way beyond just physical appearance. Essence maybe. I don’t really think it’s me. I think that “capturing” a person in that way is some result of paint itself or the imprint of brush strokes, but it’s great to hear because I know that’s what the person who commissioned the painting was looking for.

Sometimes it’s more fun to depict people in a way that is actually the opposite of the way others normally think of them, in a kind of rare moment when a hidden side shows through. Most people don’t want that though. I aim to please!

Do you have a favorite color palette that you return to?

I tend to stick to the actual colors in the photographs my clients give me, but if it were up to me, I’d use a lot of green and red mixed with browns. The painting I did of redheaded Nicky against a green wall really pops, in part, because of the complimentary red and green.

green orange pink color palette filbert and bright

How can people reach you to have a portrait done of a child, loved one, or pet?

They can just send me an email at filbertandbright@gmail.com. We’ll discuss the photographs to work from, chose one, and decide on a size for the piece. Then, I’ll get to work.

Where else can we find you?

www.filbertandbright.com and facebook

This is not a paid editorial, although I was gifted portraits by Filbert and Bright.

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