The next step

I have worked from the live nude periodically since the early 1970's. This blog starts 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 just add them to the conservation.

All drawings and paintings posted on this blog were done entirely from the live model.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Why Nudes?

This post has languished unfinished in my draft file for over a year. I had been unable to articulate an answer to the seemingly simple question "why nudes?" I have contemplated a wide range of possible theories but none seemed adequate. Why have artists throughout history been drawn to depicting the naked human form? Then at least a partial explanation hit me.

Reclining Nude, oil pastel on toned paper, 91/4" X 12 1/4", 2013

Writers, musicians, visual artists are all in one way or another exploring the human condition. Even when the subject matter doesn't involve people they are reflecting the world through human eyes or emotions. I can't think of a better way of presenting our unadorned humanity than through a nude.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Nostalgia Trip

I have just returned from a seven day trip to California, the place of my birth and life up to the age of 29. I ventured there seeking relief from and perhaps some answers to things that were bothering me. In a very tangible way the trip was a success. Mentally I am in a different and better place than when I left.

I was able to visit my college and art school for the first time since graduating nearly forty years ago. I stood in the classroom where I was introduced to working from the live nude. Due in large part to California's budget woes the skylit room was essentially unchanged. So in honor of that very special moment I will simply post a recent thirty minute oil pastel study.

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

Forty years is both a long time and just the blink of an eye.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pinch Hitter

Baseball spring training has begun. It offers a good metaphor for my ever evolving working method. For the bulk of my art career I have been in the regular lineup. I paint most every day on a fairly regular schedule. There is a certainty and level of comfort in this rhythm as each session builds on the last and foreshadows the next. You are never completely out of your "groove".

Nude Study, oil on canvas, 14" X 12", 2015

Age and circumstances have thrust me into a new role. My current schedule has me working from the live figure twice and sometimes just once a week. Where the figure is concerned, at least for now, I'm a pinch hitter. I can no longer use yesterdays painting session to help me quickly settle in. Just like a pinch hitter I now have only moments to size up a situation. The model gets into pose, I find a zone and start laying down paint.

Years of experience are proving to be essential in this new dynamic. It is a high risk and high reward way of working. I'm still figuring it out but there is an exhilarating rush in the process.