Archive for May, 2012

Artists working with the face and figure….Michael Bergt….

One of my favorite artists just for his accomplishments and the road he took to get there. He is a mid-career level artist and he works with many mediums such as colored pencil, graphite, watercolor, egg tempera, gold leaf, silver leaf, gouache, acrylics, oils  and even sculpture.  He seems to work on paper 50% of his work time and panel 50% of his work time.

I first became aware of the artist around 5 years ago as he spoke during an Art Salon Show held in Denver. I enjoyed his resume where listed under education is said “life” A truly self taught artist who is not only a great draughtsman but a great business person as well.

The artist was born in Deshler, Nebraska in 1956.

I enjoy his use of tempera and use of line in his work. Its fun to imagine even the oil paintings as etchings, large figures from a distance but up close even a leg can have 100 of different strokes showing the curve and feel of the limbs.

The artist was elected Professional Sculptor Member of the National Sculpture Society in 2005.

Has been featured in many national art publications such as American Art Collector and American Artist magazines.

The artist paints fantastic hands as well. The fingers have a highly tapered quality to them, both the male and female hands. On some works he paints imaginary creatures with 6 or 8 arms, all are painted as if they are real, using a small brush and making many strokes.

on line and land based gallery: Jane Sauer Gallery in Sante Fe, New Mexico.

John Pence Gallery in San Francisco, California. .

A piece done by the artist was featured in a television show on the Travel Channel. Samantha Brown, my favorite Travel Channel personality, went to Sante Fe and visited an art gallery showing his work had a piece listed for $25,ooo.

Here is a great link showing some of Bergt’s sculpture work. The figures are very animated and full of life. My favorite figure is an overweight man doing yoga, he is balancing himself despite being heavy and not looking athletic, indeed the yogi was very flexible. This gallery has not only sculpture work, but works featuring gold and silver leaf used to make exciting backgrounds.  The gold leaf works have an “Egyptian” feel to them.

low price range: Catalog of works around $30. Prints less than $200.

high price range: $25,000 for an egg tempera painting. Colored pencil originals $5,000

I hope you too can get inspired by an artist who accomplishes a career from some level of talent, but more importantly a great work ethic. The artist might be the most diverse out there for working with so many different mediums. I have seen some gold leaf works and colored pencil works in person. I haven’t seen many professional level colored pencil works, but I put his figure works in colored pencil as the best in the business.

Another artist I have profiled that is adept at colored pencil is the photo realist Don Eddy.

This gallery of his includes many colored pencil drawings.

I hope you are inspired by this artist to always keep growing and learning more about your chosen mediums!




Artists working with the face and figure….Steve Hanks…..


This artist has gained worldwide fame for his wonderful paintings of women. The artist blends a variety of textures in his work such as skin, hair, and different fabrics and patterns in the sheets he places his characters in.

A lengthy piece showing some of the artist’s figure work.

The artist has a fantastic book out showing his art work titled “Moving On.”  The title had to do with the divorce he suffered thru when his wife left him. This was an interview done about the book by Canadian Television.

The artist was born in San Diego, California in 1949. The last two images from above were from where he has two books out. They are very nice collectors editions that go start between $100 – $300.

low price range: $5,000 original watercolor on board. Prints are available from $500 from –

high price range: $30,000 original watercolor on board.

As you can tell the artist is a fantastic painter of the female form. Wonderful skin tones with soft dappled light showing off the curves of figure. He first painted with watercolors on paper. Like myself he soon gave it up as he found painting was tough enough already to have to worry about the paper buckling. He then switched to aqua board.  A hardboard specially treated for working with watercolor.  Having used it myself I find it best for painting items that you might include 20 to 30 very light glazes. Maybe use a mixture of 5% paint and 95% water. The aquaboard is made by Ampersand and they have some wonderful finishes you can apply to your finished watercolor on board that will give it an oil painting quality and feel.

A great story for all artists, Steve Hanks was able to earn a great deal of money by drawing and selling posters of countries hottest rock and roll musicians. He was sixteen years old at the time and the family had moved from California to New Mexico.  Hanks didn’t react well to the move and spent much of his time alone, inside, and working on developing his artistic skills.

Attended college at the Academy of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California and the California College of Arts and Crafts. He received his bachelors degree from the latter school and it was here that he began to fall in love with the idea of portraying the female form.

