The next step

I have worked from the live nude periodically since the early 1970's. This blog started August 9th, 2012 in my second year of working almost exclusively from the figure.

In the fall of 2015 I reintroduced still lifes and an occasional cityscape into my painting repertoire. Rather than abandon this figure blog or start a new one I decided to add them to the conservation.

All drawings and paintings posted on this blog were done entirely from live models or on location.

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Reckoning

On a recent afternoon in my studio I lined up several dozen of my figurative paintings done over the last thirteen years. I would rate just a handful of these oils as moderate successes. Flesh tone issues are the main culprit for this high failure rate. Viewed collectively my nudes formed a mass of orange/brown flesh. Repeated attempts at new color/value combinations always lead back to the same muddy bog. Stubbornness and a closed mind led me to this point.

I have spoken often about embracing one's failures. Doing so with individual works of art is one thing but how does one react when it requires a reckoning with thirteen years of effort?

Nude Study, oil on canvas, 9" X 11", 2013

Saturday, April 7, 2018


I remember drawing profiles of classmates in middle school. I stopped when one sitter expressed displeasure that I had included a mole on his cheek. Even then I couldn't resist drawing what I saw.

As the host of a local figure drawing group I position myself off to one side of the model stand leaving the center stage views to the other artists. My vantage point often isn't the best but frequently I am presented good profile views.

Figure Study, oil pastel on toned paper, 8 1/2" X 7", 2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A New Paradigm

The best figure sessions are collaborations between an artist and a model. In private sessions I almost always dictate broad pose concepts with the model adding their own unique twist within that framework. What happens when a model is also a figurative artist with strong personal visions?

Nude Study, oil pastel on toned paper
11" X 6 1/2", 2018

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Learning to Walk

There are probably more talented realist painters working today than at any time in history. In spite of this something fundamental is wrong with the genre. Contemporary realism, while often technically impressive, has lost touch with reality. Reliance on secondary imagery as source material is largely to blame. Another culprit is artist/teachers claiming the undeserved mantle of grand master and passing limited and even misleading lessons onto unsuspecting students.

Nude, oil pastel on toned paper, 11" X 9". 2017

For realism to gain and deserve any relevance in our modern world, artists must face the humbling challenges of real subjects in real environments. They must drop delusions of grander and learn to walk again.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


I have never quantified how frequently I need draw from the live figure to attain and then keep a sufficient level of competence. I do know that my skill level seems to rise in conjunction with the amount of effort I expend engaged with the model.

Figure Studies, oil pastel on toned paper, 8" X 12", 2018

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Working Without a Net

Early in a recent long pose figure session an artist approached the model and was given permission to take a photo of the pose. While this was happening, I was still making composition and proportion decisions. As this artist took his picture, I thought how different my state of mind would be if I had a photograph to fall back on.

All live figure sessions involve the pressure of time constraints. This urgency of the moment is an essential element in giving life to a picture. There is nothing like working without a net to stay focused on the task at hand.

Figure Study, oil pastel, 10 1/2' X 7", 2018

Thursday, February 22, 2018


I didn't know I was looking for it until it was starring me in the face - harmony. Harmony is the overarching quality that has alluded me in regards to painting the figure. More often than not with still life and cityscapes I could achieve a cohesive whole. But depicting human flesh is another story. Embracing a limited palette has given me at least a glimpse of harmony on the canvas.

Male Nude Study, oil on canvas, 12" X 8 1/2", 2018