Figuring It Out
Oil on Canvas
24 x 20 in.
This work will be in the OPA National Exhibition at RS Hanna Gallery, Fredericksburg, Texas, from October 16 through November 28, 2020.

Figures have been one of my favorite subjects over the past 30 years. Around 1989 I was intrigued by the appearance and character of an older man at the local racetrack, named Dobbie, who fed the horses. I asked him if he would sit while I sketched him in charcoal and the result turned out great so I showed it in an exhibition and put it on my brochure. This success working from life led me to seek out life drawing groups and thus began my practice of regular figure drawing.

Once comfortable with drawing under the clock I started to paint during the longer poses. After moving to StFX University with my wife I started to teach art part-time and participate in a life drawing group. They needed someone to take over the organization and book the models, so I agreed, and nearly 20 years later we’re still having sessions, albeit with a small group of artists. Originally I drew in charcoal, conte and pastel and then started to do finished or nearly finished paintings during the sessions using watercolor, pastel or oil. Some were juried into national and regional exhibitions where they often won awards, so I was hooked. I always seemed to get a favorite model, often a student, who just had something special. It was paintings of those unique models which garnered the awards and they also had the quality of a good likeness and something of their spirit.

One such model was a Chinese student named Emily and a work of her won an Award last year in the American Watercolor Society International Exhibition. This past year or two my favorite model has been Moire, the niece of one of the art faculty. She’s just fabulous and knows how to take a great pose that looks natural. Works of her in oil and watercolor have been juried into four National and regional shows. The image of her here titled Figuring it Out has been selected for the 2020 Oil Painters of America National Exhibition, now slated for the fall of 2020.

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