Painting of An Angel in Dog Heaven

Wonder Dog
Oil on Canvas, 8×8″

This is Winston, an English bull dog. Despite his fierce look, a sweeter dog never lived. He has sadly passed recently. Our whole family misses him terribly. He came into our family with my daughter-in-law. It’s no mystery why he had such a sweet disposition with the owner he had. She said that Winston chose her when he was a puppy. He had very good sense in doing so. She took such good care of him that he exceeded the life span of most English bullies. She also taught him his good manners. He took the role as Peabody to my son’s role as Sherman almost immediately. Their fondness for each other was quite obvious..

I searched pictures of Winston in all my digital files and on Facebook and selected this one for a portrait. I am so pleased with it that I intend to paint more. I have a few pieces with him as my subject but they are studies or very small images; not really finished work. You can see them here and here.

Who knows? His image might be vehicle for paintings which may end up more significant. He may end up being my Blue Dog!

T F m
October 29, 2014

Same Model, Different Watercolor Painting

Seated Man
Watercolor on Masa Paper, 7.75×3.375″

It’s so exciting to be able to post two images of a male model! I have said before I am in favor of equal opportunity nudity. Also it’s important for a figure painter to be able to to draw and paint all kinds of people. Concentrating only on female models makes one have difficulty painting a male model. Likewise painting form only young slight/slender/skinny models leaves one unable to work from older models. The sweet young things can be beautiful and intelligent but the younger they are, the less life experience they have, and the results can be vapid and empty.

The hunk/babe mentality of current media is downright boring for art. Older and heavier bodies can be much more interesting. The experiences of older people are writ on their bodies and their faces. It is also expressed in their conversation. In all the years of figure painting I have never encountered a model who wasn’t beautiful. Everyone who has walked in the door has been beautiful in their own way.

Older models seem to be more emotionally accessible and relaxed while modeling. We had a very handsome, young man who would drop a wall between us. He was just not emotionally present. Modeling takes people who are comfortable in their skins and in their psyches. The older models seem to have gotten there so they can be collaborators in the art process.

I love being part of a group who would chat during painting or drawing. Some groups frown on that. I say that part of a communal session is the social aspect. If you want silence, then isolate yourself in your studio. We entertained our models with good humor, fascinating topics and great music. All as things came to us in the course of the conversation. We encouraged our models to join in. The day always flew by for all of us, while we produced some very nice work. It was the best way to spend a Saturday.

T F m
October 17, 2014

Standing Woman in Watercolor


Watercolor on Masa Paper, 10.5×3.75″

This image of a standing woman makes a companion to the previous post. You can see that the paper, here, is more dry. The bleeds and soft edges of the last image are not present in this watercolor. It’s a kind of reversal. Softness is a stereotype for images of women. It’s not usually associated with men. I didn’t intend it to be so. It just happened.

So much depends on the atmospheric conditions during the time of the execution. If its the indoor heating season, the paint will dry fast because there is less humidity in the air. Indoors during the summer is a bit more damp. These were painted some time apart hence the difference in effect.

There are always so many surprises while I paint. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. I just have to take it as it comes. It keeps me looking forward to what might happen next. It’s the element of surprise that’s the fun!

T F m
October 8, 2014

Finally! A Male Model in Watercolor!


Standing Man
Watercolor on Masa Paper, 10.5×3.75″

We finally had a male model to pose for us a few weeks ago. Its about time!. It’s hard to find male models. I enjoy the beauty of human variety and that includes the male nude. When I was in grad school we had our own figure session. We scheduled an alternation of male and female models. If one is a figure painter one needs to be able to draw and paint both sexes.

Invariably, when we had a male model, all the guys who usually came to draw, stayed away. The women came. We appreciated the beauty of both male and female bodies. But the men were that threatened. The homophobia was that strong.

There was a time when the male body was considered to be far more beautiful than the female. Michelangelo set the standard with his male nudes. His influence was so great that male models were used as stand ins for female figures. The results were augmented by adding breasts. That’s why when you go to the art museum and you look at the 16th to 18th century paintings, the women look so mannishly muscular.

The Victorian period ushered in the fig leaf to cover male naughty bits under the pretext that womens’ sensibilities were to delicate to experience the “whole male”. Also certain Classical Greek representations of the male nude (Apollo Belvedere) suddenly became effeminate and consequently went out of fashion. Contemporary misogyny and homophobia have kept it that way.

Images of women’s bodies on display, are ubiquitious in our society. It is misogyny to declare only the female body to be beautiful. If the human body is beautiful, then both sexes are beautiful. Equal opportunity nudity for both women and men! If women’s bodies are subjected to judgement and used sell almost anything under the sun then men’s bodies should be, equally, fair game. Is that why some guys stay away when a male model is posing?

T F m
October 2, 2014