Friday, February 27, 2009

Half Figure Seated

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Face of Grace

The canvas is 60x42" and only a few of the inches are showing here. They were the most challenging inches of all. To me, the subject looked happy, hopeful, calm and poised to move into the future. She's not afraid of looking you right in the eye, but it's with the twinkle of kindness. Sometimes during the process, I lost her altogether, sometimes she looked sad or sleepy or surprised. It's really remarkable how much a tiny line can influence a person's face. Tomorrow's post will show all the inches, all at the same time. Or just the torso.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yellow Rose

This is the Yellow Rose of Texas and it's usually the show-stopper, but not in the hands of this beautiful lady.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Progressive Reveal

Across the top of the portrait that I've been working on is a painting of a painting, revealed here in one strip.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Upper Left Landscape

The upper left landscape shows the lighthouse, a shore, and a wee bit more.

Friday, February 20, 2009


This was a cold day and many of the poses this day involved the terry robe. There were also space heaters on the model and the artists stayed in jackets, many with gloves. The studio is a cavernous warehouse, the same one that Sherwin and I roasted in during the summer (a story from an earlier post). There's something about suffering for your art that makes an artist feel like he's earning his stripes. It also draws artists together in common bond. When you're in a situation like this, though, you cannot complain about how cold you are. I mean, there's a young woman right there with you who's, well, suffering a little bit more than the artists and not complaining one bit.


Usually, the model comes out of the dressing room with a robe on, which then becomes a drape of sorts once we start working. Occasionally, the model will freeze poses in the act of toilette, as Ingrid has done for us here. I like it because it puts the body in an attitude that is not pose-like but rather familiar.
A line/contour drawing may seem like a continuous, 2D outline of a positive shape. One secret to capturing a figure quickly and accurately, though, is to notice and record the negative shapes. They tell you so much truth about the figure that your mind is trying to trump with all its knowledge. If you believe the shape of where the body isn't, you can capture the shape of what is easily. Even if you only have a few minutes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


This is Hannah, a strawberry blonde professional model.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Yesterday, I said that underneath every good painting is a good drawing. It is also true that underneath every good figurative work is a good nude. Clothes in a painting have to cover a true form and the best way to understand the form is to study anatomy and the nude figure.
Once when I was painting a portrait, my son brought his girlfriend into the studio and I said, "Whew! I just finished painting his clothes on him; that could have been embarrassing!" and she said, "Really? You paint them naked first?" It was funny, but then the next time she visited, I was painting a nude. She said, "Will you get her clothes finished today?" I had to look at her and see the twinkle in her eye before I knew that she was teasing me back.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Why are there drawings on the "Paint Your Joy!" blog? Well, underneath every good painting is a good drawing. Even if there is not a literal drawing, good paintings must be structurally sound in order to work well. Drawing improves one's ability to paint and good teachers recommend that painters draw every day. I just read a quote on The Painters Keys from Irwin Greenberg's "Words to Paint By." It read, "Draw everywhere and all the time. An artist is a sketchbook with a person attached."

Friday, February 13, 2009


This beautiful girl modeled secretly, without telling her boyfriend that she was doing it. She told him she'd be shopping, so then she had to go shopping after the session. I have many drawings of her and have in fact painted her, but I shall only ever share the anonymous, Every Woman drawings because it makes me nervous that she might be found out. She is a bit of a free spirit and she wanted to "check this box before things start heading south" on her body. I'd say she's still quite the Yankee.
Her name is Eva.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


One of the things I've learned from drawing and painting the nude is how very beautiful the human body is. An animated sculpture. You may have noticed that my line drawings so far are minus their faces. I draw and paint faces a lot. They take a very long time. In the lab, you really don't have much time so you try to cover as much territory as possible as quickly as you can. My figure drawings that have faces are from longer sets and I'm not sure I like them as much. Maybe without the face, it's more anonymous or universal and therefore more appealing to me.
This is Diana, the goddess of the hunt.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


When you're working with nudes, there's no place to hide. For the model or the artist. There are no clothes, no stuff~ only the figure in the buff. I'm amazed at the infinite variety possible from the same basic template. Still, I get real happy when a super interesting model shows up. Cynthia is a beautiful woman and was pregnant when she modeled for us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Sometimes I like it really simple, sometimes I overwork it. Having someone there saying, "Change!" every few minutes helps me stop sooner than I might have otherwise. In my quest for excellence, I am learning that perhaps I shouldn't try so hard to be fast, but rather brief. That requires intense thought and discipline. And practice.
This is Betina. She's a dancer.

Monday, February 9, 2009


There's a group that meets for 3 hours or so on Saturdays, I call it the Figure Lab. It's loosely structured but usually the model poses in 5-minute sets for the first hour, 10 and 20 minutes poses, then a long pose for the painters in the group. While I finish up the portrait that I'm working on, I'll share some line drawings with you from the short poses in Figure Lab.
This is Alice.