Since October 2006 I have recorded every aspect of my artistic development on my blog. Here I invite you "behind the scenes" into my studio, where I share all of my materials, class notes, travel journals, and step-by step demonstrations of my paintings and drawings, including video demos.
We are thrilled to announce that Carl Dobsky has moved his fulltime program, The Safehouse Atelier, into our studio!
Carl and his 9 students moved their studio equipment in last week, and they have already gotten set up and are working every day on their drawings of plaster casts.
Safehouse students study 5 days a week: Cast drawing, perspective, long pose figure drawing, alla prima portrait painting and short pose gesture drawing. They also study computer-based graphics, illustration and concept art at another location.
Each student has their own Cast Station where they choose a plaster cast and control the light to create a detailed graphite pencil drawing.
I am thrilled Carl and his students have moved in and we look forward to a wonderful collaboration of classical art education.
Carl studied with Jacob Collins at Water Street Atelier and shows his work at John Pence Gallery.
Carl’s bio and artwork on John Pence Gallery website
Safehouse Atelier Blog with student work
Gallery 1261 in Denver, CO has arranged an impressive roster of artists for their upcoming Contemporary Realism show. Many of these artists are my longtime art heroes, so I am just thrilled to be included in the show.
The opening is this Friday!
Gregory Block, Scott Fraser, Mikel Glass, Robert C. Jackson, Andrea T. Kemp, Lucong, Alyssa Monks, Heather Neill, Kate Sammons, Daniel Sprick, Jeff Uffelman, Henrik Aarrestad Uldalen, Sadie Valeri, Anthony Waichulis
Come help us celebrate our 1-year anniversary of being in our beautiful new studio!
Saturday February 2
6:00 - 10 pm
We hope you can join us!
- Sadie, Nowell, Justin, and Felicia
I am trying a technique that is different from my other paintings. I usually work in the Indirect Flemish Method: Many thin layers on wood panel to get a very high level of realism, without texture, for an almost enamel-like finish. It can take 4-6 weeks to complete a very small 9x12 inch painting.
In contrast, this painting is done with a Direct Method: Only 2 layers (the umber underpainting and one pass of full color), painted with thick, loose paint, on stretched linen support. At 18x24 inches it is larger than most my work, and it took less than 2 weeks to complete.
I am finding what I have long suspected to be true: Working precisely and with great control in my more detailed work is teaching me to see better and make better decisions when I work faster and more loosely.
With this more direct method, this is how I think about painting:
The strokes are applied slowly: I look at my subject, decide what is the ONE stroke I want to make. I load up my brush with the correct color, and then very, very slowly make ONE mark. Then I look at it, and decide if it is right or wrong. Sometimes I need to wipe it off and try again if it is wrong. Then I decide what my next stroke will be.
I start slow, but during the session I naturally speed up, keeping this same level of attention on every stroke. I stop thinking and it starts to feel like the brush is painting on its own.
I use a very light touch, only touching the paint to the canvas, not the bristles. In addition to swiping the brush, I also might push, twist, or wiggle the brush to make the stroke needed. The light touch lays the paint on the canvas, and might leave some broken scumbling drags, without pushing the paint flat.
When loading the brush: To get thicker paint, I push the brush forward into the paint puddle on the palette, not a just a back swipe. I build up a nice glob of paint, with even maybe with a string of peaked paint at the tip.
Every stroke should make the painting feel like it is developing and getting better. If it starts to feel like I am “fixing”, and the painting feels like a struggle, and the painting gets worse even though I am trying to make it better…. I stop painting. I wipe or scrape anything unsuccessful, I breathe, slow down, take a break, and try again.
While painting this I was thinking about how I would teach it as a class or workshop, and realized the only way I could teach it is to teach the Indirect, Flemish method I already teach. For every Direct stroke one must think about drawing, value, color, and edges, all at once. The way I would teach this is to practice each of these skills in isolation until each is mastered, before trying them all at once.
The Flemish Indirect method separates these steps and is an excellent way to learn all of this.
For me, working in this more Direct manner is emerging naturally from my Indirect method of study.
WORKSHOP: Still Life Drawing and Painting in the Flemish Method, January 2013, San Francisco