Mark Tennant is an American-born artist who is popular for his nude charcoal paintings. He has served as the director of the Graduate Fine Art Painting and Illustration at the Academy of Art University, in San Francisco, since 1998. Tennant received a Bachelor’s of Fine Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a Master of Fine Art from the New York Academy of Art, in New York City.
Tennant approaches art with a unique combination of academic rigor, harmony, intensity, and beauty. His paintings are rendered in platforms which are slightly ethereal, with limbs blending into the vast negative space surrounding each figure. This technique pushes focus to the beauty of the figure, leaving otherwise unfinished areas in the painting. Another striking feature of Tennant’s paintings is the large, bold highlights which also serve in dragging the viewers’ attention and encourage participation in the work. This way, the audience can connect the several dots of the painting and create an impression for himself.
Tennant takes his inspiration from several artists, most notably, 19th-century French artists whose work are a marriage of the modern and traditional. He holds the artists Theodule Ribot, Carolus-Duran, Hans Makart and Jean-Jacques Henner in high regard. The influences of these artists can be found heavily in Tennant’s work as although being gorgeous, and there are some dynamisms about them which aren’t just dry academy.
After over 30 years as an art instructor, Tennant presently works as a consultant, offering advice for draftsmen working to hone their craft. His guiding principles to art are hard work and a connection with the Old Masters. He advocates copying in art as he has described it as a part of art which has begun to recede. According to Tennant, the student realizing that his art is not just a copy nut a journey through the footsteps of a master does a lot to boost the confidence of the artist.
Tennant’s works have featured in several exhibitions globally, most notable of which have been in the Salon d’Automne, in Paris where it has twice been displayed. He is represented by several art agencies including Carlisle Gallery, in Auburn, Alabama; Park Gallery, in Carmel, California; Wendt Gallery, in Laguna Beach, California and Galerie DDG in Paris. Tennant in his spare time gives several lectures across the world on art, painting, and life in general. See more of his work on his official site.