Wednesday, November 30, 2011


It’s the end of  my the first year with this site and I wanted to let you know what a very good connection it’s been for me. Your comments and personal emails have been thoughtful and useful. Painters, writers and everyone else doing the real work in art know how difficult it can be to just keep going, to stay committed in spite of the ups and downs of  the enterprise. I hope you have enjoyed the ideas & images presented here. I certainly have enjoyed sharing them with you. The entries will continue in the new year, and  for as long as I can manage to find something worthwhile to send to you.  If there’s anything you want to see more of in future postings, please let me know. I’m more than willing to address any thing connected to drawing and painting that may  be of interest to you. If you know of anyone else who might be interested in the site, please send me their contact information or  pass along a link to them.

Tom Maderos


The first two images are studies for one of the figure paintings in a series I’m currently at work on. The rest are smaller sketchbook drawings. I hope to have one or more of the “Artist & Model” paintings ready for display in January.

"Artist & Model -Black & White" oil & chalk on canvas, 36"x36"

"Artist & Model -Study "  (acrylic on paper)

"In Thought"
"Man On A Bench"

Monday, October 31, 2011

"At The Abbey"

Abbey Figures1
Abbey Figures 2
Abbey  Figures 3

Abbey Figures 4

Abbey Figures 5

"At The Abbey" oil on canvas 30"x 30"

 This coffeehouse painting was constructed in the studio, using fragments from on-the spot  drawings to help guide the final composition. It satisfied a desire to work with multiple figures to form a simple narrative.  I also wanted to contrast the sense of public space with the portable privacy of laptop users. I’ve included several drawings, only a few of which are directly related to the finished painting, though all of them were done in the same setting.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


“Time is not love’s bedchamber.”—Catullus

These days, whatever I think I know about painting has to be destroyed and rebuilt before I can complete anything.  The process feels simultaneously centrifugal and centripetal. It’s exhausting. It takes time --and then time bends back on itself.

"The Yellow Bed " 1

Version 1  of “The Yellow Bed” was the very rough framework I started with two years ago and left until early August of this year. Version 3 kept something of the original pose, but it also introduced the crucial elements of the window and bed. It had the most convincing and conventional composition, it was easy to read, but it felt slack and the color lacked any real commitment. (Apologies for the poor quality of a few of these images).

Version 3   

Version 4 veered off in several directions. The color was strengthened, but the approach to the figure became confusing. Though the head gained detail and definition, the rest of the figure was invaded by cubist hieroglyphics, which failed to unify the painting structurally or emotionally. Before I got to Version 9, I’d made even more false starts.

Version 4

There can be a point when a painting settles into itself; it isn’t done, but the basic character is set.  After that, whatever might be added or taken away has to be considered within the painting’s own laws of physics. Decisions might not be easier, but choices can be clear. Version 9 was just such a set-point in the process.

Version 9

Here's the final painting, another 36”  x 36” canvas. I see that the palette is changing, and there are other things that I probably couldn’t see even if they were pointed out to me. The room and the perspective are not naturalistic, nor were they intended to be. ( If I'd wanted to go that route, I would have continued along the lines suggested by Version 3). Instead, there's  tension between the flat geometry of  the room and the modeling of the figure. This, I hope, gives the painting its energy.

"The Yellow Bed" (Final Version)

I  still want to go farther with the figure: out into the landscape, and into that narrative realm where more than one figure can find its place.


Eduardo Izquierdo’s Paintings at “Nourish”—Highly Recommended!

This month you have the opportunity to see the fine work of artist Eduardo Izquierdo, whose figure and landscape paintings are now showing at “Nourish,” 130 Walnut Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. As you can tell from this image, these are paintings of great grace and strength. Do not miss this show!

"Green Wall - Maria" by Eduardo Izquierdo

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Men, Women & Children--Recent Drawings

"Man In A Polka-Dot Shirt"
"Blunt Man"

In drawing, it seems to me that skill and clumsiness are both useful tools. Skill can complete the drawing, but it is possible for the finished product to retain a little too much finish. Some skill is definitely necessary, but dazzling skill can blind the artist as well as the viewer. Masters like Rembrandt and the Asian brush artists seemed to work at a pace that outstrips our digital age, yet their drawings move well beyond skill, to an image of the heart and mind in motion. Clumsiness can, it's true, be a towering barrier; but it can also be a judicious pause, the silence around sound essential to music and just as useful in the visual arts. Hopefully, these thoughts are woven into the drawings I include here, not as an excuse for their shortcomings (which are certainly clear enough), but as a personal form of light.