The artist came to use watercolors after developing allergies to oil paints. Before finding watercolor and after his allergy discovery he worked as an etch-a-sketch artist, he even offered to be the official etch-a-sketch artist. The artist was featured on television and national magazines.

online and land based gallery:  E.S. Lawrence Gallery in Aspen, Colorado.

Try painting a figure on a quilt or piece of fabric with a pattern that you find interesting!

The artists own website-

Happy painting!




Artists working with the face and figure…. Kim Dong Yoo


The artist was born in1965 in Kongju, South Korea. He is known for painting what you might call “double portraits.” He nearly always paints celebrities but approaches them differently than most other artists by his unique style. For a painting of Marilyn Monroe, the artist might use a repeating image of John F. Kennedy as the two were romantically linked. He has even used an image of Marilyn Monroe as a basis for a wonderful image of the Chairman Mao. Its very interesting to think of what the connection is between the many faces that the viewer sees.

Below is a clip of two Madonna works of art.  For the smaller repeating image the entertainer Madonna was used. The larger image is that of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.

A short clip featuring a show by  the artist at Gallery Hasted Kraeutler.

The artist went to college in South Korea attending MokWon University in Daejeon, South Korea for both a bachelors and masters degree. He received his masters degree in 1990, in 2010 the artist went back to the college but this time as a full time art instructor.

Mediums used: Oil and acrylic paints.

surfaces used: Canvas,  the artist  paints rather large many of the smaller sides of his works are 50 to 60 inches, the larger sides are 80 to 90 inches.

low price range: $12,000 for an acrylic original painting.

high price range: $ 650,000 for a large Marilyn Monroe painting.

For 2011 and 2012 many auctions for his larger works are going between $40,000 to $60,000.

on line and land based galleries:  Hasted Kraeutler Gallery in the heart of Chelsa’s Art District.

I hope you take some time to check out the other artists at the gallery, mainly one Marc Dennis whom I have written about in the past. He loved bugs and started off painting floral and insect paintings, and his latest works at this gallery include many scenes with guns and a very interesting painting with fish.


The artist is very unique in his process and spends hundreds of hours painting the same image for the most part, and the end result is fantastic. Each miniature portrait is painted in fine detail, not egg tempera but a similar tight feel.  And many artists working in this style use a computer to construct and move the individual images around, this artist takes the time to hand paint EVERYTHING! Working in this style he is able to complete only three to five paintings per year.

If you like looking at smaller pictures that lead up to large pictures also check out David Mach and Vik Muniz who have similar styles.

Happy painting!



Artists working with the face and figure….John Kacere…

A short clip featuring some fantastic drawings and paintings of the artist.You also get to see some images of the artist at work on one of his paintings.  The size of many of his figure work is 50 or so by 40 or so inches, very much larger than life.

When I think of this artist I think of  the torso,  lingerie that is very translucent and wonderful organic lines of the female figure. The circle shape represented by the belly button, long “S” curved lines around the legs, even the exiting shape made by the underwear has a wonderful dimensionality to it the way it envelopes the figure. The artist was also great at painting the different textures of the human skin and the satin and sheer feel of the lingerie.

The artist was born in 1920 in Walker, Iowa.

Kacere attended college at the University of Iowa at Cedar Rapids earning both a bachelors degree and masters degree.

The artist died aged 79 in 1999 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

on line and land based gallery:    Louis K. Meisel Gallery in New York City.

The artist painted mainly with oils on linen. He worked in many mediums such as lithography, serigraph, drawings in graphite which are great studies in the female torso, and also pen and ink.

low price range: many prints available less than 1,000. Original oils around $10,000. Also has lithographs and pin up girl series calenders that go from $200 to $1000 for the most part.

high price range: Original oils for $50,000.

For his paintings he worked larger than life working around three times actual size.

Kacere started off as an abstract expressionist before working in with an idea of photo realism in the 1960s. For a short time he painted the entire female figure, but soon returned to painting the midsection wrapped in lingerie.

We can learn many ideas from the artist. First, composition. Rather than painting the whole entire figure, how about painting a section that has curves to play with. The triceps and biceps are very curvy, if you add some hands you will have many curves and straight lines.  Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this artist is his lingerie. They all have a wonderful sheen, very translucent and reflecting a great deal of light.  Another great subject mastered by the artist would be bedding. Wonderful ‘S” shaped lines envelope the soft round midsection. I find the works very intimate and thought provoking, I would consider the works “body portraits” Very emotional paintings without any eyes or mouths.

