The Portraiture of David McLeod

About David Bruce McLeod

b. 1984

David Bruce McLeod is a classically-trained, 21st century artist. His portrait pedigree follows from John Singer Sargent through John Johansen and Everett Raymond Kinstler to his personal mentor Michael Shane Neal. Like these mentors, his painterly portraiture lends itself a lively feel, allowing him to portray his subjects with the greatest dignity and honesty. Thousands of brushstrokes animate the figure and enliven the features. He believes a work of art is about far more than capturing a likeness, so he pursues in earnest the nuanced depth of emotion in each subject.


Selected Press & Awards

2017 Portrait Society of America. International Portrait Competition. Exceptional Merit, Untitled Hologram of Time.
2017 WhiteHot Magazine. Donald Kuspit on Contemporary Physiognomists.
2017 American Art Collector. Human Psyche feature.
2017 Arrested Motion. Previews: Psychological Realism at Booth Gallery.
2012 Oil Painters of America, Regional Exhibition in Bennington, VT. Human, Award of Excellence.
2012 Art Renewal Center. ARC 2011/12 Salon Finalist. Refraction”.
2011 American Impressionist Society, 12th Annual Exhibition in Carmel, CA. Reticence, finalist.
2010 Portrait Society of America, Member’s Only Competition. Blair, 2nd Place.
2010 Southwest Art Magazine. 21 Under 31: Top Emerging Artists 2010 Nashville Scene. Best Visual Artist.


Curriculum Vitae

2017 Paintguide NYC. Group show. Booth Gallery, New York, NY.
2017 Psychological Realism. Group show. Booth Gallery, New York, NY.
2016 UBIQUITY. Solo show with 10 works in oil on glass. Woodlawn, Alabama.
2016 Portraits, Inc.: Portraits and Florals. An exhibition of portraits and still lifes. Birmingham, Alabama and New York, New York.
2014 The Art of the Portrait. Haynes Galleries. Thomaston, Massachusetts, and Nashville, Tennessee.
2003-2007. Vanderbilt University. Bachelors of Arts (Studio Art), Bachelors of Science (Engineering Science). Graduated with honors (magna cum laude).
2003-2007. Apprenticeship with artist Michael Shane Neal.

"All these works suggest the power of the internal over the external—of the unconscious over the conscious—but nowhere is its power more evident than in David McLeod’s Untitled Hologram of Time, 2016 and Portrait of a Spinning Man, 2015. McLeod’s portrait literally spins—it’s attached to a device that makes it spin and quiver—suggesting the power of the unconscious to make one’s head spin. In the hologram his face fragments as it moves through time, suggesting the power of the unconscious to fragment the self."

- Donald Kuspit, Whitehot Magazine, 2017

Commissioning a Portrait

First Sitting

I prefer to get to know the subject of a portrait through a series of conversations and sketches. Based on availability of time and the age of the sitter, this can vary from brief conversations on the phone to completed sketches in oil or charcoal. I am gathering information about the personality of my sitter that will be used in the completion of the final portrait. Small hand gestures, ways of sitting, mannerisms, etc—these will be important in distilling the fullness of a sitter’s likeness into a single image. If the subject is a child, I like for my clients to speak to the child’s personality from their perspective.

I will take several photographs that will be used as resource for the final portrait.