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.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Virtual Reality

Someone recently showed me on their smart phone a number of private Facebook figurative sites. I am not on Facebook so the existence of this universe was a revelation. It is possible, in fact quite likely, that this virtual world eclipses my reality based one many times over and has for some time. Who knew? Probably everyone but me.

Thirty minute figure study, oil pastel, 11" X 9", 2015

The main problem I have with these sharing sites is that they don't discriminate. My brief encounter showed that most anything and everything gets posted. One even included a failed painting attempt of mine. I'm guessing the model took and posted the picture without my knowledge. Unless there is some educational purpose for doing so, posting flawed art just lowers the discourse.

So now the question arises: To what extent does, (would, could) the real world of figurative drawing and painting exist without the virtual one?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Exhibitions that deal with the Renaissance period often include figure study drawings. Most were done as practice or preliminary studies for paintings or murals intended for churches or cathedrals. Designed to be viewed from a distance the poses are often exaggerated with bodies twisted into all manner of extreme positions.

Male Nude, oil pastel on toned paper, 8 1/2" X 12 1/2", 2015

The difficulty encountered by the model in these situations is obvious but the artist also faces a test. Gone are the familiar conventions of a seated or reclining pose. Awhile back at a group figure session the model in the above drawing held this pose for thirty minutes. This particular model takes his craft seriously and works hard to perfect and hold seemingly impossible poses. He may be onto something. Perhaps I should seek out some cathedral commissions.

Saturday, March 12, 2016


There should be a competition of sorts playing out in my small town arts community but I am at a loss as to the rules of engagement. The arena I've chosen to compete in is different than most - my primary focus is on drawing and painting . I have great admiration for anyone who puts paint to canvas and over the years have been mindful of not criticizing their efforts. But apparently for most local artists wrangling over sales and status is the main event, actual painting comes in at best a distant third.

Reclining Nude, oil on canvas, 14" X 17", 2011

I find myself standing, brush in hand, in a nearly empty coliseum. There is a great deal of noise and commotion coming from a packed arena right next door. The visual arts should offer a clear and graphic scoreboard tracking ones relative progress. It is through an exchange of ideas and techniques that we get better but too little of that is in play. I have no desire to defeat any fellow painters but I wouldn't mind sharpening my game with an occasional combatant.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

On Exhibiting (part two)

This post is appearing in the aftermath of my first exhibition in four years. The show I managed to mount was both in scale and in scope a quantum leap above anything I had done previously. Standing in the gallery rooms before the first visitors arrived I felt a warm sense of fulfillment. The opening drew a full house of artists, models and friends. Surprisingly even a few nudes sold. By any metric I value it was a resounding success.

Portrait Study, oil pastel, 6" X 5", 2016

Exhibition Wall

In a post a month ago I said it is essential for visual artists to put their work on display. This show now stands as a vivid marker in my art career. It also provided a needed sense of finality. Now I can start on the next phase of my artistic adventure and just like when facing a blank canvas I have no idea where I'm going.