Saturday, October 27, 2012

Drawing Workshop

One Day Portrait Drawing Workshop
with Richard T Scott
Nov 17th, 9am-4pm, Northlight Art Center
Sharon, CT

$95, model fee included.
minimum of 5 students.

This course will be a one day intermediate portrait workshop, covering classical skills from the old masters to contemporary masters: materials, techniques, and philosophy of drawing.

Beginners welcome! Work in any media you feel comfortable!

Richard will walk you through the stages of composing and beginning a portrait, starting with compositional skills, drawing and proportion, light and form, and finally evaluation. There will be helpful information on how to analyze your work in order to improve both your skills and give yourself the tools to express your vision.

The focus of this course will be on drawing techniques, with the goal of utilizing observed phenomena in order to explore rhythm, emotion, and both the expression of the model and your expression. It will cover adaptive methods for utilizing the movement of the model, compositional changes due to your decision making, and enhancing both analytical and intuitive approaches to drawing.

Emphasis will be on balancing the detailed and accurate observation of light, form and anatomy - with composition and expression.

To register contact us at:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Among the Ruins

Hope in the Post-Industrial Autumn
Among the Ruins
Civilizations, like the cycle of life and death; grow, flourish, mature and decay. This is as true for every being as it is for entire cultures.

Among the Ruins is an unflinching meditation upon the plight of the nuclear family in a post-industrial world. Equally disturbing and emotively driven, these works seem to breath vision into the eloquent and sightless verbal wasteland of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

In this body of work, Miller reflects upon the ruins of a concrete empire, following the collapse of the machinery of State. Stunning in scope, his mechanized wilderness is populated by effigies who draw their only nourishment from their love of each other. The new hope embodied by their children is emphasized in a conceptual contraposto, silhouetted against the corpse of the urban jungle.

Somewhere over the Rainbow

Yet, as the darkest day of winter is also the beginning of the sun's return, these families are the first to begin rebuilding their society and sewing the seeds of bright and distant future.

In an era, entombed by the collapsed modern-industrial complex of the twentieth century, not unlike the collapse of Classical Europe after WWI, we can reflect upon what has passed, while envisioning the ground plowed before us, fertile and receptive to germinate a new way of life.

Read as a whole, this body of work tells a compelling narrative of renewal, rebirth, regeneration - in which the best natures of man, and the natural world might return to harmony and balance... but ultimately, the end of this story is left up to the viewer.

-by Richard T Scott

Among the Ruins    Nov 10th, 2012     Copro Gallery
Bergamot Arts Complex, 2525 Michigan Ave T5, Santa Monica

End of the Road
The Lookout

The Lotus Eater

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Odd Nerdrum: Art Political Prisoner

Image courtesy of Matthew D. Innis
Sign the Petition to Free Odd Nerdrum!

It is with a heavy heart that I tell you of the escalating persecution of my dear friend and mentor.
A man who has demonstrated his honor, has freely given his knowledge to thousands of students, has been a champion for human empathy and integrity, who generously gave my wife and I a chance to begin our lives anew when we lost everything in the great recession... this man is the first political prisoner in Europe since World War II. To some, this statement may be not be surprising, to others it may seem shocking. It may at first seem an exaggeration, but I ask you only to honestly consider the facts of the case and come to your own conclusion.

Odd Nerdrum has been given an increased sentence of two years ten months by the Norwegian Appeals court concerning allegations of gross tax fraud.
He will not be allowed to paint in prison, as this is considered a "commercial activity". I can only conclude that the reason for his increased sentence is punitive - a retaliation for Nerdrum appealing the verdict of the district court back in August 2011.

