Desert Daydreams by Damian Osborne, oil on board, 77 x 96 cm, 2015-figure painting


Why I Love Figure Painting


Figure painting has always fascinated me. When I look back through my old art history books and remember which artists and paintings were my favourites as a young, budding artist, figure paintings felt especially vivacious, expressive, inspirational and powerful.

And perhaps the genre of figure painting will always captivate me. For the language of the body speaks to us in an instinctive, primal way. As humans, we divine meanings and feelings through poses, postures and expressions that spoken words can not convey. 

Perhaps it’s because we tend to imbue the human image with our own life force, just as God breathed life into the clay sculpture of Adam.



Available Figure Paintings. Click on an image to view.


Selected Past Works.


To view all figure painting archives, go to Figure Paintings.


Figure painting is gaining popularity

Figure painting seems to be making a comeback in the ‘post-contemporary’ art scene. Art dealers, curators, magazines, auction houses, galleries, art shows, social media, podcasts, blogs and other online platforms, are all featuring more and more of this rising trend in the art world.

I think that representational art in general is becoming more popular. For the past hundred years, non-objective, abstract or ‘contemporary’ art has been centre stage, and realism was out of favour. 

But regardless of the resurgence of Classical painting ateliers and Academic-style artists who’ve joined the figurative movement, I have always loved the genre — whether trendy or old-fangled.

One of the first paintings that ever truly inspired me, was while reading a book on Titian, and coming across the Venus of Urbino. Her gaze still enchants me. Her nakedness seems somehow innocent, graceful and natural. I wonder what she is thinking about, looking at her soft dark eyes.   

 For me, painting the figure is a quest for meaning that goes far beyond trying to make art which might be acceptable in the current academic circles. I don’t care much for aping the monotonous academic style — although I appreciate the focus on anatomy and good drawing — nor would I ever allow myself to be constrained by what the art establishment dictates.

I paint the figure or the nude because it fascinates me.

Celebrating the marvels of the physical body; it’s beauty, structure, strength, frailty, sensuousness, balance, proportions, rhythms, etc, are necessary because it is the vehicle which carries our human emotions, portrays our moods and inner thoughts, expresses itself in ‘body language’, and contains our soul.

Painting the human form is important because art reminds us of our humanity. 


Read more about my latest figure painting series, The Sirens.

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