Whenever I find a portrait artist whose work inspires or excites me, I add it to my "inspiration board". It's an eclectic mess of Toulouse-Lautrec, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Guan Wexing and more.
One of the artists on my board is contemporary figure and portrait painter Jeremy Lipking (if you squint, you can see his work in the lower left corner). If you don't know Jeremy's work, take a look at images and video from his latest exhibition in Santa Monica, Ca. The exhibition is called "A Day In the Country" and includes figures, landscapes and still life.
I love Jeremy's work, not only because his paintings are luscious and beautiful, but because they also evoke strong emotions. They are all about mood and intensity.
It's exciting to see artists like Jeremy being recognized nationally. For so long, the contemporary art world has disregarded representational and traditional painting, instead celebrating mostly abstract and conceptual works. I'm happy to see that trend turning favorably for portrait and figure artists.