ABOUT STU'S PROCESS
“The process of painting an image can take me a year or more which allows
me to get the kinks out, and helps the finished painting to appear flawless.”
- Stewart Moskowitz
Stu Moskowitz, speaking about his process the last decade of his career:
"I grew up in a house filled with wooden animals that were carved by my dad. He was a house painter by trade, but at night and on weekends he would
make wood sculptures, which he painted,and put into boxes with backgrounds to look like dioramas at the natural history museum.
In painting, I've always strived to capture this three-dimensional feeling. Years ago I painted with a brush; I would lay my paintings on the floor and layer thin washes of acrylic paint, one wash after another, to achieve that rounded 3-D effect. One day I went to visit an artist friend who had just purchased an airbrush, he asked if I wanted to try it. I picked it up and in one second I could surpass half an hour or more of my existing technique. I hurried out to buy one for myself. I've never looked back.
Before I even start the final canvas I will work on a concept for weeks, even months, until I feel I've gotten the drawing and coloration correct. This will sometimes entail hundreds of studies on paper or canvas with a paint brush and some lines from my airbrush. I like to use as much reference material as possible when working on a painting. Porno magazines are a good source for facial expressions, and I also use live models. I'll work with a face until I can create the emotion I'm looking for. I transfer the final drawing to the canvas by tracing it on a large light box, or for very large canvases I use an opaque projector.
My new work has moved away from the overly 3-D effect and into a more flat graphic look influenced by Patrick Nagel, whose portraits of women became popular in the 1980s. Once I start a painting it becomes a different process from the creating and drawing stages, with new and different problems to be solved. Many times I'll start a canvas believing I've satisfied all my creative problems in the drawing stage – only to find when I'm half way through the painting that it isn't working, and I have to start a new canvas.
I've been buying my acrylic paint from Nova Color for over 30 years. It's a small paint manufacturer located in Culver City. I think it's the best. I use a Pasche #5 air brush and paint on primed cotton duck canvas. I use a frisket material and cut my patterns out on the canvas with a #11 Xacto knife. This is a delicate operation and sometimes the canvas does get nicked. Most artists that airbrush use illustration board or some hard material, I use canvas because canvas breathes for me."
Stewart Moskowitz, February 10, 2010