For Greg Haynes, it has always come back to art. “It has been the one consistent passion in my life,” he says. “I have gotten into many things, but art was always the thing that I never stopped engaging in. From a young age, I gravitated towards pencil drawings and trying to see how accurately I could draw things. I always knew I would have art in my life in some way or another.”
Haynes admired many professional artists and began mimicking their work to challenge himself. Experimenting with different mediums at Hartford Art School, he found a love not only for drawing but also painting as well as photography, and after graduating, dove fully into professional painting.
With an eye for detail, Haynes has always had a bent towards realism. “I have to concentrate on the details. It’s how my brain works. I try to push my ability,” he says. He also enjoys the challenge of new subject matter, painting metals, glass and even candies.
Now, he is most known for his paintings of glass bottles. As a child, his mother collected antique glass bottles, and he fondly remembers them scattered about their home. “What gravitated me to the bottles was the challenge of it,” he says. “I love the fact that you can see through them, but there’s also reflections in them. If you don’t concentrate hard enough, you’ll miss something in the image. To me, it was more the challenge of it that I thought was really neat. I love the fact that people take such complicated things and paint them,” he reflects. The result becomes a painting so lifelike it resembles a photograph but yields a greater depth.
One can’t help but marvel at the precision and detail in Haynes’ art, from the light and reflections beaming through the glass, to the complexity of the glass itself, and the perfectly formed shadows. “I’m trying to pull viewers into the frame,” he says. “I’m starting a series right now where I’m interested in pushing the 3D aspects that I’ve played with. I’m using as many tricks and tools as I can to not just have it be a straight still life. I’m challenging myself to use different techniques and ideas to pull the viewer into the frame and make it as 3D as possible,” he shares.
To achieve such an impression, his process is intricate, beginning with his initial idea and finishing with that final layer of paint. In his studio, he often sets up a still life from his collection of glass bottles. He takes 100 photos, and from that collection, uses one or two as references. The painting begins with a sketch by hand in pencil that Haynes refines before he introduces paint. By the time a painting is completed, several layers of paint have been applied and perfected.
Cape Cod has been an integral part of Haynes’ career- the first gallery where he sold his work was on the Cape. “I realized that there is just something to the Cape. It’s a strong art community,” Haynes acknowledges.
Today, Haynes is represented by Quidley & Company on Nantucket, The Maybaum Gallery and the Merritt Gallery. Wherever you come across Haynes’ art, you will undoubtedly be drawn into the complexity of each piece. And now that you’ve seen images of it, you’ll know it’s a Haynes as soon as you see it.