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.
Stretching and priming canvases is time consuming and costs money. This being the case I often reuse surfaces of failed or abandoned paintings especially when they haven't progressed too far. A year or so ago after starting a painting with a model I decided the subject warranted a larger canvas. The abandoned effort has been leaning against a wall waiting for a project. It proved the most appropriate size for this watermelon painting. (My own summer crop by the way). Perhaps I should have stopped right here and started a flesh and fruit series.
Day one, Watermelons, oil on canvas, 26" X 30"
Studio interior, September, 2015
Totally by accident I have been presented with a perfect physical metaphor. I chose this canvas solely for its size oblivious to the existing image. It wasn't until I took these photos that the juxtaposition made itself obvious. So still lifes are eclipsing my figurative work … literally.
For the better part of the last four years the human form has been the only subject that stirred my artistic passions. Only now as I take a step back from the figure can I see this period of time with any clarity. I was motivated, even obsessed, with the notion of becoming a competent figurative painter. Any rationale behind this quest came from a purely emotional place.
Male Nude, oil pastel, 9" X 8", 2012
The decision to "go figurative" was purposeful but I can't honestly say I had any choice in the matter. Throughout the years I have always followed that inner voice directing me to the next challenge. I can't say this voice has led Bruce Day the painter to any noble path or destination. In fact I have gone down some awfully dark dead ends putting too much faith in intuition. Some honest contemplation and skepticism are warranted when you start hearing voices.
A recent figure painting session did not go well. I was aware of being in trouble right from the start. The group selected pose was stiff and my angle and lighting were bad. I always paint with a brush in one hand and a rag in the other. Having only one canvas my rag hand was busy rubbing out the first three or four failed attempts. I simply wasn't connecting.
Oil studies on canvas, 12" X 16", 2015
Viewing my work with fresh eyes after the lunch break I capitulated and abandoned the mornings efforts. Turning the surface horizontally I proceeded to tackle a profile study.
Typically in situations like this my art related insecurities would have induced at least a mild panic attack. But this time was different. I remained calm and focused throughout the ordeal. I was content to use the remaining time to experiment and honestly wasn't concerned with the end result.