Realist painter Curtis Stewart Jaunsen was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was awarded both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Architecture. For many years, Curtis worked as both an architect and an artist, moving from abstract expressionist paintings in the early 1990s to realist paintings inspired by artist such as Rembrandt, John Singer Sargent and Emil Carlsen.
In 2002, Curtis moved with his wife and two young children from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, home for four years, to Florence, Italy. For the next two years, he was enrolled at the academic atelier-styled Florence Academy of Art where he studied drawing and oil painting in the classical realist style under Daniel Graves. Subjects that he studied ranged from anatomy to paint grinding. In Italy, Curtis not only learned how to create classical art, but he also learned about many of the great artists and architects of the Renaissance and after. Inspired by the beauty found in nature, Curtis now works on still lifes, portraits, and landscapes at his home and studio in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
“I received my primary art training at the Florence Academy of Art, in Florence Italy. The academy’s teaching methods were modeled after those of the French Academy of the 19th century to revive lost classical painting methods and craft, the foundation of which is ability to see and render nature accurately. At the Florence Academy of Art, I learned visualization methods used by pre-modern artists such as John Singer Sargent. One of those methods is called sight-size, where the painted or drawn image is rendered at the exact size as the image being rendered is seen. Using this method, when painting still life or landscapes I almost always work from life. In nature there is infinite variety and beauty, so while I do not attempt to copy everything that is in front of me, I also do not want to ever arbitrarily impose my own will upon the canvas. I try to paint nature as I see it, an always difficult and inspiring task.
When I paint I concentrate on the pure visual impression of the thing in front of me. I try to find the beauty of light and atmosphere. I want my paintings to be truthful renderings of nature but also to resonate with feeling. My paintings involve hours of careful, intense observation. That is the chief joy of this kind of painting, that I can put aside the many distractions of a normal day and focus all of my attention on what I find beautiful.”