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, April 29, 2015


Many people I encounter have an "uncomfortable" reaction upon learning that I do nudes. This includes even members of the art community. In the art circles I frequent working from the nude is as natural as breathing. I do understand, however, that there are certain societal taboos to the subject and that I am not entirely immune to them. For some reason I have begun feeling a level of self-consciousness regarding my subject matter.

Standing Nude, oil pastel on toned paper,
11 3/4" X 6 1/2", 2012

Reviewing the nudes I have done over the years it is clear that I am at my best when I am the least self-conscious. When contemplating starting a drawing or painting the reaction of a potential audience has never entered into my decision. I can't let it become my concern how others might judge me or my work.

The best models I have worked with over the years all have a good sense of their bodies and few inhibitions about revealing them. There is a good lesson to be learned there.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Primary Colors

Someone asked about my color pallet and I told them that when I get into trouble I retreat to the primary colors and I am almost always in trouble. Ever since my early watercolor days a main challenge has been finding a satisfactory pallet. Which colors work in harmony and provide the widest tonal and value ranges? I have always experimented and counted 33 partially used oil tubes around the studio.

Here is a representative pallet readied for a recent figure session. It contains two different sets of primary pigments.

Two blues, two reds, two yellows and white

Nude Study, oil on canvas, 10" X 8", 2015

I know artists who routinely use over thirty colors on any given painting. The problem for me is that with so many potential combinations it is impossible to understand with any clarity how one color reacts with another. I therefore find myself trying to limit the number of variables. Red, blue and yellow is about as simple as you can get.

Given that my painting tastes and knowledge are always in flux I don't expect my pallet to ever be "settled".

Saturday, April 11, 2015


In 2011 I did an oil painting of a female nude. It was one of those paintings that progressed from start to finish with very little reworking. I thought at the time that any flaws were overshadowed by a raw power the picture possessed. But one of the hands always bothered me. At some point, without a model, I attempted a repair. Instead of making it better I made it worse. I'm embarrassed to post this but here it is.

"The Claw" (detail), 2011

Fixing this hand has been in my mental to do file for years. I am currently in the process of refining some small areas on a trompe loeil still life (see December 22, 2014 post). The skill set required for this tight work proved very helpful when having another go at the hand, this time with a model.

Repaired Hand, 2015, Perfect? No. Better? I think so.

When I was primarily doing still lifes I knew that working from the live figure benefited my overall technique. Now, having worked almost exclusively from the figure for over three years, working a still life is proving beneficial to my figurative work.