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.

Friday, February 24, 2017


Booking a model for a private session last month I discovered that May of 2016 was the last time I had painted from the live figure. I had drawn from the nude frequently but hadn't mixed a flesh pallet and put it to canvas in nearly eight months. Some serious brushing up was in order.

Female Nude, oil on linen, 5 3/8" X 5 3/8", 2017

There are certain rules and protocols that apply to all painting. However, in my experience different subject groups require different approaches. Still life, cityscape or nude each call for different pallet and mental preparations. Returning to the figure after this break it is going to take some time to regain my bearings.

Saturday, February 11, 2017


Shopping at the supermarket recently I ran into the husband of a local painter I haven't seen for awhile. After exchanging pleasantries I enquired about how she is doing. He said she was painting up a storm probably like I was. After a pregnant pause I explained that I wasn't painting up a storm at all. An occasional flurry perhaps but in no way could my current painting activity be called a storm.

Female Nude, oil pastel on toned paper
9 1/2" X 6", 2012

Right now I'm painting in small bursts. Perhaps at some point in the future these little squalls will form into a category four hurricane. But for now I will have to be content with a calmer weather pattern.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

As Good As It Gets

In the 1990's the BBC produced an art history series featuring a Roman Catholic nun named Sister Wendy Beckett. Standing in front of iconic works of art she would make insightful and often unconventional observations. In one episode Sister Wendy descended into a cave to discuss some of the earliest known paintings. I recall her saying that the art of humankind never got any better than those Paleolithic age paintings - just different. What a broad bold statement considering the masterpieces created through the ages. Instinctively I knew what she meant.

Male Profile, oil pastel on toned paper, 7 1/2" X 5 1/2", 2012

The urge to improve has always been a powerful motivating force in my art. When starting a new drawing or painting my hope and intention has always been that it will be better than any previous attempts. But now, closer to the end of my career than the beginning, it is clear that I will never "better" certain early works. The best I can hope for is that my new work will simply be different.