The next step

I have worked from the live nude periodically since the early 1970's. This blog starts 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 just add them to the conservation.

All drawings and paintings posted on this blog were done entirely from the live model.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Only the Flaws

I'm sure many personality traits common to painters transfer positively into their everyday lives. A good painter must be focused, disciplined and dedicated. But what about traits that have negative consequences? Topping my personal list would be a tendency to be overly critical. I approach art (not just my own) with a heightened critical eye. I gravitate to the flaws.

(Don't look too hard at the baseboard trajectories in this 2009 figure study)

Male Nude, oil on canvas, 8" X 10", 2009

Without this flaw radar it is doubtful my work would ever improve. Problems arise when it encroaches on ones personal realm. I am a multi-flawed individual as are we all. Collectively we form an imperfect world. But going through life primarily focusing on what's wrong with ourselves, other people and the world in general is not an optimal way to live. Accepting, maybe even embracing, some of life's imperfections is a better course to chart.


Monday, July 18, 2016

A New Life

On rare occasions something out of the ordinary and wonderful comes your way. A month or so ago I received an e-mail from a women in search of a figurative artist. She was seven months pregnant with her first child and had in mind an original artwork that would capture this special time in her life. She knew other women who had gone to photo studios for this purpose but was looking for something more personal.

A New Life, oil pastel on toned paper, 13 1/2" X 8", 2016

I avoid commissions like the plague but this request struck a nerve. I have had the good fortune of working with pregnant models several times over the decades. The first time in college. Every one was a special experience. My main trepidation in this case was that I didn't feel up to the task. I had been working outside on a cityscape oil the last two months and my figure drawing skills had atrophied. But this project was so compelling I tossed aside my fears and offered to make an attempt if she was agreeable. The warmth and joy this expectant mother projected was contagious. The experience exceeded anything I might have imagined.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Tennis Anyone?

I have played tennis since I was a teenager. First with my father then with my kids. Played may be a bit generous but I can return the ball over the net with some regularity. In the game of tennis, more than any other sport I am familiar with, ones level of play is clearly affected by ones competition. If the person you are facing is better than you your game is likely to improve. Conversely, if your opponent is not very good your game will almost certainly collapse to their level or worse.

Nude study, oil pastel on toned paper, 8 1/2" X 8", 2016

Most endeavors are to some extent like tennis. Art is no exception. If your contemporaries and mentors, the people you are around or seek to emulate, are on or below your level your chances of improving are slim. On the other hand, if you step on the court with painters better than yourself at the very least you will feel the impact of a hard serve. You are going to lose the match but the odds are your game will improve.