I jumped at the chance to take a 13 week painting workshop with Boston’s one and only George Nick this winter and am now halfway through the program.
Nick, who turns 90 next year, spent many years teaching painting at Mass Art and taught my painting teachers. He studied with Edwin Dickinson. It was time to spend some time with the legend and curmudgeon. The title of the course is 13 Problems for Realist Painting and we’re mid-way through the classes.
George is very clear; we are doing assignments (not paintings) with criteria that he describes as impossible. He specifies format, colors, genre, etc and all work is painted from direct observation. One goal of each assignment is to make a convincingly solid object out of paint on a 2 dimensional plane – when using 2 or 4 colors – no more than 6 values – and no brushes, only a knife. It’s squint, simplify and find the right color-tone even when it’s the “wrong” color.
A humbling, challenging experience . . . but I like the boots.