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, January 14, 2019


When working from the figure there are all sorts of formulas for achieving accurate proportions. Over the years I have tended to avoid them contending that a reliance on mechanics can stifle the process and lead to stiff, lifeless results.

Then, sometime in 2017, I grew frustrated with reoccurring proportion issues. To address this I began employing a simple technique of making length comparisons. Instead of constricting the drawing process, this method has proven liberating when used early and sparingly. Always, always question your assumptions.

Male nude, oil pastel, 9" X 9", 2018

Friday, January 4, 2019

Getting The Red Out

Prior to switching to a limited palette for my figurative work my biggest complaint was recurring "orange/brown" flesh tones. I mistakenly thought that a limited palette would solve this and a multitude of other issues. It didn't occur to me that red might still assert itself leading me down an all to familiar path.

                          Oil on canvas, 12" X 10"                Oil on canvas,  14" X 12"

Red is by far the strongest toning pigment in my palette. I'm afraid the reds got out of hand with the study on the left. Encountering the same model a few weeks later this last November I set out to remedy this.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Right On Cue

My wife was the first to make me aware that my dark moods were seasonal. Reviewing past posts of this blog it is clear that my artistic struggles compound in the winter months. This years dip came right on cue in the form of a sudden and deep existential crisis. Trying to paint more only made matters worse. Embracing family and friends seems to have rescued me. A sunny reading spot in the afternoons doesn't hurt either.

December Light, oil pastel, 9" X 8", 2018

Monday, December 17, 2018

R & R?

Needing a break from the pressures of working from the live figure I retreated to a back room in my studio for a little painting R & R. I was craving a stationary subject whose availability would coincide with my schedule. Popcorn kernels, an old favorite, fit the bill nicely. I have long wanted to explore their exploded forms on a different scale.

Far from being restful and relaxing, however, the early sessions turned into a wrestling match with a rough textured linen surface.

Three kernels, oil on rough linen, 10" X 12", 2018

Friday, December 7, 2018


In previous posts I have mentioned my tendency to revert to old bad habits when painting the figure. Often it is only in hindsight that problems reveal themselves. To check this inclination I installed a long shelf on a prominent wall in the studio. On it I line up paintings as they are completed. Now I can see in real time when I start to drift off course.

Figure studies, oil on canvas or linen, September - November 2018

Friday, November 30, 2018

Step Away

Where my art is concerned I have an inclination to work through rough patches. There comes a point, however, when simply working harder trying to force results becomes counterproductive. Sometimes an afternoon at the library is a better option than a session at the easel.

Portrait Study, oil pastel, 8" X 6", 2018

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Value, the light and dark kind, is central to any work of art. The basic concepts regarding value are simple but achieving a satisfactory range and balance between lights and darks can prove complex.

Reclining Nude, oil on linen, 19" X 27", 2013