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Acrylic paint on 2 sheets of 24"x32" on top of 2 sheets of 36"x48" plexiglass. Date: March 2020.

Click to see hi-res image.

2022 Annual Beaux Arts Of Central Florida, Judges Comments:
Second Place: Spencer, Acrylic by Robert Shirk
Painting acrylic on acrylic layers of plexiglass is a unique approach original to this artist. The process is precise, deliberate and made with exceptional craftsmanship. This work struck me as the gesture and expression of the face was not like I had seen before. The expression is alluring, and the eyes draw in the viewer. That combined with the composition of flows of patterns like waves that interact with the scarf around the face was successful in integration of repetition of patterns that built upon each layer creating an energized environment for the face to interact. The work is seeming deceptively simple from a distance until one mores toward to gain more interest even up to the closest viewing. - Judge: Jennifer Coolidge

The Story Of This Painting.

A couple years ago I came across this photo of a friend of a friend on Facebook, Spencer Lopez. She is a professional makeup artist in Las Vegas. The image immediately captivated me. I wanted to paint it. I asked Spencer, and she said "paint me any time!!!!!"

When I showed her the finished painting she seemed to like it.

Holy F#*K
I’m gona post the hell out of that
Thank you so much that is gorgeous
So cool!!!!!
Those look like my octopus tentacles!!!!!!! I’m seriously obsessed

Working towards Pointillism.

My paintings are often called Pointillistic. But in the strictest sense they are not examples of Pointillism. Until now.

Up until now I have used dots for a different reason, and to a different effect than the Pointillist painters of the late 1800's. You can read more about that here.

The Pointillist painters were interested in using dots to visually mix colors. They used dots of different colors to simulate blended colors. For example, if dots of two colors are placed next to each other, from a distance they look like a third distinctive color. Here is a detail from Circus Sideshow (Parade de Cirque) (1889) by Pointillist painter Georges Seurat showing pointillism and color theory.

I use dots because I am creating 3 dimensional paintings with many layers of clear plexiglass. I need to be able to see through one layer to the next layer, and to the next. The dots if spaced correctly only take up maybe 40% to 60% of an images surface area at most. This lets the viewer look through each layer to see the layer below it.

This layering creates actual foregrounds and backgrounds. Truly 3D. Each layer makes up a part of the whole image. The effect creates a 3 dimensional painting that moves and changes as the viewers perspective changes.

But with this painting of "Spencer" I am starting to use the blending techniques of the Pointillist painters of the 1800's. The detail image of the 'Spencer' painting below shows two layers of dots. The top layer is monochromatic using reds. The layer just below is monochromatic using blues. And presto the eye sees purples from a distance. You can read more about this in my blog post "Are my paintings examples of Pointillism?".

Go Big Or Go Home!.

Over the last few years I have been gradually increasing the size of my paintings. From 18x24, to 24x32, and now with this painting to 36x48. In the 80's my paintings went from 36x36 all the way up to 48x96. I love painting large.

With this painting I have added crosshatching and graphic elements to compliment and contrast the thousands of dots making up the details in this painting. I plan to explore these graphic elements in the next few paintings to see where it leads me.

Exhibition History:


Here is a short 4 minute video interview I had with the Museum of Arts & Sciences in Daytona Beach FL. I comment on my painting "Spenser" that is part of the current Florida Artist Group exhibition. I talk about the neo-pointillist aspects of the painting and my selection of subjects for my contemporary portraits.


Here is a short 1 min video that shows the 3D kinetic aspects of this painting.