Always be thinking of fun compositions to try.

Happy painting!


Artists working with the face and figure…..Vik Muniz….

The artist was born in Brazil in 1951.

Some very clever pictures  produced by the artist.

A work titled Rebus done by the artist for the Museum of Modern Art.

The official trailer for the movie “Wasteland” made with Vik Muniz and directed by Lucy Walker in 2010. The name for these real life garbage pickers is “catadore”

A link to the official movie website ” Waste Land.”

Muniz now lives and works out of New York City, but was born in Sao Paulo,  Brazil. He began as an artist in the 1980s working with sculpture. In 1983 he made his move to New York City.

He has done very unique works that have won him critical acclaim around the world. In 1997 he did many works of art using chocolate as his medium. In 2006 he started working with the idea of making art from garbage.

In 2010 the artist worked on a movie project dealing with making art from a large dump ground located in Brazil.  Its the largest dump in the world and its located in Brazil. The artist works hand in hand with those who scavenge the dump daily for great finds.   =  A great website showing a variety of artwork and newspaper article on the artist.

I enjoy the artist for his ideas. He is always looking to try new mediums such as peanut butter, jelly, and chocolate. And having won an Oscar for his documentary  “Wasteland ”  makes him stand alone as a great visual artist who also was great in film. Though Warhol was a great visual artist, the only goal he never really achieved was to go to Hollywood and become a movie producer.

low price range: $14,000 for a pencil drawing. Various photographic prints from 5,000.

high price range: Elizabeth Taylor picture of diamonds. $212,500.  A print similar to this piece was to on auction earlier this month but I didn’t hear any results. The estimate was $60,000 to $100,000.

For today’s art homework I have a great idea.  Draw a landscape or floral design. Instead of using paint, find an old puzzle and use the individual pieces to color your work. Try gluing the pieces to give the work an added dimension.  One idea might be to work with a puzzle of Paris. Use the individual pieces of Paris and make a drawing of another famous city such as London or Venice.

The artist works very large on his collages, my favorite landscape work by Muniz is the Almond Blossoms done after Van Gogh. The many varieties of blue the artist found in magazines makes the piece a very memorable one.






Artists working with the face and figure….Zhiwei Tu

The artist and some large murals he has painted.

An interview featuring the artist and his paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts located in Beijing, China.

A website for the artist that educates people who appreciate his art. Not run by the artist directly-

I have seen this artist do some demonstrations and find his impressionistic technique very fluid and painterly. The demonstration I saw was during an Oil Painters of America show in Missoula, Montana.  It took place at the Dana Gallery and people were packed in very tight. In little more than an hour ZhiWei Tu had painted a wonderful portrait of a young man. The lighting on the subject was awesome.

This artist also has done a series on ballerina dancers.  He captures the brightness and shimmering quality of the dancer’s clothes with amazing accuracy. Very vibrant and colorful.  For the demo he used around 6 brushes which he washed 4 times during the painting season.

The artist has one of the most inspirational stories that we see in the art world. The artist was born to a  peasant Chinese family in 1951. Growing up in rural China his jobs were simple, herding sheep and gathering food.   One day a professional artist was to come and paint a portrait for the city of Chairman Mao. Well the first day he came ZhiWei Tu watched the man intensely, it was the first time he saw a painter in action.  After watching the professional ZhiWei thought to himself, I can do that! He then went and purchased paints for his own portrait of Mao.

The next day ZhiWei did a painting also of the Chairman Mao. The village voted and they chose to purchaser ZhiWei Tu’s portrait rather than the professionals. An art legend was born!

He went on to study in China at Guangzhou Institute of Fine Arts in Canton earning a degree in 1975.  He became a teacher but this opportunity fell through during the cultural revolution. He then took time and traveled throughout China visiting historical locations and painted several hundred works of art, perfecting his impressionistic technique.

In 1987 the artist enrolled at Drake University in Iowa. While at the university ZhiWei Tu studied both Art and English.

Served as President of Oil Painters of America.

Online and land based galleries: Southwest Art Gallery in Dallas, Texas.

Dana Gallery in Missoula, Montana.

low price range: $3,500 for a 11 by 14 inch work

high price range: $100,000 for a mural size work

Has books on that sell for $60 to $500.

