Rarely does an artist emerge with the balance of strengths and emotional intensity of Nathan Greene. His large, luminous paintings of Christ in contemporary settings combine his unique style with the painting traditions of the old masters to deliver powerful images that go straight for the heart. Masterful portraiture of human and animal subjects, meticulous attention to detail, and landscapes that seem to vibrate with life are all features of his work. Composition, color and light are given equal consideration in building the inspirational impact he achieves.
Born in Michigan in 1961, Nathan's interest and talent in art were apparent at an early age. By the time he could hold a pencil, he began drawing and by first grade was taking art instruction. His early years were characterized by a constant striving to improve his observational and artistic skills, earning numerous awards and recognition. During high school, he traveled to the East Coast to seek advice from leading illustrators. By his senior year in high school, he already had a gallery selling his artwork. He chose Chicago's American Academy of Art to further his study for its emphasis on excellence in traditional painting and drawing skills.
In 1983 he entered the highly competitive market of freelance illustration, and by the end of that decade had established himself by working for clients such as the National Wildlife Federation, NASA, Focus on the Family, Christianity Today as well as other large corporations, agencies and private collections. His ability to convey intangible aspects of drama and spirituality in his subjects attracted clients who commissioned works for inspirational book covers, magazines, and television shows. A series of paintings he completed for NASA, depicting various scenes of the space program, is a remarkable example of his ability to express the emotional elements of a moment. The paintings not only describe the scenes in all their detail, but also communicate the scale, intensity and wonder of man's heroic attempts to probe the heavens.
Nathan is very much a contemporary painter with a strong foundation in classical art. His paintings include oil on canvas and also a multimedia approach, incorporating other drawing and painting methods and materials in the same piece. The figures are painted using live models, carefully chosen, then photographed under Nathan's direction. He starts each project by producing a detailed pencil drawing, the result of any number of exploratory sketches to determine composition and light and dark values. The drawing is then transferred to the painting surface, and he begins with an underpainting. Working on the floor, he covers the canvas with a thin oil wash of colors designed to set up a warm and cool interplay which subtly shines through the layers of paint to produce a glowing depth and richness. Next, moving to the easel, he begins painting the actual image, first pulling out the light areas, then applying the paint to describe form, color and detail.
His choice to focus on inspirational Christian images seems a most natural one. A spiritual dimension has always been present in his work, conveying a sense of reverence and wonder for life in all its forms. He hopes his art gives people an impression of a kind, loving and compassionate God, present through life's daily struggles and joys. There is no doubt that, as Nathan Greene evolves as an individual and an artist, his body of work will be significant and his future bright. Nathan Greene works at home in his studio in rural Michigan with his wife and three children. He relaxes by running four to six miles a day and enjoying his family.