If anyone reads my blog, this is the one post I hope they read, well, that and the snappy comeback reference planner and maybe the spin cycle one. I share a studio with 20 artists and all are inspiring in different ways, but this guy, Don Sondag, is a lesson for all painters in diligence and practice. He’s just a damn good painter. His work is fresh, honest and dead on in drawing & color and un-mannered , as in he doesn’t use any fancy brush tricks or glazes or whatever to make a painting, it is without influence. He spent a few years of learnin at the student artists league in New York with Jacob Collins and Sam Adoquie, I think he knew Raymond Kinstler at some point but most all that he has achieved for himself has been through sheer effort.
I’m going to post a lot of images of his space and his work, most are pics from my iphone and are a tad fuzzy, but you will get the idea. Unless you live in the Orlando area, you will probably never hear of this guy. He doesn’t have a website, doesn’t really advertise his work, maybe is in one or two local galleries but has a good name in the area as a landscape painter and a portraitist. I’ve bugged him for years about getting a website but that’s not his thing. And in a way, I get it. He doesn’t waste a moment of time with emails and website updates and how to work photoshop or blogging, he just paints. And he’s a much better painter for it. Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the 10,000 hours it takes to master a thing in the Outliers. Don has at least double or triple that…. and it shows in the work. His compositions are seemingly effortless and his broad brush approach is without a lot of cumbersome detail, his paintings are a lesson in what to leave out and how to paint in big shapes of value and color. Whatever the subject matter, the paintings become about shape and value and color. He’s got paintings of small planes on a tarmac that make me envious.
The simple lesson here is, if you want to be good or a master at something, get some training, learn to draw and put in your 10 or 20 thousand hours and don’t copy someone else. The great Donnini is an inspiration to all of us here at McRae Art Studios.
All of these are painted from life by the way, including the 30×40 on the easel. I have no idea how to format these images into any kind of layout so bear with me. And share this with your friends. Don should be known.