Charcoal making

Detail of Head study, charcoal on paper, 50cm x 70cm

An artist’s materials are an extension of him/her.  They are the bridge that link the first creative impulse to the final work of art.  Naturally, that is why artists can be very discerning about the supplies they use.  I have spent years researching art materials and creating my own in order to reproduce the effects that I see in the Old Masters and, more importantly, enrich my own work.

Charcoal is one of the oldest drawing mediums still commonly used today.  It is ideal for tonal drawing.  Produced by pyrolysis, it is created by heating up wood in the absence of oxygen.

I make my own with a steel box that I designed especially for the purpose.  After cutting select wood into a stick form, the pieces are placed in the box and closed.  An single opening on the top allows the gas to escape.  The box is heated up and eventually smoke comes out.  The white smoke is largely water vapor and other some other substances.  Eventually the smoke diminishes, stops and is replaced by a flame that is produced by different essences being expelled.  Once the flame dies out, the charcoal is ready!

My friend and artist Darren Rousar also wrote an article on making charcoal and it can be found here.

I also have taught an artisan in Southern, Italy my method and he is now creating a small quantities for a commercial market.  He uses reclaimed wood and selects the best pieces to for his production.  The result is very high quality charcoal with a minimum environmental impact.  If anyone is interested in trying some, please contact me.

Poets Artists Daniel Maidman November Instagram Picks

I am pleased to be included among Daniel Maidman’s Instagram Picks for November on Poets & Artists Magazine’s website.  A link to the collection can be found here.

My Teaching Atelier Opens this November

I am happy to announce that I will be opening a teaching atelier in my new studio in Florence, Italy.  A wide range of study options will be available to students of all levels.

Full time study is organized in a classical atelier environment emphasizing a personalized development made possible by a concentrated class size: maximum enrollment of 4.  An interdisciplinary approach is encouraged.  In addition to the standard curriculum, students will have opportunity to pursue artistic anatomy, composition, sculpture and printmaking.

Throughout the year, short courses, weekend classes and workshops will explore specific historic techniques such as: sight size oil portraiture, fresco painting, pastel painting and portrait sculpture.  Visiting internationally known figurative artists will be invited to teach workshops as well.

The space is quite special.  It is purpose built 19th Century historic studio constructed for the Florentine painter Michele Gordigiani.  His famous pupil, Giovanni Boldini also worked in the same space where students will complete their projects under natural north light.

For more information please visit my course page here.















Chronicles of a Future Foretold with the Reluctant Immigrant

The Reluctant Immigrant, oil on linen, 60cm x 80cm

The above painting will be participating in a group show that opens this Friday at the 33 Contemporary Gallery in the Zhou Art Center in Chicago.  The Chronicles of a Future Foretold is a Poets & Artists exhibition curated by Samuel Peralta.  The selection of work explores where figurative art intersects with prevalent themes found in science fiction.

For more information about the show the link is here.

To order a copy of the Poets & Artists publication the link is here.

Detail from the Reluctant Immigrant, oil on linen, 60cm x 80cm
Detail from the Reluctant Immigrant, oil on linen, 60cm x 80cm

Fresco Painting Courses in Florence


Self Portrait of Giovanni di San Giovanni, fresco painting on support, Uffizi Gallery, Florence.


I will be organizing ongoing fresco painting courses and private lessons in Florence, Italy.  Students will learn about one of the most durable mediums for painting: fresco.  The full process will be explored including: the preparation of the support, colors and cartoon. Taking advantage of the unique abundance of fresco painting in Florence, site visits to various chapels, churches and museums will enlighten the student to the aesthetic possibilities offered by this wonderful medium.

Please email me for more information or fill out the contact form below:


Work Available at Michael LaConte Gallery

Three Goddesses, oil on linen, 40cm x 60cm

I have a variety of works available at the Michael LaConte Gallery via 1st Dibs.  There are drawings, paintings and sculptures.  Please follow the link here to see more.  Both above and below are a selection of the pieces.

Boreas, oil on linen, 70cm x 110cm
Lisanthus and Holly, oil on linen, 40cm x 60cm


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