Upon viewing a painting by David C. Behrens, one is immediately moved by the intense imagery and emotion found in his work. “As humans we are all moved by stories,” David says, “and my greatest hope is that my paintings achieve what a good story does, only not with words but with brushstrokes.”
As an Illustration major at East Carolina University, David made his first connection with Native Americans and their history.
“I remember going to the library to do some research on a painting and stumbling across some old photographs of Native people. The profound sense of pride mixed with sadness and longing in their faces spoke so sharply to me that I just could not put my paintbrush to canvas without painting one of these remarkable faces.”
With his bloodline being from Sicilian and German descent many wonder how he can so accurately portray a people not his own. “I believe that God has put it in my heart to paint these images and it is my prayer that He would somehow use my art to bring forth a sense of healing.”
At first glance it is difficult to distinguish the method and media that David enjoys to work in. These dream-like montages are the result of an oil glazing technique that dates back to the early Italian Renaissance period. To achieve this David builds up many different layers of translucent oil washes thus creating a very pleasing effect of images fading in and out of their surroundings. To create a sense of organic texture that has become his hallmark, David paints on a surface of gesso mixed with powdered marble.
It is accurate to say that one does not merely view one of David’s paintings but journeys into it. It is easy to lose oneself in the candid realism, the flowing movement, and the heartbeat found in each of his works. “Art is my purest form of communication and it would be dishonoring if I did not acknowledge Jesus Christ, my Creator and Savior who has blessed me with the ability to paint, for truly He is the greatest artist of all.”