Live figure drawing has been one of the greatest sideline pleasures I have experienced as part of a freelance career. What other job has you stepping into a studio in SoHo New York with dozens of other artists to pass away three hours of time in studious contemplation of the human form…and call it work!! (and write it off on your taxes !) These breaks from my regular studio time have been ways to recharge my creative batteries and revisit the human gesture which , when confronted by the amazing things live models can do, reminds us how little we know about the beauty in posture, lighting and the subtle power of gesture.
As a realist painter, I rely heavily upon my models to open the door in conveying emotion and gesture that I can never have dreamed of. Every time I sit down in that cellar studio, many times with artist friends, and watch the model twist, arc, and collapse, I am tongue-tied with the visual language I am still learning to speak. It is a humbling and motivating event every time, year after year…
I wanted to take the time to recognize a few of the models I have met through life drawing sessions at The Spring Street Studio and the art they have helped inspire. These are just a few of the projects which have flourished from the seeds planted at Spring Street.
So find yourself models or friends which will take your art to a new level, for it certainly has worked for me…
Model Richard Holly (above right and below)
The Hobbit: Expulsion
with Richard Holly as a few of the dwarves.
Model Francois Moret.
After meeting Francois at Spring Street studio and calling him in for a commission, I discovered he was a huge art and science fiction and fantasy fan. We quickly became friends and I proceeded to hire him for over 15 projects through the course of the years, from Magic cards to book covers. He was an amazing talent and an integral part of why these paintings were so successful and powerful.
I lamented the day he moved from New York!
Thank you Francois!
(and congratulations, as he is a father now)
Model George Liker
George had a stare that bored straight through you. It was kind of scary sitting in the room with him, imagination running as I attempted to decode what was going on inside his mind. Regardless of his internal workings, George was a stunning model…
Born in 1967 and raised in Colchester, Vermont, USA, art was always a hobby for Donato as a young man, he would steal away into the basement of his parents' home to work on drawings, create his own maps for the game Dungeons & Dragons, paint figurines, read comics, and construct model tanks and dinosaurs. His love of imaginative play dominated his childhood, both indoors and out. At the age of twenty Donato enrolled in his first formal art class, the beginning of his professional training. Immediately after graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Painting from Syracuse University in 1992, Donato moved to New York City to immerse himself in the inspired and varied art scene. Formative years in the early nineties were spent as the studio assistant to the preeminent figure painter Vincent Desiderio, and long days of study in the museums of New York. It was then that his love and appreciation of classical figurative art took hold. He continues his training even now, visiting museums regularly, learning from and sometimes copying original paintings by Rembrandt or Rubens, attending life drawing sessions with illustrator friends and constantly challenges himself within each new project. Pilgrimages to major museums are his preferred reason to travel.
Donato has released a revised hard cover compilation of his works on the theme of J.R.R. Tolkien, Middle-Earth: Journeys in Myth and Legend from Dark Horse Comics.