I hope you are encouraged by the artist to try and paint a portrait in one sitting. Another interesting thing about watching the artist paint. In measuring the face many artists such as Daniel E. Greene split the face into thirds, and use the eyes to line up the face correctly. ZhiWei Tu started with the ear and did his measurements from this. He was painting a man using a three quarters view. He also painted from right to left, despite being right handed.

Happy painting!


Artists working with the face and figure…….Dan Sprick


The artist was born on May 1, 1953.

Currently lives in Glenwood Springs, Colorado with his wife and daughter.

A great interview from 2009 with Mr. Sprick. The interview was done by the Denver Art Museum.  A very interesting artist indeed.

A great interview by Michael Klein with Dan Sprick. It was put together by Arcadia Gallery out of New York City.

The artist attended many colleges and academies after high school.  Attended Mesa College in Grand Junction, Colorado. The National Academy of Design in New York City. Bachelors degree in the arts from University of Northern Colorado at Greeley.

Has works in many museums. Denver Art Museum, Evansville Indiana Museum of Arts and Science, the National Museum of American Art in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. the State of Colorado Capital Building, the Hunter Museum of Art.

A link to the artist’s personal website-

On line and land based galleries-   Arcadia Fine Arts in New York City.  Great selection of the many genres painted by the artist.  From florals to landscapes to people you can see how hard the artist had to work to master his medium.

Gallery 1261 in Downtown Denver. This is where I usually find the artist’s work in person. Occasionally you might even find a charcoal drawing done by the artist if you are lucky.

low price range- $5,000

high price range-  $75,000

Sprick grew up in Colorado and in the late 1990s he and his wife were driving thru California. They found a great spot that had their name on it so to speak, and the couple rented a house within an hours drive of Monterrey. This was the only time the artist took to painting in plein air. In his house in Glenwood Springs many of his paintings of the ocean inhabit the walls.

mediums used: oils, charcoal

surfaces used: paper, linen

The artist made some lessons that you can find on dvd or vhs from   The artist was much looser in his work from this time period of the 1980s and compared to his super tightly rendered modern works, its hard to believe the works came from the same artist. I recommend the full figure drawing lesson with charcoal, he starts and stops over two times before getting a start he is happy with.

Great painter of flowers as well.

The artist is giving a live demo in downtown Denver at Meiningers Art Supply on 400 Broadway. You must donate either $35 or $10 to the Denver Art Students League. These events usually fill 70 chairs in BAD weather in Denver, best to get there early and get a good seat.  You must have a ticket to attend the demo and tickets go on sale the 22nd, one week from tomorrow. You won’t be able to buy a ticket online, you must go before hand to a location and purchase the ticket in real time in person!

Although the artist doesn’t dig into the figure as much as he used to, the drawing level is very high and a great deal can be learned from studying any of his figures. Notice the detail given to the underlying anatomy of the many skeletons painted by the artist. The artist is very diverse in his subject matter, trying to make the ordinary extraordinary.

Keep creating!  Don’t even give up!





Artists working with the face and figure…..Bela Bacsi…

This artist does it all. He sculpts, paints, teaches, and is always an ardent student pushing himself in new and exciting direction.

A short video showing some of the artist’s portfolio.

Bela Bacsi was born in 1950 in Gyor, Hungary. When the artist was only six years his family moved to the United States from Hungary. The family settled in Ohio.

He now lives and works out of Santa Barbara, California.

His family was full of artists and he chose to become a stone sculptor.

online and land based galleries: Waterhouse Gallery in Santa Barbara, California.

American Legacy Fine Arts in Los Angeles, California.

He was pretty much self taught as an artist and in 1978, when the artist was 28 years old, he started work in Italy carving stone in very tight and realistic manner.

He later returned to the United States and worked for a leading company dealing with architecture and ornamental design.  Eventually he was able to open his own foundry and studio on Santa Barbara, California.

The artist started winning large art competitions and has won the California Art Club Gold Medal for Sculpture  prize 3 years now!

The artist has taught at Santa Barbara City College.

I enjoy the exaggeration techniques used by the artist. The female forms seem so very soft and sometime extreme exaggeration is shown to enhance a certain body part such as the breast or the butt.

No pricing was available when I wrote this article so if you would like a price, email a listed gallery.

Happy creating!


Artists working with the face and figure…Tom Wesselmann….


Below is a clip showing some of the artist’s fantastic cut out paintings made with steel and paint.

