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.

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.

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.


Some Figure Drawings

October 17, 2017

I finished off an 18×24 drawing pad the other day. Here are some of the pieces I particularly liked.

Female Nude 20Female Nude 17Male Nude 7Male Nude 6Female Nude 18Female Nude 19Male Nude 5

Some Recent Sketchbooks

December 17, 2015

I recently finished up a large drawing pad of figure drawings on toned paper so I thought I’d flip through what I’ve been working on over the past few weeks. They’re all female nudes. I simply haven’t been able to get to any venues with male nudes lately, although I wouldn’t mind doing so.

Videoed with helpful interruption from talkative neighbor for your viewing pleasure.

A Couple of Nudes

December 14, 2015

I’ve been going to figure drawing in Providence and the sessions generally end with a 40-minute pose. Not quite enough time to get in a painting, but I’m trying anyway. Here are two new ones:

Female Model

Female Model2

Recent Drawings

September 10, 2015

Let’s take a break from posting paintings and post some recent figure drawings.

mnude 01 mnude 05 fnude 01 fnude 08 fnude 07 fnude 06 fnude 05 fnude 04 fnude 03 fnude 02 mnude 04 mnude 03 mnude 02 fnude 10 fnude 09 mnude 07 mnude 06 fnude 12 fnude 11 fnude 13 mnude 08 mnude 09 mnude10 fnude16 fnude15 fnude14

I wish I had some recent figure paintings to show you, but I’ve been finding it frustrating and difficult to find venues in which I can paint. I’m ready to pay some ridiculous sum–$20 or $25–for the opportunity to paint the model. There’s a place in Somerville but it’s a train, subway and bus ride away. Then I had a brainstorm! There’s an outfit in Boston called “The Realist Academy of Art” that’s a short walk from South Station. Surely they’d have an appropriate venue to paint the model! I called and sure enough they did, at a time that was convenient for me too, and oil paints were encouraged.

I thanked the woman and was about to get off the phone when she said, “One more thing. No turpentine, only odorless paint thinner.”

I said, “You’re kidding. I can’t use turpentine?”

She said, “Some of our students complain about the smell so we don’t allow turpentine.”

I said, “How can you claim to teach traditional academic techniques when you ban the use of turpentine?”

“I’m sorry sir, no turpentine.”

I said, “You do realize that the fumes from odorless paint thinner are just as dangerous if not more so than turpentine, you just can’t smell them?” She said, “I’m sorry sir, that’s our policy.”

So that was that. I wouldn’t clean my brushes in odorless paint thinner, much less smear it on canvas with my expensive pigments. It would be like having to mix dog crap with my paints, completely non-archival, an insult to the noble craft of painting. Plus it’s made from petroleum products instead of being squeezed out of a pine tree like good ol’ turpentine. Nevertheless, turpentine [air quotes] smells bad and [air quotes] makes me feel queasy, so no turpentine only kiddie media that doesn’t make me feel bad.

I hate the modern era.