Three Promised Detail Shots from last night’s Camargue Memory

oil paint is glorious, and only takes about 40 years to learn proficiency

Jonathan Herbert landscape oil painting of the Camargue

The Paint on Camargue Memory (detail 1)

Jonathan Herbert landscape oil painting

Camargue Memory (detail 2)

Jonathan Herbert landscape oil painting

Camargue Memory (detail 3)

More artwork by Jonathan Herbert at

The Painter’s Secret Geometry: The Tower

The Tower 3o18. 60 x 40 inches. Oil on Linen.

The Tower. 60 x 40 inches. Oil on Linen.

I believe my mentor, Jan Cox, turned me on to THE PAINTER’S SECRET GEOMETRY by Charles Bouleau in the 1970s when I showed him underlying geometries that I had found and drawn into my own work or if It is something I found after reading about the Golden Ratio. I don’t think it matters; what matters is what we can see under the surface.

While at the SMFA I did use underlying geometry as the entry into an artwork. What I have found is that working in that direction is not necessary and the analyses post facto show the same hidden beauties. I no longer start with such artifice. I pick up a piece of large will charcoal, make a rough sketch, and start painting.


The Tower ANGLES


The Tower ARCS



2013o_018_geometry.jpg The Tower with Geometric Substrate


Look for the Secret Geometry Posts again.


New York City: Population Immersion and Studio Isolation

A previous body of work really put me out there on the street.

New Yorkers are not known for their reticence; therefore, I found myself interacting often with people while painting. I believe that I live in the most fascinating city in America—I can’t imagine living anywhere else. New York makes me high: this New York where I find there to be a wealth of intelligent people, intelligent conversation, and utter wackos, all of whom offer interaction and entertainment in their own unique way. I have made quite a few oil paintings of that lovely, dirty, gritty New York City full of buttinskis.

If you think about it, being lonely and isolated is a choice—or perhaps a matter of temperament. It’s not in my nature to be solitary and reclusive. The insanity of isolation makes painting an odd career choice for a guy like me. Then again, if being an artist is a career choice, you are fucking doing it wrong . . .

Photograph of Jonathan Herbert studying a painting in progress.

I saw the play RED on Broadway. Incredibly it was real and important theater. This is how Rothko often worked.

Photograph by EMMANUEL CAYERE 2013

I knew you were curious because I said “the second Phoenix…”

From my sketchbook. A Moleskine A4. It’s rare that I don’t use 100% rag paper, but I roll with the times. The conservators will have to figure it out.

pencil drawing from Jonathan Herbert sketchbook of Phoenix Rising from Embers

It just popped out of me on the 2 train...

I’m going to work on the current DEAD SUZANNE oil painting now

Really. Even though I am totally out of Old Holland Cadmium Yellow Light.

I’m going to try it without putting all those paintings in the hall again. My good friend, the painter Eric Clinton Anderson, was supposed to help get them back up into the storage loft today. But he got too busy. Tomorrow.


This is where I decided to stand

I won’t try it myself ever since I fell off the top step of the six foot ladder – you know, the one that says DON’T STAND HERE – and literally almost killed myself. I’m getting okay with Suzanne being dead; don’t want to follow in a real hurry, though.

Phoenix Reborn charcoal on Rives BFK

Today.  I’ve started being drawn to the Phoenix myth. Here’s the first iphone photo of the second drawing on this theme.I will replace it with a proper photo by the Archivist when it’s shot. Unless I work on it further.

Phoneix Rising from Embers charcoal on Rives BFK paper 30 x 22 inches

I find it interesting that as the KADDISH / Dead Suzanne series seems to be working itself out that I have had this rebirth myth drift up from my psyche.

The Alchemical Shrine

From shamanism to alchemist to artist; chain of spiritual translation unbroken.