Portrait painting is not easy I know. But do not make it more difficult than it is: stay organized in portrait painting.
There are countless elements that seem to have nothing to do with portrait painting. Some of them are easily amendable. They are feasible for everyone. Talented or not, skilled or not.
I attach great importance to a tidy studio and a clean palette. We are not all Francis Bacon are we?
During my lessons I always hear myself saying: Keep your kitchen tidy! Imagine having to prepare a meal for a group of people. You start with a clean countertop and clean pans. No leftovers that stand in your way. That is how you must see your studio: A pure workplace that invites you to get started.
My studio - Ben Lustenhouwer - YouTube
As in my previous post, again a quote from the book The Art Spirit by Robert Henri. This text really appeals to me!
“The technique of painting begins with the simplest mechanical issues and extends through to the heights of science.
You should begin with the simplest issues. See that your palette is a good tool, sizable for what you have to do. See that it is well set with clean pigment, ordered to the greatest convenience for your work.
Be watchful of your need and the steady development of your craftsmanship. See to the size, quality and condition of your brushes, they are to be handled for a difficult operation. See to your medium. Are the cups right in size for your brushes? Are they securely attached in place most convenience for the service?( )
A barber has an apparatus that is surprising, and all in such remarkable order. His intention is but to shave and cut hair with the least amount of discomfort for the sitter. An artist proposes to make a work of art, and while his work requires infinite skill, he general far behind the barber in arrangement of the most ordinary necessities.
Should this be so? Why should a studio be a boudoir, a dream of oriental splendor to have tea in, a junk shop, a dirty place, and rarely a good convenient workshop for the kind of thought and the kind of work that the making of a good picture demands?
Should a palette be crust of dirty, dust collecting, dried up paint in which little inadequate squeezes of fresh paint become confounded? Why should´t the whole thing be cleaned up every day?”
The San Antón fiestas Chelva is one of my favourite festivals.
With all people from the neighborhood we make big bon fires and eat and drink until late at night while music and processions come along. On Sundays we make a big paella and that is what I’m working on at the moment. Later this afternoon I will show you the video I’m making, so come back later.
“Chelva has a unique event of its kind: the Cuentantón, the party of the illuminated word, in which story and bonfire embrace again to remind us that this has been the case for many many years. And I hope it continues and burns while there is firewood to burn and stories to tell.”
Much can be said about white in oil painting. By far it is the paint that is most sold. I am also a bulk consumer.Together with Yellow Ocher, it is the paint that I use the most.
Since I have been browsing every now and then the beautiful book The Art Spirit by Robert Henri, I come across the most beautiful passages that I must remember. I keep my ear to the ground reading these pages.
Like this text that I replicate in its entirety, about white in oil painting.
About white in oil painting
“In the painting of light, in modeling form, keep as deep down in colour as you can. It is the colour that makes the sensation of light. Play from warm to cold, not from white to black.
The tendency to put in more white is so usual that it would be well to restrict the white. Keep it off the palette. Allow only so much of it in the pigments which must have it,and allow the much less than you think they should have. A set palette may look quite impossible for its want of white in comparison with the subject before you. It certainly is, any paint is, if you expect to reproduce the thing in nature.But your work is not, and cannot be, a reproduction. Nature has its laws. Your pigments and your flat canvas have other laws.
You must work within the laws of your material.
Pictures which are overcharged with white paint look whiter but they do not have the look of white.”