For weeks I had been looking forward to “Figure in Costume,” a painting session at Arte Verissima. It was my first time visiting Oakland-based Arte Verissima, a studio space/gallery/school in conjunction with Golden Gate Atelier, all keeping with a realist way of painting. The rooms were full of sculpted skeletons in the process of being muscled and painstaking charcoal drawings made from plaster casts. Most exciting to me, though, is that I got to paint my esteemed colleague Colin Nitta as a cowboy!

Cowboy painting

Painting based on a 3 1/2 hour pose

It is such joy to paint from life, because I don’t get to do it every day. And Colin modeled superbly– in truth, I haven’t worked from a model taking the same pose for such a duration in one session. Here are some of my sketches, including a skeleton that I brushed in during the breaks. I was the only person working in acrylic, perhaps not wise, because I had to contend with paint trying much too quick on my palette.


Three minute poses

It was a lot of fun practice, and I got to paint with my good friends and artist peers, Lauren Szabo and Amuna Laima. The music gave me sources of enjoyment as well, as we started with Western mood-setting themes from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Johnny Cash, and The Decemberists, the latter bringing about some humorous debate. I’m looking forward to costumed model sessions in the future.