Let me be clear: Nerdrum paid his taxes many years before the court case. This was acknowledged by the court and verified by the court transcript. The charge against him is that he intentionally hid money in a U.S. bank account for which the court provided no evidence, and an Austrian bank box. This claim is absolutely ridiculous! What kind of idiot would hide money in plain sight? Nerdrum, by his own statement, is not mathematically inclined, but he is certainly no idiot. Why wouldn't he hide money in a Swiss bank account, or the Cayman Islands where no one would find it? This is one glaring example of the kind of faulty logic used by the court. (This can be verified by reading the court transcript in either Norwegian or English available on

It's profoundly important to point out that Nerdrum's paintings are not merely a commercial activity, they are an exercise in freedom of speech. Nerdrum has been known for challenging the status quo for decades with his paintings and statements; the very nature of his work contradicts the dominant Norwegian art world (largely funded by the Norwegian Government), and even the "social democratic" policies of the ruling Norwegian Labor party (see faceless society video below). He stands out as an individual, questions authority, has been censored on television for directly criticizing the Labor Party, who also dominates the Norwegian Judicial system. As such, the court's attempt to silence him amounts to nothing less than the repression of political speech.

What appears at first to be a run of the mill tax evasion, soon reveals itself to the inquisitive to be nothing less than political persecution and a violation of human rights. The Norwegian Appeals court has taken it upon themselves to stifle the freedom of speech. Moreover, they have convicted a man based upon conjecture, inflated numbers, and faulty logic, and without concrete evidence.

Innocence until proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, is a basic premise for any just court.

And both the Norwegian district and the appeals courts have violated this premise.

It may or may not surprise you that the Norwegian judicial system has been convicted multiple times by the European Court of Human Rights for violating the principle of "Innocent until proven guilty".

It also seems necessary, in order to truly understand the atmosphere, to mention the biases against Nerdrum in the media. While Norway was still reeling from the July 22, 2011 domestic terrorist attack, a major Norwegian newspaper ran a story about finding explosives on farms. They used an image of Nerdrum's farm as an example. When the Nerdrum family complained, they said "oops, we're sorry". But I find it incredibly hard to believe this was a mistake Nerdrum is a celebrity in Norway - one doesn't accidentally insinuate that Graceland is a den for terrorists! This is only one example of the subliminal suggestions rampant in the Norwegian press. (see

The Nerdrum Affair has been a confusing case for many people. Different sources seem to give different numbers: even the courts can't seem to agree with the IRS or each other. So, I've taken it upon myself to collect and condense what I view to be the pertinent information all in one place. I've given you my opinion, but ultimately, you'll have to come to your own conclusion.

The Huffington Post: An Update and Commentary on Odd Nerdrum's Harsh Prison Sentence

CNN ireport: Artist Denied the Right to Paint

An Odd Fact or Two

(From the article below: Forum Gallery, as the exclusive gallery for Nerdrum worldwide, has sold paintings worth of $1,486,000. This number has been confirmed by American Tax Authorities, says Nerdrum's defence lawyer Berg. This is way below the $2,349,000 Odd has been sentenced for evading).

Here you can find a copy of the verdict from the district court as well as much more information: 

My original post from last August:
Odd Nerdrum Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

Odd Nerdrum Censored on Television:

A little background on Norwegian Politics.

Sign the Petition to Free Odd Nerdrum!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Interview with Lee Johnson

Who did you study with?

Betty Lou Totten in Florida, Leo Neufeld in New Mexico, and Charles Cecil in Florence.

Tell us about your training? What is the process in an atelier or teaching studio as opposed to a university art education?

The atelier training is pretty much nuts and bolts, just about how you build an image and develop craft. We worked 6 to 8 hours a day drawing from the cast and the model. This training typically takes 3 to 4 years of solid study. In atelier training there is no vaporing about complex theories, or anything that isn’t germane to the painting process. By contrast, university art education emphasizes that it’s more important how you talk about art than how you make it, trying to teach artists to think like art critics, instead of art makers.

What is the chief benefit of such training?
It keeps you very image-focused, establishing the primacy of the visual over the conceptual. It also lets you get really deep into your own work, to explore how far you can take a painting. And, if you’re lucky, you get to work with some really accomplished people.

Besides your teachers, what painters have influenced your work?

There’s the big names, Velazquez, Sargent, Tiepolo, Goya, Ribera, as well as illustrators like Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, Kliban, Gorey, and John R. Neill.

What is your philosophy of painting?

I don’t know that I have one, not in so many words. I’m a really visual person, so I suppose that a strong visual sense combined with a good imagination and a sense of humor is what I rely on.

How many hours a week do you paint?

