Painted at the age of 24, “By the Falls” continues to be one Samuel Worley’s most popular nude watercolor paintings to this day.
This beautiful painting glows with subtle, yet rich and vibrant colors executed with masterful control over the challenging medium.
Watercolor painting, as many know, is the most difficult of the painting mediums. And yet, this realistic nude comes to life, almost approaching hyper-realism in its execution.
The painstaking detail in the rocks and little bubbles in the stream of the waterfall lend depth and life to the painting that takes the viewer deeper into the composition.
The beautiful nude woman and the blanket she is sitting on beside the waterfall catch just enough sunlight to lend a delicate balance of warmth to the otherwise cool blues and purples of the deep forest surrounding her.
As Worley would say it: “The painting glows on your wall with the changing sun. The subtle myriad of colors capture your attention like sparkles of the seasons, bringing back warm, summer times in cool, hidden places. It stays with you forever…”
“By the Falls” was Sam’s inspired response to two of his favorite artists: Steve Hanks and Maxfield Parrish. It was the amazing mastery and beauty of Hank’s work with watercolor that inspired Sam to learn the medium. The whimsical style and vibrant colors of Maxfield Parrish was what influenced his color palette and the cheerful nature of his earlier work. And, as with Hanks and Parrish, he loves to paint women.
Most of Sam’s inspiration comes from long ago in his youth when dappled sunlight on a forest path, or light dancing across a babbling brook moved him the most.
“I still have those feelings of inspiration at times,” Sam says, “but these days, they are few and far between. Often, I am in the grips of the less desirable feelings that come with bi-polar disorder. Fortunately, after being diagnosed for 12 years, I find it more manageable and I always have my music or writing to fall back on when art doesn’t do it for me.”
“Many artists though, (including myself) often wait for inspiration to hit them in order to move them to paint or draw. What helps me the most is just to put on some music, sit in front of an easel and go through the motions. Nearly every time, inspiration will find me and next thing I know, hours have passed. It’s funny, because if I’m away from my art for about a month, I get seriously depressed. It is almost debilitating and when I’m painting, there is something so magical about it (especially watercolor) that seems like a higher form of meditation. And when I finish a painting, usually during the wee hours of the morning, I set it up in front of me and stare at it until I fall asleep. Honestly, it’s the most satisfying sleep I’ve ever had.”
Do you remember when you finished painting by the falls?
“it’s kind of a funny story, because I had used this liquid masking fluid on it called liquid friskit. It’s awesome because you can paint it on your watercolor paper with a brush and mask off the areas where you don’t want to paint. Anyway, there I was, standing back from it and feeling very satisfied with myself because after three years of practicing watercolor, painting boobs instead of bowls of fruit, I’d finally been able to do this painting. And my brother stands beside me and looks at it. After a time, he says something like ‘her nipple is sticking out’. So, I bend closer and there’s a bump on her nipple and I rub at it, then suddenly the speck of liquid friskit falls off and there’s a white dot where the sunlight would be hitting it.”
So, was this your first nude watercolor painting?
“Almost. It was my third, if I remember right. There were two earlier ones I’d done. One of them, I have no idea where it is; and the other I gave to a woman who later got mad at me and destroyed it.”
But you still have this one, right?
“Yeah, for now. She’s hanging above my synthesizer in my art and music studio. I’ve come close to selling the painting in the past. It would be nice to be able to hold onto it until I can get about 15K for it, since I still sell prints of it at shows. The thing about selling nude art, at least in the United States, is that there are few places to display the paintings. I could probably make a living on this image alone if the limited-edition prints were in enough galleries, or the smaller poster prints were in enough stores. I used to have a clothed version of the painting where I had a giclee of it printed on watercolor paper. On the print, I painted a bikini over her, framed it up and displayed that at the art festivals. When people would look at it after a time, I’d ask: would you like to see her naked (wink, wink) It worked like a charm- until a beautiful college student bought the print from me for $500. I’m still thinking about doing it again for maybe a small series.”
Well, the original nude painting is tasteful, if you ask me. And I think I can speak for most people when I say, keep painting.
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