Jonathan Queen Demonstrating at Centre College

Posted on March 11, 2013

The start of Jonathan’s day of painting. On his right is the still life–a little toy figure of Pinocchio.




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Jonathan Queen: Contemporary Master

Posted on March 09, 2013

Lecture and Demonstration at Centre College

Poster for “Jonathan Queen: Contemporary Master”

On Monday, March 11,  the painter Jonathan Queen will be visiting Centre College. He’ll do a painting demonstration from 10:20 a.m. to 4:30 p.m in the Jones Visual Arts Center (room 204). Later on, he’ll give a public lecture on his work at 7:30 p.m in the Vahlkamp Theatre, which is in lower level of Crounse Hall. Both events are free. The demonstration is a an open house affair–come and go as you please.

I am excited to have Jonathan coming to campus. His witty images are painted with great mastery. He will also be spending time with our painting students, in classes and in a few individual critiques.

See more of his art at his website:


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The Persistence of Body

Posted on February 03, 2013

Go to the Kimbell Art Museum page for this painting

The Young Artist. Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin. 1738. Oil on canvas. Kimbell Art Museum.

How easily thinkers and scribblers (of the text-based variety) forget about the inescapable union of body and mind. Even the use of the two words is misleading, tempting us into thinking of ourselves as split into higher and lower faculties, even into two separable parts. This ancient customary division must always be resisted, even denied.  If there is a duality, it is between the whole and the part: the brain is part of the body.

Learning is physical. Our ability to abstract mesmerizes us, in part because it is a major part of our success as a species. But we idealize it, and forget that we cannot think at our best without sustenance, rest, and–most important–feeling. I think of this in part because I teach people to draw and paint, an act that requires many things from our body simultaneously: intense analytic concentration, synthetic visual imagination, and manual dexterity, all animated by desire. The principles of the art are learned by doing. There is no other way: no separation of the intellectual from the physical, of the conceptual from the craft, of the aristocrat from the serf, of the manager from the worker.

Learning is embodied in the classroom, in conversation, in demonstration, imitation, and presentation. Learning is what we do, as a species. Other species do it, too, but we believe we do it best. It is possible to do it away from others, but not consistently, and not so well, especially for the young.

The physical presence of the teacher is critical. While not a constant necessity, it is so usual, so human, that some forget to acknowledge it–and then, forgetting, go on to make silly assertions about the death of the classroom. Louis Betty, in a recent article, wrote an excellent rebuttal to those who prophesy The End of the University.

Just for fun, here are some classrooms:

Vernet_Horace-The Artist's_Studio-1828

The Artist’s Studio. Horace Vernet. 1828.


Some of my painting students in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, January 2013


An Academy of Painters. PierFrancesco Alberti. Engraving.


Tyler Wilkinson Doing a Demonstration Portrait Drawing of Professor Bill Andrus at Centre College, January 2013.

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