Marvin I have a deep respect for you and your art but I have a problem with this statement
" In my opinion, the majority of "painterly" artists have made refinement a bad thing because they are incapable of achieving refinement without sucking the life.out of the end result.?"
I do not completely disagree but I think a clarification is needed.
As I would not say that Richard Schmid choses a more painterly effect in his work because he is incapable of a tighter finish. Nor do I feel your style is the ONLY proper path to follow or goal for all artist. Many artist the paint it self is as important as the subject As much as I enjoy your work I also love the work of David A. Leffel and Everett Raymond Kinstler.
Also the notion that just because the painting is more painterly should NOT be confused with messy In fact it is Much more important that if your goal is to let each stroke of paint stand on its own all the more accurate those strokes must be.
I often use the analogy of a blues guitarist the real masters put more feeling one Note then all the flashy notes of a 80s rock master
I again am not saying painterly is better but doing it well takes just as much talent as a tighter finish does. In a really good painterly painting you see the paint up close but at a distance that single brush stroke of heavy paint no longer looks like a mess of paint it looks like what it was intended to look like. Sargent is a good example of that as well.
I also like the illustration work of Howard Pyle and NC Wyeth if you have ever seen the Treasure island paintings in person you see perfect examples of what I mean. http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/n-c-...and-his-parrot
In this painting that parrot is just a few carefully but boldly placed strokes of paint but as you see it reads as a parrot. Also much of the under painting still shows in these paintings.
I also like the illustration work of Norman Rockwell which is much tighter finish but honestly I prefer a more painterly finish but that should NOT be confused with a messy painting trying to hide an inaccurate drawing or excusing inaccuracy as being looser and fresh.
Also what may look like a spontaneous one time application of paint may in fact been put down once then removed then reapplied many times before the final stroke you see in the finished painting. (I have seen Richard Schmid Take his pallet knife and take off paint then do it over until it is how he wants it.) It may seem like instant results but it was NOT.
I am sure you know all this as well but I just feel many artist have a false understanding of alla prima painting. I Also do not want to say one style is better then the other you lean more toward a tighter finish I strive to let the paint show (not always successfully like I said to do it well is still takes skill just as it takes years for many blues Guitarist to play like their heroes
) For me that is part of what makes a painting more interesting then a photo
I do not want to sacrifice accuracy for painterly.