"Woman In

"The Angled Back"
"Thin Girl"
"Girl In A Fake-Fur Vest"

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Evolution Of "Figure & Field"

Figure & Field
Except for regular days of drawing, I spent July re-working two paintings that I’d started and set aside several years ago. One is still unfinished, the other is the painting I’d like to talk about here, “Figure & Field.”

 At 36” x 36”, it isn’t an especially large canvas, but it is bit bigger than ones I’ve worked on in the past. Painters know that an exact square isn’t the easiest  shape to use. A lot of people prefer working just off the square, at 48”x 42 ”,  for example. Coming up with a non-static composition can be a challenge in a square format—it certainly was for me.

Version 1
Version 1 was basically a recording of the original pose with the model. All other versions were developed in the studio, though I did make additional drawings from the model to re-think the image. In version 1, you can see me struggling to use color--variation to come to terms with form. This is NOT something I recommend, but it’s often been a fall-back position for me. A more solid and confident structuring of the initial image would have saved a lot of time and eliminated a lot of  problems. Yet these same seemingly avoidable problems became essential entry points to the painting.

Version 3

 Versions 3 & 5 shifted the color and pose. The painting became more naturalistic and stiffer at the same time. There were also other changes starting to take hold: the overall tone was growing quieter and a rhythm was developing between areas of flatness and deeper space.

Version 5

Version 7
Version 7 took a wide U-turn, exaggerating form through contour and color abstraction. It was a necessary  advance, but a jarring one.  It displaced the intricate balance between observation and invention, a balance I had to spend many days recalibrating. Once again, false moves were just as useful as positive steps; they both led me to the completed work.

 There are at least two fields in the final painting, the one the figure looks toward and the field of her back. (This last is the likeliest focal point for the viewer).  As in many figure paintings, there are also two viewers, one inside and one outside the frame. Though they’re involved in separate acts, they remain connected, nonetheless. They share the same occupation: the making sense of a world.

“Figure & Field” has its own life now and I’m moving  on to other paintings. Still, this one remains important to me. It’s taught me a little more about keeping my head through the roller coaster of process, the finding, losing and regaining of insight.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

From "Figures & Portraits" Exhibition

Woman In A Red Skirt
Portrait of A.G. #4
Figure & Sea-View
Leaflin In Green
Melinda, Stretching
Amanda, Seated, #2


 “Figures & Portraits”

This show is a mix of old and new work, often within a single canvas. Some pieces have been revised; some were recently begun and completed; others have been important to me for quite a while now, and they stand for themselves as they always have.

Most of the models involved are people I’ve worked with for a number of years, people I’ve gotten to know  as people and not as images. They’ve helped lead me through the maze of introspection that I find is a necessary barrier.  For me,  paintings are something carved out of time and distance; and two of the tools I use to make them are stillness and connection.

Figures & Portraits—paintings by Tom Maderos: July 1—August 31, 2011: Gabriella CafĂ©: 910 Cedar Street: Santa Cruz, CA 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Leaflin--Striped Pillow
D Pose 2
Lili/ Tannery (1)
At Main Beach (7)
D Pose (1)
Leaflin Leans Forward

Several people have asked for more images in black and white. These are all culled from formal and informal drawing sessions over the last month or two.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


                L.  At  Eduardo's (1)
L.  At  Eduardo's (2)
L.  At  Eduardo's (3)
 The Yellow Dress
Study for "At The Tannery"

I have been working regularly with my friend Leaflin for the last few years. Besides being a model, artist and yoga teacher, she's a pretty good mind-reader. Even when I'm not sure of what I want to paint, she is able to intuit the right pose from a few vague suggestions.

Her strength, intelligence and focus help to guide my painting process.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Beach Players (2nd Set)

Beach Players (A)6

Beach Players (A)9
Beach Players (A)10
Beach Players (A)13

Beach Players (A)15
"The Beach Players" have been my central focus for the last few years. The (A) series is smaller format work, which I do from life at Main Beach in Santa Cruz. This is the second set of paintings from that series that I've posted here. (B) series paintings are larger scale, usually painted from sketches or drawings done outdoors. And there is even a (C) series, which are paintings in  black and white.

Among other things, May means a return to the beach.
Beach Players (A)6