Random Musing No. 1

August 4, 2018

The human eye has a range of 120°, mostly peripheral vision, compared to the camera’s typical 200° or more. That is why the figures sometimes seem distorted at the edges of a photograph. We make up for this seeming deficit by moving our focus (in movements called “saccades”) around a scene to build up a gestalt awareness of its appearance.
A painting, curated by human intelligence, is superior in every respect to a photograph, except for how long it takes to make it. If cameras took three hours to create the exact same image as they do now in a split second, there would be no question as to which medium people would choose when they needed an image recorded.
Advertisements

The Artist’s Nightmare

July 18, 2018

I have a recurring dream—a nightmare, really—in which I am off on a painting trip in some beauty spot and for, one reason or another, I never get around to actually doing any painting. It’s not hard to interpret, equal parts longing and guilt, but last night’s was a doozy.
I was off on a trip with my friend Ross and I could see a beautiful ocean view in the distance. Ross got out his paints and started to work but I went for a walk down to the shore, found the perfect spot, and went back for my gear. When I got back, someone had set up an easel in my spot. I considered saying something but figured I would just set up next to him. When I turned to the new spot, someone else had set up his easel there too. I looked the other way–also taken. I started walking along the shore but every place I wanted to paint, someone was already there. When I finally found an open location, the view was obstructed. I started walking back towards Ross but suddenly the entire open space was filled with artists Hundreds of artists, all busily at work, while I did nothing. Some of them were drawing nudes. I thought that was odd, then realized that a model was posing on a stand in three different spots, each completely surrounded by artists four or five deep. I couldn’t paint, I couldn’t draw… I woke up in a cold sweat, trembling.

More Nudes

June 16, 2018

 

There it is.IMG_4239I was at the art store the other day to buy turpentine. THEY WERE OUT OF TURPENTINE. This was not Michael’s, this was Jerry’s Art-a-Rama, a reputable supply chain. The guy apologized to me and said someone had been in a few days earlier and cleaned them out; he then tried to sell me Gamsol. Out of forlorn hope I asked him about Flake White and he had some extremely overpriced small tubes which I didn’t buy (this just came in the mail). That got me started on the subject of metallic pigments and their relative toxicity. I said why worry about lead when cadmium and chrome are just as bad and he wordlessly pointed at a sign hung above the paint section: Winsor Newton is phasing cadmium colors and replacing them with Azo pigments.

It’s all the fault of the fucking namby-pamby Europeans. Stop trying to make my hobby safe! Are you going to restrict welders to using sparklers? Can sculptors now only work in styrofoam? And the same message to artists who are wrapped up in safety issues: if you feel obliged to wear a respirator and rubber gloves to paint in oils, DON’T PAINT IN OILS. MY access to potentially hazardous materials does not affect YOUR ability to avoid them. Stop trying to police my materials!

Grr.

Reasonably pleased with the results from last night’s drawing session. The model was tall and athletic–at first I thought she was a guy–and, for a change, no tattoos! Here are the nicest ones.

 

Nude Portraits

April 19, 2018

When I draw the nude I usually try to get in a portrait during one of the shorter poses. My nudes also have strong portrait elements, but sometimes it’s nice to forget the body and just concentrate on the face.