The next step

I have worked from the live nude periodically since the early 1970's. This blog started 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.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Oil Sketch

It never occurred to me to make a distinction between an oil sketch and an oil study. There is probably no sharp line between the two. A sketch in paint would be comparable to a gesture study in drawing where marks are quick and impulsive. Turns out I have been doing sketches since I started painting the figure in oils. Some happened by accident as time ran out in a session while others were purposeful with self imposed short time limits.

Oil sketch on linen, 11" X 9", 2008

Oil sketch on canvas, 12" X 7", 2014

As with my drawings, the first minutes of even long term oil paintings start as sketches. Almost no record exists of these. Early paint strokes are quickly covered by more deliberate marks. For the image below I spent most of the session trying to find a good composition. As a result I was only able to get down some very basic brush lines before time with the models ran out. (See October 15, 2014 post)

Two figures (day one), oil on canvas, 42" X 33 1/2", 2013

I have done hundreds, maybe thousands, of pencil or ink gesture studies on paper. I've only done a few purposeful sketches in oil. I balk at the idea of dashing off a painting in less time than than it takes to prepare the surface. This is a terrible excuse for not doing more paint sketches. Practicing quick bold brush strokes for their own sake would be an excellent learning tool. I'll have to figure out a way to do more.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It's over

My art career is over. This isn't the first time I've felt this. My wife tells me I'm prone to hyperbole and have a bad habit of seeing things in absolutes. She also says that every year around this time I go into a slump. Recently some life issues have intruded and I'm having a hard time connecting with my work. At the same time I've had to set it aside a long term painting that turned problematic. It feels like an episode of the Batman TV series … Could this really be the end of Bruce Day the painter?

Reclining Nude, oil pastel on toned paper, 8 1/2" X 11 1/2", 2014

Given the lofty high I've been on lately it's not surprising I've come down. History tells me not to be too quick to count myself out. More than likely my "winter funk" has set in a little early this year. The wisest course would be to try and keep my painting and drawing skills sharp and ride this out.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Other

My history of showing in galleries and art spaces is rife with unpleasant memories. As a result I have not exhibited outside my own studio/gallery in many years. Recently, mostly out of a desire to see my work in a fresh context, I entered and had two pictures accepted in a juried figurative show. Surrounded by thirty plus pieces by other artists my entries, a painting (pictured below) and drawing, stood out as "the other", almost another species. And I doubt this difference was perceived or even comprehensible to most artists or their audience.

Seated Nude, Oil on canvas, 30" X 25", 2013

The overwhelming majority of todays visual artists have both in method and subject matter firmly embraced the digital world. Photographic images are their substance. It is present in the DNA of their art. I have long been aware of the chasm between this work and my life based pictures but the divide is much wider than I ever imagined.

I'll continue to champion the benefits of working from the real world. My harangues are usually met with blank stares. Don Quixote probably had a better chance subduing his windmills. I'll continue to work with talking, breathing individuals in actual environments. It helps keep me whole and grounded.