Figurative Art

Banishing the Self-Taught Artist Stigma (+ 5 tips)

Banishing the Self-Taught Artist Stigma (+ 5 tips)

I’m always upset when I hear an artist trying to qualify him or herself as a professional by admitting they are "self-taught."  It's very sad to hear someone who may have spent the last 10-20 years of their lives working as a professional but just because they didn't have the chance to attend college or an academy they feel insecure or illegitimate. 

Why I paint figurative art

What is it I love about painting figurative art?

I am often asked for a little bit of insight into my process.  The way in which I create quality and refined representational art has changed over the years as I’ve honed my process but my goals have not.  When I sit down to paint my desire to create something dramatic goes beyond just modeling what I see in front of me.  If I only cared to paint academic realism painting would be an easy process.  I would just set up a model and paint.  The realism art style, to me, is more than just representing what I see.  It's more than an unemotional response to a subject.  Realism is more than just skin deep.  There is a soul, a personality, something deeper I wish to discover as an artist.  From the time I was an art student I had to laugh how detached some artists were to “the model.”  To them they may have well been painting a vase or a chair.  A person was "a figure" much like any wooden mannequin you'd see at your local art store.  This narrow-minded attitude is spread around so much of the figurative art world.  The question is, when did we become so disconnected with our subject?  Is this an artist problem or a problem with society as a whole?What ever happened to empathy towards our fellow man?   When I work I want my model to tap into the spirit of the character.  I want that person to tell me how they feel with an expression or a longing that I have to find in them.  It's a paint-staking process to me, painting figurative art, but one with a lifetime of rewards.  Maybe I love my characters too much to call their painting "Untitled," like many artists do.  Maybe I'm an old fool that still thinks that beauty, especially inner beauty is worth painting.

The purpose of my rant is, do what you love and have a damned good reason for what you do, no matter how stubborn it may seem.  There are endless approaches to subject matter.  The figure, or more importantly the soul inside it, is mine.

Below are some of the stages of one of my recent paintings, "Circe," that I did in 2015.  

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