What do Charlie Chaplin, Liz Taylor, Bill Clinton, Gandhi, Chuck Close, and Yo Yo Ma have in common? They’ve all been subjects of a Walter Kresnik (b. 1957) portrait. Physical qualities and personality are effortlessly captured with very few marks. Kresnik’s instinctive sense of line has the delicate fluency of a bird constructing a nest. Branch after branch is laid down in ink; outlining, crossing, piling into solid shapes and ephemeral wisps until the essence of a figure emerges. Sometimes a spare slash of color or lone architectural element is added, but Kresnik is a master of the light touch, never accumulating more than is needed.
He tends a vase of cut flowers in the studio, an activity, like creating art, which makes him “calm and relaxed.” These feelings infuse his landscapes as well. Focused on certain locations like Ellis Island, the sacred places of the Australian outback, or the quilted farmland of south France, they are based on transparent washes of color. His assured hatching and delineation of forms add a quiet depth and sense of distance. One of Kresnik’s drawings graced the first T-shirt issued by Creativity Explored, where he has been a studio artist since 2005.