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.

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 spend 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. In order to stay focused on the task at hand there is nothing like working without a net.

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

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Bliss of Ignorance

When I started concentrating on the figure fourteen years ago I would leap head first into ambitious projects that were well beyond my level of competence. I didn't know what I didn't know. This blissful state of ignorance led to some moderate successes but also to stacks of failed paintings.

Over the years I have accumulated some knowledge in regards to painting the human figure. But along with lessons learned comes an awareness of the difficulties and potential pitfalls. This awareness has left me hesitant to try anything more complex than short term studies. Is it possible to overcome this timidity and regain some of that early fearlessness?

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

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Touch of Fever

I talked about reworking older paintings in a previous post (see 8/27/16). I seem to have the "fixes fever" again. While photographing some older works for a website update, I was confronted multiple times with defects so obvious and correctable that I couldn't ignore them. So now a half dozen more pictures have endured makeovers. I sincerely don't want to spend my time rescuing old paintings. Let's hope this fever has broken.

Seated Nude, oil on canvas, 14" X 12", 2013-2017

Much of my work is no longer in my possession. More than once I have visited someones home and spotted a painting of mine that I haven't seen in years. Viewed with fresh more educated eyes I would like nothing more than to spirit it away for a little touch up. In the long run it is a good thing that I no longer own these pictures. Mercifully, they can remain in their original imperfect state.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Leaking Roofs

Every time I gain some new understanding regarding painting or drawing things seem to get more complicated. One would think the opposite would occur. Solving an issue should reduce the number of unknowns. A ceiling leak in a back room of my studio may have offered some clarification (see 1/24/16 post).

Multiple attempts were made to stem the water from the outside with no success. Finally, in desperation, I devised a system to catch the water inside and funnel it outside. While not fixing the leak I could at least put away the buckets. Immediately upon accomplishing this I noticed a drip emanating from an adjacent window. This drip had been there for some time but my attention had been focused on the larger more urgent flow.

Profile, oil pastel on toned paper, 5" X 4 1/2", 2017

Conclusion: Solving one problem simply frees ones attention to contemplate the surrounding territory. This survey inevitably leads to more discoveries and questions.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Faint Glow

Sometimes, when I find myself in times of trouble, just a simple sketch can prove reassuring.

Warmup drawing, oil pastel, 5" X 6", 2017