` S Richard Shook-Fine Art Studio
S. Richard Shook Fine Art Studio
fees-price list     portfolio     contact     blog/calendar     bio


May 16, 2017

Figure Drawing Workshop   6-8pm

Octagon Center for the Arts

Working from a model, students will learn the basics of figure drawing, including gesture and shading. This is a great opportunity for all skill levels to work and practice their skills at any one or all of the scheduled workshop dates. Students should bring drawing paper, charcoal, and other materials they wish to use. The Octagon will provide some paper, drawing boards, some drawing pencils, oil pastels, colored pencils, easels.


Dec 31, 1969

I'm Back! Maybe...

In January my website wasn’t accessible because of a DDoS attack on my hosting provider’s servers that lasted a couple of weeks. I finally moved to a new hosting provider and decided that I needed to give my website an overhaul. I’m still working on that. A lot of it is backend stuff on things behind the scenes, but I’m getting there.

My apologies to anyone who tried to reach my work online through my website and wasn’t able to do so.

Dec 31, 1969

What You Do

Artists are often encouraged to write about themselves and their work. I admit that I hate doing that and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. But I try because I know I need to help my audience understand my motivations and intentions. After all, I have my own way of doing things and I make my own choices even if I don’t, of all people, fully understand those choices.

Dec 31, 1969

Motivations and Intentions

People are endlessly interesting, and some go so far as to be fascinating. Whether I can capture that quality varies considerably. A portrait, for example, requires a willing and interested participant to be the subject. I’ve experienced occasions when a commission is made, but the subject won’t make themselves available and no amount of pestering will get them ready for a sitting (even though a sitting takes less than half an hour since I use that time to take reference photos).

Quality is also related to the balance between time for experimentation and practical application of artistry. Time and skill. Both are limited resources even though with time and experience, efficiencies are discovered and skills gradually increase. That leads to the question of audience expectations that tend to drive creative efforts toward a more narrow and profitable direction. Aka, “what do people buy?”

That’s my thought process. I look for subjects that will be interesting and hopefully fascinating and then I make time available to explore and create a product (that’s a nasty word) that someone would like to own.

What I hope to do all the time, is to work in the direction of a positive and virtuous cycle in which I enjoy the work I do, and I have an audience that enjoys the work that I do. All the while, knowing that once an artist reaches that virtuous cycle, they are doomed to eventual boredom if they don’t take risks toward innovation, even though I know there are those artists who become comfortable with what they’re doing. Because I know about survival, I have no judgment to make. Eating is good. Health care is good. Shelter is good. Besides, the drive for survival is one of the potential facets of what makes people fascinating.

In my experience, women and girls are my best subjects. Not merely because of gender, though that’s a factor, but because women and girls change their appearance a lot. They put their hair up, they put their hair down. They wear a great variety of clothing and colors. Their expressions are fluid. Their bodies are always changing. While a man can certainly be a good subject, generally women have a very strong sense of self, associated with an awareness of being observed, for good or ill. As a man, the power of women is 'mystery'. I suppose that men can also be mysterious, but on most days I’m an introvert and don’t care. :--) (That’s supposed to be funny.)

I reserve the right to remove any blog post that could be used against me.

Dec 31, 1969

Dance and Ballet

Im always looking ahead two or three paintings. Right now Ive got a lot of material Im referencing and that Im able to go back to mine for inspiration. Much of that comes from my dear friends, the Watts family: Anna, Emily, Lindsey, and Julianna, and another portion more recently were captured with Ballet Des Moines. So I spend a lot of time sorting through these images that include both video and still shots.

If you catch me at the right time then youll see me just sitting here looking at each image and opening my mind to the possibilities. Because while dance and ballet already have their inherent artistry Im looking for that part of my own artistry to reach for something more within my own discipline. For example, Ive noticed that while dancers are out there performing and moving through space, visually owning the space around them and holding the audiences attention, they are also at those times very focused on an internal sense of professionalism and supreme confidence in what they are doing with their bodies. That kind of duality is very interesting to me and enjoyable to explore.

Since Im an oil painter, this all comes back to the possibilities of the medium and a bit of discipline, and innovative optimism. Ive got this process that begins with a blank white canvas upon which paint must be placed from lean to fat. I prefer to work on a scale that is a bit larger, but Im mostly concerned about what my subject needs.whether its a larger scale or a smaller one. Its not the best from a marketing and distributing point of view, but its the way I need to work in order to feel like Ive got a better chance of achieving a successful outcome. And in the outcome, there are no guarantees. Just possibilities. And to that Ill admit to burning the results that dont measure up, and then, trying again.

More later..