Technical Insights from “Not Far from Home” #9

This is the ninth installment from the series of posts that will describe my thoughts and technical insights from selected works included in our newly released book, “Not Far from Home”….Enjoy!
Working with models…
One of the peripheral joys of working from life for me, aside from the ability to witness the breathtaking light first hand as it descends on the model, is the privilege of enjoying the company of another human throughout the course of the day.
Part of that privilege has been the process of working with the same model over the course of many years, recording their lives from children into adulthood. Such is the case with several people from our community. The following photos show one such daughter of a dear friend who first sat for me at age nine and still poses for me today, years later.


There is a comfort and ease that works its way into the paintings that would not be present if the nervousness of the first sitting were always obvious on the models face. Nothing can be faked. I have tried to paint a relaxed mood that was not actually present on the models face many times only to wipe it out time after time. What I see is what will show in the end. While working with a familiar friend, I also find it somewhat of a relief not to have to make excuses for all of the idiosyncratic maneuvers I do as I prepare for the days work, whether it be the pacing, circling, sighing, designing and redesigning the set, or to once again answer the question, “Why are you squinting so much”?
Another bonus I have noticed in working with the same person repeatedly is the desire to avoid redundancy in the poses. As I am working with the same person, I am forced to come up with new concepts, whether it is in design, lighting or costume. During my studies of the masters, I often noticed the repetition of the same models as well.  John Waterhouse, John Singer Sargent, Carl Von Marr, Abbott Thayer,and of course Wyeth’s Helga to name a few.

This last photo is one of the latest paintings I have done of the same gal, almost 10 years later.  As you can see, she still loves cats!  As I scanned the pages of “Not Far from Home”, I noticed that there were 16 images of her…see if you can find them all!

book cover new web

For more info on “Not Far from Home”, click book.  Thanks!

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3 responses to “Technical Insights from “Not Far from Home” #9

  • chaitanya sravanthi

    searching through the vastness of numerous sources
    remembering that I loved the sights
    and music shimmering through the canvas
    I cannot describe the number of courses
    that I have taken to be, Not far from home

    Daniel, I have seen your website some five years back, then could not get back due to various reasons,and however I tried I could not recall the name of the website (i.e., yours) and lately I couldn’t help but remember the paintings that touched me so! I am a musician and your paintings gave me solace to sing, and am a writer, they gave me inspiration from the recesses of my mind. After what felt like a million mind numbing searches I find your painting by chance, it was a new one that I didn’t see , but I knew right away that it’s yours. thanks for the wonderful gift of being you. Looking forward to more of this.

  • Tom Szewc

    Dan, it is terrific reading your insights. You have so simply organized all the complexities of seeing into a workable enterprise. And it is tested out in the truth of experience and not hearsay.
    Thanks for the post.
    Have always enjoyed your work.

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