He drove up with several of his students to take part in a six-hour figure painting session hosted by Garin Baker's Carriage House Atelier near Newburgh, New York. Max is in the lower right, below.
As we painted, Max offered helpful advice to his students. "Big artists use big brushes," he said as we were all beginning.
Here is Max's six-hour study. The light was set up so that so that it was stronger on the top half of the figure, and he was attentive to the value-mixing required to get the progression of tone. "There's a build up from this tone to that one," he said. He explained how he was painting across the form, rather than just along it, and how he softened certain edges, such as along the shin and the calf.
With some of the students, he worked directly on their paintings, but he left problems for them to solve. "I'll leave something for you to do. I think you'll get this by the time you're eighty. That's how old I am."
Here's my painting. Although I'm not one of his students, I was hanging on Max's every word because I've never heard the voice of a painting teacher before.
It wouldn't be accurate to say I'm self-taught. I was taught by people who were already dead when I found them: Andrew Loomis, Norman Rockwell, Harold Speed, Solomon Solomon, and Howard Pyle. Fortunately their words have come down to us through the printed page. As an art student, I read those books as if my life depended on them. I cherished all their words, but I couldn't hear their voices.
I finished my painting a little early, and had a half hour left at the end, so I turned and drew Max, thinking of the great gift his teaching has been to the thousands of students he has nurtured over the years.
Carriage House Atelier
Thanks, Susan Daly Voss and Eric Wilkerson for the photos.