Robert K. Semans
Paintings & other works
I was fortunate to have two great teachers in my life. The first was Maynard Dixon Stewart who taught and mentored me in my early formation and even in later years.
The second was Nera Simi, an Italian artist, whose atelier in Florence produced some of the most accomplished painters in England, Australia, and the United States. In her studio I was exposed to masterful paintings by herself and her father Filadelfo, a student of the great French painter Jean-Léon Gérôme ( 1824 – 1904). Interestingly Stewart's artistic lineage also traces back to a great French artist Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836–1911), a contemporary of Jerome. Thus my roots in the classical tradition.
As an artist I have drawn inspiration over the years from several painters including the old masters Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Velasquez and more recent master such as Sargent, George Innes, Mancini, Aaron Shikler, Walter Vaes and others.
Each has enriched my understanding of one or another facet of painting. From Vermeer I developed an appreciation of composition and color harmony; from Velasquez I learned the importance of subduing excessive detail in favor of the general effect; from Sargent an appreciation of bold brushwork and reducing forms to their essential elements; from Mancini, Vaes, and Shikler the beauty of impasto, lively color, expressive brushwork and those elements we usually identify as "painterly."
Today I strive to express those values in my work while remaining open to contemporary ideas and trends.
To keep somewhat connected to the human race I teach a drawing and painting class at University Art here in San Jose , where I live with my wife Susan and a needy feline named Reese.