As an artist and a teacher, I now feel the need to devote myself to work entirely from life. It's a choice based on quality and it's an important decision to make my work as strong and non-derivative as possible. For commissions, this can be especially troublesome, but I want to create truly original works of art that have a feeling of life in them. I want to create art that is as close to the source of nature as possible; And as a teacher, to encourage my students to do the same.
As a society we are now overwhelmed by digital photography. For paintings, this is particularly hazardous because many viewer's only relation to great works of art is through a screen. I see certain benefits, but the downsides are numerous.
Imagine if we lived with only recordings of music and no live music. What are the benefits of a recording? Well, most prominently, we have a greater access to the art and an ease of access. One of the advantages that I see is being able to catalogue my own work. the images on my site are meant as a visual record, but they're definitely not meant to replace the actual painting or drawing. Then we can ask, what are the limitations? Is ease of access always a good thing?
For me, a huge part of making art is about making a memory and to have an experience while painting. For a portrait, it's about being with the person and sharing a conversation. If I'm painting en plein air, I will remember trekking up the mountain until I reach the point where I set up my easel. Maybe I meet someone along the way and they comment on my painting. All of that is what I love about painting. Another thing to remember is that these experiences may not always be pleasant. I have a friend who said to me one time, "In hindsight, things will either be fun or funny." I try to remember this when I'm experiencing something that is real, but not enjoyable.
When paintings get boiled down to a photo-realistic image, it becomes devoid of life. I often say that I'm very impressed with photo-realism as a trick and demonstration of pure technical ability. In the same way I would be impressed by someone who had memorized the dictionary; I'd say, "Wow, impressive." But would I ever want to do that myself? Absolutely not. What's the point of that?
As I turn 30 this year, I want real world experiences. To look at things through my own eyes and develop more of my own style. To listen to live music. To take a hike through a beautiful area. To play a sport, instead of watching it on tv. To be in the game, instead of on the sidelines. To ride my motorcycle and skateboard. To make a pilgrimage to a museum and stand fact-to-face with a painting, in the same spot the artist stood before nature. To be sweating outside, battling the wind and bugs in order to create a painting. That's what makes me happy.
I'm very proud to announce that I am now an affiliate artist with Rosemary & Co. Rosemary Thompson and her daughter, Symi Jackson, are wonderful people and they really make the best brushes you can find. They make a wide variety of high-quality brushes and other art materials for oils, watercolors and acrylics. Go check out their brushes HERE and use my affiliate code when you check out: C7E6EF
I recorded a class demo from my watercolor class. Enjoy!
I have some big news: I am very proud to announce that I'll be teaching at the Teaching Studios of Art. The Teaching Studios of Art was founded in 2009 by artist and writer, Robert Zeller. Rob is a brilliant artist and I'm looking forward to working at his studio school. You all should also check out his book: "The Figurative Artist's Handbook". He's currently working on another book also which is coming in 2022.
This is all pretty new, but Rob and I spoke about a (virtual) still life course and possibly an in-person landscape workshop at their home base on the North Shore of Long Island, N.Y. I'm very excited about this opportunity and can't wait for classes to get underway.
For more information about this studio school, click this image below: