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Jeff Lyons: Cartoonist Oil Painter and Portrait Artist

Today I’d like you to meet Jeff Lyons, cartoonist oil painter.

As promised, this week’s featured oil painter creates fine art paintings that are a little different from what I normally review on EmptyEasel. (Hover your mouse to see the title of each piece.)

Katie by Jeff Lyons

Jeff’s cartoony style actually began to develop in 1996 when his paintings took on a more abstract, pop art feel that drew from his lifelong love of cartooning.

His initial abstracts are crowded with strange half-alive objects in blocky cubist environments or surreal landscapes.

K9 by Jeff Lyons

But while exploring these fantastic cartoon creations, Jeff was struck by that timeless muse—women. And the rest is history.

Lyons soon began his “girlfriend series” which combines art deco, cubism, and pop art in female portraits.

Savannah by Jeff Lyons

I can’t put nearly enough of them here to show the evolution of his style, but over the years Lyons’ control and execution of his paintings has become increasingly perfect.

Because of the extreme simplification of his subjects’ features, Lyons must create perfect compositions that work well on their own (similar to a fully abstract painting), yet retain the humanity and personality of his model.

Elle by Jeff Lyons

Within those restrictions, there’s apparently plenty of room for Lyons to experiment with the occasional patterns, illusions of depth, color combinations, and more; although he does use some recurring elements like overlapping eyes and very stylized hair.

I think the reason why I like Lyons’ approach so much is that it combines both the fun of cartooning and fine art. There’s nothing in his work that makes it intentionally “deep” or confusing either, which makes it accessible to everyone.

Megan by Jeff Lyons

And that’s how art should be, no matter what style it is.

To see more of the “girlfriends series” and other works by Lyons, visit his website at lyonsart.com.

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

This week's featured artist is Jeff Cohen, a graphic designer turned fine art painter, who uses oil and encaustic on wood. As you can see, what makes Cohen unique is that his finished works are made up of many smaller painted squares. . . . read more

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