Expressive Oil Paintings Capture Energetic Visual Experiences of People and City Life

Oil Painitngs by Jacob Dhein

Like many artists, past and present, San Francisco-based painter Jacob Dhein is inspired by the world around him. But rather than pigeonhole himself as a landscape or figurative artist, Dhein paints both. His work depicts everything, from busy cityscapes to painterly portraits, but his beautifully expressive style is consistent throughout. “Inspiration for me comes from all around,” Dhein tells My Modern Met. “It could be a person I see on public transit, my family, friends, movies, books, or a beautiful backlit city scene at sunset as I am taking a walk.”

While Dhein’s oil paintings depict real subjects and scenes, the artist pushes the boundaries of realism by adding vibrant flashes of color with expressive brushstrokes and subtle paint drips. “It is my goal to explore the beauty that lies within the division between representation and abstraction,” reveals the artist. “It will be my take on a modern impressionism using the figure and cityscape as the building blocks of this contemporary genre.”

Each painting is highly textured and full of visible energy. As a viewer, you can almost imagine watching Dhein work as he quickly layers swatches of color into the canvas. “There is a visual map in many of the works that allows the viewer to see my process,” explains Dhein. “This is especially evident in my paintings of dancers. From the initial toning of the panel to the last mark, the viewer is able to see the process upon close inspection.”

Check out some of Dhein's oil paintings below and see more from his portfolio on his website. If you're feeling especially inspired by his work, the artist hosts painting workshops in various museums and galleries. Find out more here.

San Francisco-based artist Jacob Dhein's expressive oil paintings are inspired by the world around him.

Oil Painitngs by Jacob Dhein

From busy cityscapes…

Oil Painitngs by Jacob DheinOil Painitngs by Jacob DheinOil Painitngs by Jacob Dhein

To expressive portraits…

Oil Painitngs by Jacob DheinOil Painitngs by Jacob DheinOil Painitngs by Jacob Dhein

…to vivid figurative work.

Oil Painitngs by Jacob DheinOil Painitngs by Jacob Dhein

His impresive style is a modern mix of realism and abstraction.

Oil Painitngs by Jacob DheinOil Painitngs by Jacob DheinOil Painitngs by Jacob DheinOil Painitngs by Jacob DheinOil Painitngs by Jacob Dhein

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Jacob Dhein.

Jacob Dhein: Website | Facebook | Instagram 

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.
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