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.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Small Minds

Private sessions with a model are by necessity intimate occasions. They require a high degree of trust from both the model and the artist. Only the participants know the true nature of these encounters. Small minded outsiders often make uninformed critical judgments regarding these relationships. By doing so they only diminish themselves.

Back Pose, oil pastel on toned paper
8" X 6 1/2", 2018

Friday, May 11, 2018


In a recent post I said that todays figurative artists need to learn to walk again. By this I mean they must discard the crutch of secondary sources and work unaided from the live nude. This call to humility may have actually not gone far enough. Sometimes, when confronted with the subtleties of the human form, it might actually be necessary to crawl for awhile.

Nude Study, oil on panel mounted linen,
6 1/2" X 6 1/2", 2018

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Old Habits

I had some orthodontics done a couple of years ago to correct a long standing problem with my bite. I now wear a retainer at night. Without it my teeth would return to their natural positions.

We all have certain inborn tendencies. When painting my natural tendency is to work slowly and deliberately. This method can be effective with certain subjects but, where the figure is concerned, prosaic results are a more likely outcome. Live figurative work acts as a retainer keeping old habits at bay.

Figure Sketch,  oil on linen, 8" X 13", 2015 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Healthy Sense of Urgency

I listened to an NPR program recently about a young woman who was taking over her family's bakery business. Her mother advised that given the time pressures and number of variables in a busy bakery one must work with a healthy sense of urgency.

A healthy sense of urgency. I can't come up with a better way to approach a live figure session. Who would have thought that baking bread and pastries would share something so fundamental with live figurative work?

Nude Study, oil pastel on toned paper
12" X 7 3/4", 2018

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 dull 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