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.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

A High Bar

I recently read a sports column about a basketball teams season ending loss. They were a team that by all accounts shouldn't have gotten as far as they did into the playoff rounds. But they set their sights high and nearly succeeded. Ultimately they lost and the disappointment was profound. So profound that the columnist and others were questioning whether the elation associated with the attempt was worth the inevitable pain of coming up short.

Model in Mirror, oil on linen, 22" X 19", 2005

In sports or art the realization of ones goals hopefully results in feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction. But those moments are ephemeral. Each time I have reached a new level with my art I am driven to raise the bar. A new standard takes hold and what was good enough yesterday no longer makes the cut.

Working to clear a high bar is a good thing. But it is important to realize that 99.9% percent of the joy and fulfillment derived from any endeavor stems from the pursuit of that endeavor. And the only thing more painful than not reaching a goal is not trying.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Distractions

Doing ones best work requires finding your "zone". That place where all outside distractions fade and you are 100% focused. Getting there can be tricky. Many artists I know including myself have heightened sensibilities. This may be a positive trait for creating art but in the real world it can be problematic. My new working space faces a busy downtown street. Traffic noise and voices carry right through the second floor windows. Depending on my state of mind these often aren't easy to tune out.

Group session, oil on canvas, 14" X 12", 2014

Group sessions can be rife with distractions. People arriving late, setting up, talking, you name it. The longer I work in group environments the easier it is to ignore these things. In fact I almost find comfort in the tumult of a group. Besides, when the model gets into pose everyone settles down trying to find their zone. When you get there it's like a deep meditative state where only the most extreme annoyances can distract.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Painter/Teacher II

I discussed my reluctance to teach art in a previous post (see January 9, 2015). I had a flash the other day that I might actually have something to offer, not by virtue of my successes but by virtue of my failures. In group sessions I constantly see artists frustrated by some aspect of their work. I can usually see ways through or around their roadblocks because I have faced similar obstacles multiple times and from different directions.

Nude Study, oil on linen, 12" X 10", 2015

There is no single "right" method to teach art but there are wrong methods. For too many art teachers the path from student to teacher was too short and too narrow. They have developed a proficiency for certain techniques and then pass them on to students. The problem is one method doesn't work for everyone. No two people approach a blank surface the same way nor should they.

For the student seeking a good solid base from which to venture out, bad advice can lead to years in the wilderness or worse.