Bob Durham

June 2010

Creating a Monster: Putting Life in a Still-Life

Course Description
In this course we’ll consider the historical conventions of still life painting and offer a few contemporary alternatives. Two large, involved still lifes will be set up over the week of the course. Participants will choose one or both to work on during the week. Composition, paint-handling techniques, and color strategies will be explained and explored as each participant brings his or her painting(s) to completion.

Supply List
2 or 3 pre-stretched and primed canvases (dimensions variable but in the 20 to 30 inch range)
Range of oil colors including these particular colors:

  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Cadmium Red Medium or Dark
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Burnt Umber
  • Viridian

Range of bristle brushes - mainly filberts and flats - and one-two small synthetic rounds for details
Pallet - approximately 16" x 14", either glass with taped edges or wood. If using a glass pallet, you’ll need a paint scraper with disposable blades (scraper is about the size of a small mobile phone and is available at a hardware store)
Pallet knife
Your preferred painting medium
ODORLESS mineral spirits or turpenoid
Good sized jar with top or a coffee can with top for mineral spirits
RAGS and more RAGS
Ivory soap or brush cleaner to use to wash your brushes

*Note: most of these materials are available for purchase at the Shakerag store.

Artist's Statement
Painting is a way to sort and represent many of my perceptions of the world. I like to imagine that my paintings exist as trading posts between the powerful countries of Imagination and Physical Reality, owing fealty to both but belonging to neither. My paintings are narrative in nature, and whether they serve to elucidate, disparage, or celebrate our human condition, I am not quite sure.

These are a few of the subjects that seem to keep insinuating themselves into my current work:

  • Physical presence. The fact that I and others exist floors me. It holds my awed and ongoing attention. My paintings are an homage and an offering to this astounding fact.
  • Desire. The energy that animates and puts in motion all the machinations of our individual stories. It is what moves the human plot. It also seems to be behind our need to communicate.
  • Human consciousness and individual perception. Its infinite jest. Its unfathomable nature.

Artist's Biography
Robert Durham (Vanderbilt University, B.A., University of Georgia, M.F.A.) credits his life-long love of literature as being the biggest influence on his development as a painter. His paintings employ quotidian imagery, humor, and a realist style to develop psychological narratives of people and inanimate objects.
Bob’s work has been published in Art of Tennessee and New American Paintings #34, as well as exhibited in numerous exhibitions and museums domestically and internationally. In 2002 he was asked to participate in True Colors, an exhibition of American artists’ response to 9/11 arranged by Meridian International Center in Washington, DC. With support from the State Department the show subsequently went on to venues across America, Europe, the Middle East, and Slovakia. He exhibits regularly with Cumberland Gallery, and his work is included in many public and private collections.
Bob lives and works in Nashville, TN, where he paints full-time and teaches intermittently. He currently teaches drawing, painting, and 2D design at MTSU, Murfreesboro, TN.

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