Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Long overdue update

Recently, I have been sitting in on the morning figure drawing sessions at The Safehouse Atelier. It's really good to be back in the daily practice of working from the model. I didn't realize how much I missed it these past couple years. Here's the most recent effort.

Torrey, graphite on bristol board, 2011

Also, a recent small still life painting.

Medicine, 5"x7", oil on panel, 2011

More work as it develops.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ann's Twenty Two

Ann's Twenty Two, Oil on Panel, 9.5" x 23", 2010

This rifle once belonged to my late grandmother. She was a strong Southern matriarch of a sort seldom seen in this age. There is a rather gruesome story of how the stock came to be broken, but I won't scar my readers with further details.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The out of doors

Downed Tree sketch, graphite, aprox. 8.5" x 11", 2010

Sometimes, as an antidote to too many hours in the studio, I head outside for some drawing or painting. The challenges of such endeavors are well documented and I don't need to rehash them here. However, sitting outside, listening to birds, and doing what I love to do is one of the nicest experiences I can think of. Even if the work doesn't come out well (which is often), I ultimately feel happy about the experience. That is to say, I feel happy once the gloomy cloud of failure and self-doubt passes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Some Wisdom from Harold Speed

The discussion between realism and idealism is fundamentally one about clothes--in what garments shall the spiritual realities that are the real matter of all art be arrayed. Whether it shall be sought for in the aspects of everyday things, or clothed by the artist in the most fit symbols his imagination can conceive. The reality is the same in the best examples of all art, whether real or ideal. It is this inner world of reality, the other side of material things, that art seeks to give expression to in the material terms. The old antagonism between the material and the immaterial, between the flesh and the spirit, has too often in the past led the idealist to neglect the true aspect of things (the material with which his symbols are made), and inclined the realist to give too much emphasis to the purely material aspect of things, to the neglect of the spirit. But the more reasonable modern minds are everywhere seeking to combine these two extremes, seeking the inner realities in the meanest aspect of everyday things, instead of building in the clouds. There is, truly speaking, no antagonism between the realist and the idealist.1

If you don't already own them, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Harold Speed's essential texts on learning to draw and paint. The Practice and Science of Drawing and Oil Painting Materials and Techniques. They offer a wealth of practical information on learning the craft as well as a generous amount of sound artistic theory and philosophy. Along with Robert Henri's The Art Spirit, I would consider them required reading for anyone pursuing art. More from these two in the future.

1 Harold Speed, Oil Painting Materials and Techniques (New York: Dover, 1987) 66

Monday, November 15, 2010

A pear and the bitter taste of defeat

Bosc/Box, oil on panel, 7" x 7", 2010

Here's a piece I just finished. Nothing too groundbreaking as far as subject matter is concerned but I needed to knock something out to remind myself that I still knew how to paint. I just spent a month working on another, more involved piece. Sadly, it ended up not really coming together the way I wanted. So it's facing the wall to be reviewed after a couple other projects. On occasion it can help to not look at a piece for a while to rediscover its merits. When you've poured so much time and energy into a piece, it can be very easy to get disheartened when it doesn't go your way. And like any tumultuous relationship, sometimes you just need some time apart to reevaluate things. And sometimes a piece just fails. In that case, all you can do is learn what you can from the defeat and apply that knowledge to future projects.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Two recent pieces

A couple of recent pieces.

My Father's Gun, oil on panel, 9" x 13", 2010

Pater Familias, graphite, 2010