Tracy Frein: With a Simple Stroke, Her Strange Beauty Appeared

Friday, Jan 12 – Feb 24, 2024

325 W. Huron
Chicago, IL 60654


As a portrait artist my inspiration is drawn solely from my subjects and their hidden emotional truths. To be able to capture those emotions, I model my work in black and white colored pencil on drafting film. I have created a process where I strip away the colored pencil from the surface to expose the hidden values and retain the textured surface. Drawing by subtraction. Working with a limited pallet allows me to concentrate on the forms, values and shadows. It helps expose the dark and often destructive emotional truths. Each subject is a compelling visual portrayal of the human spirit, determination and courage. Working on drafting film helps capture these hidden emotions while creating the depth and transparency that gives the illusion of distance in the subject’s features.​

Image: Tracy Frein - "Bazaar Dreams Hold Me Close", 2023, colored pencil on Grafix drafting film, 13 x 20 in. (image) / 18 x 25 in. (frame)