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, June 9, 2015

The Aura

I came across a 1936 essay by Walter Benjamin titled "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction". In it Benjamin warns that reproducing works of art can limit or even destroy the originals uniqueness or "aura". He was warning about new reproduction methods of his era and couldn't have imagined the ease and number of todays options. I think he was on to something.

Reclining Nude, oil pastel on toned paper, 7" X 9", 2013

I would extend Benjamin's thesis to include the creation of a work of art. I have said many times how I believe works done from life posses a quality or power missing in photo or other reference derived works. I never had a specific term for this until now. It is the aura. Be it a landscape or a still life or a person, capturing an aura can only happen during the physical interchange between subject and artist.

I wince when I see "landscape" painters working from photos or now computer screens. Take your easel out and sit under a tree. The aura is illusive but it is there. It isn't easily harnessed but the only chance of truly capturing it is in that moment and environment.


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