Probably no painter ever thinks he works enough. I paint as often as I can, but it really varies depending on what I’m working on. I can bang away at a canvas for hours and hours a day and not get much accomplished, and sometimes I can just work for thirty minutes and finish a painting.

Would you describe your working methods?

I start with small drawings from my imagination, fiddle with them a bit, then get models in to work out the poses and do more complete drawings from life. At this stage I also do tone and color studies for the final composition on wax paper. This gives me the materials to begin work on what will be the final painting. I rough in the composition, bring the models back, and start to build the painting. From there it can be fast or slow depending on the painting, but in general I’m a really slow painter. My ideas tend to start very fast, but take a long time to develop, and I will often scrape out large parts of paintings if they are not working, and start again, much to the frustration of my models. I also spend a lot of time just looking, and not painting, in order to understand the direction a painting needs develop.

What are your views on the application of paint?

Whatever works. I think a lot of painters indulge in a bit too much cork-sniffing about paint handling and painting mediums, etc. The solution to getting good paint quality is often to just to use enough paint.

Do you paint outdoors often?

Not as often as I’d like. I go through phases where I’m doing a lot of plein air stuff, and then periods when that is not at all what I’m into. Painting outdoors is really important, though; it’s like a vitamin for your color use.

What are your favorite subjects and materials?

Figures, figures, figures. I’m only really interested in images with figures in them, so I rely heavily on live models. As far as media, pencil and charcoal for drawing, and oil for painting.

What is the role of talent in painting?

Not really sure about that. I’ve known “talented” and “not-so-talented” people, and while raw ability can give you a boost in the beginning, it really comes down to a willingness to work, just like anything else. I’ve also seen plenty of “talented” painters who crank out boring, awful paintings.

What is the role of style in painting?

Style is really something you can’t help having, sort of like a voice. Sure, you can deliberately choose a style I suppose, but that may only be an affectation if it isn’t something that grows naturally out of what you love. Those types of labels can be really limiting too, and when people pigeon-hole an artist’s style, they tend not to look as much, since they’ve already got a term defining how they should think about that artist.

When is a painting finished?

I like to leave some things unresolved; it gives the viewer something to do. Betty Lou used to say, “Don’t tell the world everything you know.” If you “finish” every little thing, the painting can become a boring iteration of fussy details.

Do you have any other creative outlets?

I have an old guitar I like to mess around with, and will plug in and crank up the amp in my studio when I need a break from painting. This is also when I do a lot of staring at the paintings.

What are your favorite types of art?

Again, figurative work is my favorite, and I will gravitate to it no matter the medium.

What are the most important qualities for an aspiring painter?

I don’t know about qualities, but I tell people who want to learn to paint to find a painter who’s work they admire and try to study with him, or with the guy who taught him. And it’s an old adage, but drawing really is the cornerstone of painting, something you can’t do enough of. You can also learn an amazing amount by copying paintings, ideally from the real thing, or from reproductions.

Lee will have an exhibition at EMPAC Aprill 21, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Odd Nerdrum Granted Appeal

In a dramatic turn of events, the internationally renowned painter Odd Nerdrum has been granted a new trial in the Norwegian appeals court. His two year prison sentence has been overturned amid growing allegations of faulty evidence and infractions of the legal process during the trial.

Because his prison sentence was less than six years, the probability of being granted an appeal in Norway is incredibly low. Thus, the choice to overturn the sentence requires serious concerns about the district court's verdict. The appeals court stated that it specifically wanted to review questions over a sum of $300,000 taxed in Iceland in 2003, as well as to re-consider Nerdrum's explanation that this fiasco began due to some 40 paintings that had melted due to experimental techniques.

The date of the new trial has not yet been set.

To all those who have supported Odd Nerdrum during this trying time, thank you! Our efforts have been successful! Thank you to Michael Gormley and Allison Mallafronte for publishing The Nerdrum Affair in American Artist Magazine! I truly believe you have played an influential role in securing a fair trial for Odd Nerdrum. Thank you to Brandon Kralik, Alexey Steele, and Otto Rapp for your great efforts to make this case visible. And last, but not least, thank you Bork and Ode Nerdrum for doing such a great job with!