I had a meeting at the Soceity of Illustrators last night and decided to drive in, instead of taking the bus and subway. I was late so I parked my car in the lot right next door. HOLY SHIT THAT PLACE IS EXPENSIVE! I paid over 40 bucks for less than two hours. Thank god I was able to find a spot on the street after 7pm. I stayed to draw so I could make a night out of it.
A recent Friday night session at the Art Students League; this young guy is a sculpture from Spain. He does some of his art work at The League but he's also a model. He looked so serious and stern sitting up on the model stand. But when we got a chance to talk during one of the breaks, I found him to be light hearted and joyful. I blasted through this painting, during which I did very little thinking about my process and where I was going. It wasn't really till the end of the session that I began to pull the painting together. I read somewhere that Sargent felt like painting outdoors was like an "emergency." I felt that during this session. The time is ticking away and I'm racing to "get it all down."
A few quick poses of the greatest model on earth . . . Fred. He's and artist . . . how he poses is a performance . . . he's wonderful.
A spread from my sketchbook. This time, I broke from years of tradition and purchased a different kind of sketchbook. I'm seeing it as an indication of growth. Different color, different size, different paper and it has a pretentious little ribbon the ties the whole thing closed. I wasn't sure if I was ready for the change and I basically ignored it for a few weeks. But now I think I've found my joy with it. These little watercolor notes have been so satisfying. At times clumsy, but for sure mostly satisfying. Here is a few from my Monday night private class. Watercolor is such great painting practice! So quick. I think a fresh look comes from clean clear color choices. More mixing and observing.
The little profile at the bottom is Selma. She's back from Florida and spending most of her time watching over her kids and there kids.
Working quickly, I used the neutral gray ground as the color of his shirt. It was actually gray as well. I also found myself intuitively pushing the color palette in a particular direction . . . cooler, grayer, or more neutral.
There have been a number of blessings, including people, who have helped me “get out of my own way”; including this site. The teaching style of W.M. Chase who promoted the practice of the premier coup (first strike) challenged the concepts I learned in my first few years of studying painting. Students in Chase’s class painted either from a still life or a model and completed a painting in one sitting. Perhaps two. Working directly, they might do a few paintings in one week of study. It’s reported that Chase demonstrated often and was amazing at executing a portrait, spontaneously, crackling with life, in one sitting. The premier coup, or oil sketch has become an important part of my work and happiness as a painter. I wouldn’t work exclusively in this manner, but it’s a great work out, stimulating a different set of painting muscles.
This weekend, Nancy (Stahl) and I sat in on a class at the Art Students League. For one, hanging out and talking with Nancy is a lot of fun. Working with here side by side feels great. By nature, she’s open-minded and supportive, which is a good painting medium . . . helps with fluidity. The model, whose name I’m forgetting was a skater. He was posed with his foot up on his board, leaning forward a bit on his knee. And as you can see he had more than a head full of hair . . . braids and dreads. The glasses came off and on as we progressed through the poses. And we all argued democratically on including or not including his glasses throughout the pose. Art, interesting models, a good friend, democracy, direct painting . . . ahhhhhh I could feel life boiling up inside me.
These two drawings are class demos. But more than that, they're of my friend and model Janine. She's an artist, a painter, a graduate of FIT, and actually had three paintings in the Student SI show when she graduated. Although they're not represented here, much of her body is tattooed. A portrait of Elvis, which she created. is on her hip.
Artists models are good and fascinating people. I believe there is a special section in heaven for them! These are two models that work together, quite often, at the Society of Illustrators. As they pose, they go on-and-on, updating each other on their separate lives. I can barely make out what they're saying because of the band music in the background but I usually catch phrases like, "my yoga instructor said", or "so we met for a drink at that bar on the east side", or "I don't know what the hell she was thinking!" . . . on and on. They seem to genuinely care about each other and share an intimacy as they strike statuesque poses, hold firmly still, and gab like two highschool kids on the bus.
I couldn't get it out of my head. To me he was Russle Crow as the Gladiator. I'm not sure why cause he does really look like Russle. But all I kept thinking was, "I am Maximus Aurilius. General of the Northern Army. Father to a murdered son. Husband to a murdered wife." Love that!
Nancy Stahl and I met up at the 5 to 630 long pose drawing session at the Art Students League. It was great to share those hallowed halls with her.
Open bar, Live hot Jazz, and Burlesque Girls. That's right. The Society of Illustrators. I am a regular of The SI sketch night. It's the hightlight of my week, a mingling of the most enjoyable vices. Unfortunately I quit smoking. Here is a composition from last night.