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, October 10, 2018

Body Art

I have drawn and painted scores of models over the years. Early on it was rare to see tattoos. Now body art is quite common. Surface designs add a level of complexity to rendering the figure and my default habit has been to ignore them. I am just starting to key into how important these markers can be in capturing a model's true self.

Wayne, oil pastel on toned paper, 9" X 8 1/2 ", 2018

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Have At It

There is no better place than a single long pose figure session to let loose on a painting - to have at it. If things go well, great. If not, there is always the next time. A live figure environment generates palpable energy, just tap it.

Nude, oil on canvas, 12" X 14", 2018

Monday, September 24, 2018


I started using a limited palette almost a year ago. Quickly sensing the potential of the method, I dove head first into working as many private and group figure sessions as possible. My reasoning was simple, do more paintings and get better. There is no doubt that progress can only come with practice but volume doesn't necessarily lead to improved results. A number count is far less important than intent and intensity.

Seated Nude, oil on panel mounted linen
5 1/2" X 5 1/2", 2018

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Itty Bitty Trap

A local 6" X 6" exhibition venue plus numerous linen scraps around the studio enticed me to try my hand at small scale figurative work. The experience has been enjoyable, instructive and quite challenging. However, I'm starting to see a down side to going tiny. I find myself obsessing on small details of already itty bitty paintings. I don't want to linger here too long.

Nude Study, oil on panel mounted linen
3 1/2" X 5 ", 2018

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Struggle

After a frustrating session with the pose below, I debated whether to rub off the wet paint and reuse the canvas. I decided to keep the image as a learning tool. While far from successful, there is a vibrancy in the failure. The struggle shows and it matters.

Nude Study, oil on canvas 9" X 11", 2018

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Zone

I have been working in a number of different situations lately. Group and private sessions. Mornings, afternoons and evenings under natural and artificial light. There is no constant except the act of painting from the model. It is clear that the best results occur when I'm working in the "zone" (see 5/18/15 post), that place where your subconscious takes over and your brush moves with a deliberate confidence.

John, oil on canvas, 12" X 10", 2018

Getting into the zone is elusive. You can't force your way there. Sometimes you can't get there at all. The best you can do is relax and let the simple joy of putting down paint guide you in.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Sweet Reality Revisited

In an early post on this blog I talked about the benefits every day life can bestow on ones art (see 10/8/13 post). I used the term "sweet reality" to suggest that even unwelcome diversions or setbacks can prove helpful in the long run.

Seated Nude, oil pastel, 10"  X 6 1/2", 2018

Well into August I find myself heavily engrossed in the figure. Real life, however, is intruding on my artistic fervor. Faced with a busy social schedule, some persistent aches and pains and the death of a beloved family pet, my painting schedule has been disrupted. From experience I know it is better this way. Left to my own devices I tend to dive so deep that I run out of air.