A great clip showing some works done by various contemporary artists of the 1960s. They were to paint their ideas about a centerfold. Wesselmann’s was different in the fact he focused on only one body part, the lips.

low price range: silkscreens around $5,000

high price range: original oil for $504,000

This artist was known for painting sleek female nudes on a variety of surfaces. Among my favorite are steel cut outs of the female figure.

mediums used: oils, steel cut outs (the artist called the works steel drawings), collage, graphite pencil, oil, acrylic, serigraph, cardboard

The artist was born in 1931 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati and Cooper Union  in New York City. When he first went to college he was a psychology major at Hiram College.  After studying art in college the artist found some success selling cartoons to 1000 Jokes and Truth magazines.

In 1957 the artist met his soon to be wife, Claire Selley, she became his friend, lover, model, friend, and for a short while became his wife. In 1958 he decided to abandon cartoons and concentrate on painting.

Was known for mixing the female form with food for a different and unique take on the pop art world.

The artist would specialize on a certain body part for much of his nude series. A sexy mouth, a firm buttock, or a red breast all painted with wonderful eye for color.

After the 1970s the artist worked on sculptures only attempting very few drawings and paintings.

The artist died in 2004, aged 73 years old in Manhattan, New York.

Has work in several museum collections such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Philadelphia Museum of Art. He is in nine collection as of the writing of this article.

The artist exerting the most influence on Wesselmann was Henri Matisse.

Founding member of the Judson Gallery in New York City. In some of his still life assemblage works he has a television set turned on in the piece. Very creative in his methods of assemblage.In the 1960s he started to paint wonderful seascapes in oils of his vacation hot spots.

The artist had many problems with his heart and died after a failed surgery to correct his heart.

I enjoy the artist’s work. For me its quite similar to Roy Lichtenstein, but more lifelike. Very clean feminine lines, the steel drawings are fantastic just for the fact no one produces a similar item in the art market now.

Artists working with the face and figure….Alyssa Monks…

My favorite contemporary artist working with the figure without a doubt.  When I think of her work I make an emotional connection to her subjects. She is always bringing new ideas to an old genre, wet bodies and wet glass.

A brief interview with a gallery owner discussing Alyssa Monks paintings.

A short montage of more of the artist’s portfolio of women and water.

From her website you can purchase giclee prints of her figure work for around $350 plus tax. The prints are small in size such as 9 by 12 inches, but have wonderful color.

medium used: oils on linen

The artist talking at DFN Gallery about a show.  As far as elegant looking artists she is on par with Raphaella Spence!

Of all the figures I have seen painted by the artist, my favorite are the closeup paintings of a female body pressed against glass. The technical skill level is very high and the viewer feels the “wetness” of the skin as well as the heat of the human body.  Another nice aspect of the paintings is the water droplets. A great painting lesson is to replicate droplets of water, be they on a beverage can or on the human.

The artist was born in Ridgewood, New Jersey in 1977. I find her portraits to be very emotional on many levels. Of all the portraits I have seen the most the two artists that inspire me the most would be Rembrandt and Monks.  In most of her pictures the artist is also the model. The same with Rembrandt and his many portraits. Both artists drew and painted their faces so many times its amazing to see the growth not only in anatomy and flesh tones, but also portraying expression. The artist enjoys using herself as a model because she knows her faults and is very comfortable about her body.

The artist was inspired by Jackson Pollack to start placing the figure pressed up against glass in the shower. She makes the viewer take one shot of realism with one shot of abstraction to produce a very lively picture. Please take notice of the American Art Collector that has a painting of hers on the cover. In reality the actual painting was 5 by 7 inches. Hard to believe something so powerful and intriguing could be a magazine cover and only 5 by 7 inches in real life!  A high technical level of ability mixed with new ideas such as glass, steam, and water make for an exciting future for this artist.

She has work available in a variety of sizes from 5 by 7 inches to works 40 by 60 inches. For prices I could only find an 11 by 16 oils on panel for $5,000. The artist seems to appear in the national art magazines such as American Art Collector and ArtNews.

A link for the artist’s own personal website.

mediums used:   oils on panel, linen

Next up I will write about all the interesting art auctions happening in the past few day. A Warhol painting of Elvis, A Rothko, the Scream by Edward Munch.  The last big auction house sold a little more than $380,000,000 worth of art breaking their estimates.


Happy painting!





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