Reclining Nude in Bed – sold

nudeinbed

oil on canvasboard, 5″x7″

This figure study captures the direction and movement of morning light on a reclining nude. I don’t normally crop figures this way but I like how it emphasizes the angles and shapes. I also enjoyed observing the light and shadows both on the figure and in the light and dark areas of the bed and background. I like how it turned out. I think the closer focus on the figure allows for more detail at the same time it creates bolder shapes which gives this small painting great presence.

 

Portrait of a French Girl – sold

frenchgirl

Oil on hardboard panel, 8″x6″

This is another of my portraits of imaginary people from the past. Don’t ask me why she’s French, that just seemed to come to mind as I was painting her. She was a difficult girl to paint, elusive, challenging, different. The paint didn’t want to stay where I put it on the board but it created some interesting effects. She was painted in one very long session and the slippery quality of the paint made the brushwork rather distinct. It’s an unusual look but I decided to go with it. The colors didn’t blend quite like I’m used to but it retained a fresh, wet appearance even after drying.

As she emerged from the chaos of the painting she brought to mind smokey Parisian cafes, red wine and existentialist conversations. Mysterious, with a hint of deep passions, I could imagine a girl like this holding the attention of the Lost Generation.

Portrait of a Dance Hall Girl – sold

dancehall

Oil on hardboard panel, 8″x6″

This painting is another in a series of what I think of as “creative portraits”. They aren’t any existing person but are usually inspired by old B&W photos and stories of the past. They start to take on a life of their own as I paint and become about an imaginary character and mood.

This girl reminded me of the taxi-dance girls in the dance halls of the 1920s and 30s. Paid a dime a dance, it was a somewhat scandalous yet relatively lucrative profession for young women in an era where opportunities were limited. I think anyone who was able to make a living that way had to be tough yet charming. This girl looks like she’s got a lot of spunk and wouldn’t take any nonsense from drunken louts.

Nude in a Red Chair – sold

Redchair

Oil on hardboard panel, 7″x5″

While painting this one I focused on the angles and the light falling across the figure. It’s a serene seated pose but I like the energy produced by the various angles of the arms and legs. The unusual vintage chair and the paneled interior add to the timeless charm of this painting.

This model is just as naked as the one in my previous painting, Standing Male Nude, but so far no one who’s seen it has had any discomfort with her body or level of nudity. Everyone also seemed to think that my earlier female nude, Woman in Bathtub – sold was just a nice painting. It’s a minor thing but interesting to me that male bodies seem to trigger a reaction of mild discomfort, even in a painting, whereas a female nude is seen as pretty standard stuff.

Standing Male Nude – sold

Standingman

Oil on hardboard panel, 12″x9″

This painting is a classic figure study. Figurative subjects are my favorite and I love the challenge of painting nudes. Especially male nudes as they tend to have more defined musculature. There are few things more difficult to paint than the human body and I have to admit that the contrapposto stance gave me some trouble…but I think I pulled it off.

I was told by a male friend that I made the penis too large in this painting. I wasn’t trying to be shocking or make a statement here, the model’s penis just happens to be on the large side. But this comment made me wonder, do artists have to “tone down” that part of the body or risk having it come off as erotica? It’s just a normal part of a human body, why is there so much baggage? If a female model happens to have large breasts is it somehow more tasteful or artistic to shrink those? I spent a lot of time in art school drawing whoever happened to be naked in front of me on the model stand, did this throw me out of alignment with what regular people see in a nude? Obviously there’s no answer to the various questions that occurred to me but it does make me wonder….

Portrait of a Redhead – sold

Redhead

Oil on hardboard panel, 10″x8″

Playing with color again. The starting point for this painting was an old black and white photo so that left a lot of room for invention. I’m not sure where the red hair came from but she seemed to want to be a redhead and it was fun to paint.

I’m finding that conveying emotion is increasingly important to me in these “portraits”. Even though they are largely invented from my imagination they also seem to create themselves and have their own personalities. Happily, I’m starting to relax with this odd feeling that I’m not in complete control and trusting what emerges in my paintings.

Portrait of a Girl in Pink – sold

pinkpic (2)

Oil on hardboard panel, 7″x5″

Experimenting with mood, expression and color combinations. Trying to create a completely new painting frequently is quite a challenge but I enjoy when I find it taking me in different directions. I’m finally finding myself departing from tight realism and evolving a more fluid and personal style which has long been an elusive goal. I’m still a realist painter and interested in depicting a person rather than a cartoon (not that there’s anything wrong with that, just not something I want to do) but in this case I’m happy to find a touch of whimsy and personality.

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Woman in a Blue Bikini – sold

 

BBikini (3)

Oil on hardboard panel, 7″x5″

This painting expresses the essence of a beautiful day at the beach…the brilliant light, sharp shadows and dazzling colors of sea and sand. I like how the golden hue of the sand and the cool blues of the water are echoed in the girl’s hair and skin and bright turquoise bikini.

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