I was working on another flower painting tonight and had an opportunity to paint a small self portrait. I could see myself reflected in a back window behind the still life so I used 3 brush strokes to capture the planes of my face; I think it came out to be a good likeness.
I've also been thinking recently about representational painting and how to really capture a feeling of atmosphere in a painting. It really goes beyond representation - Sorolla was a master of this. It's almost like you have to paint the feeling as well as the reality. And I've found that I can't be too careful about it. There's a certain rhythm to it and if I go too slowly or too quickly then it doesn't work. Every time I try to put it into words it just falls apart so I guess I can't even put it into words. Anyway, I'm feeling very energized and will be painting up a storm.
I just got a new rare book that I'm very happy to add to my library. This is a 1934 1st edition of Painting A Portrait by Philip de László (1869 - 1937). It's part of a series of books called "How to Do It", which included 6 books in total in various media, such as watercolor, etching, sculpture, etc. For anyone who doesn't know, de László was a brilliant portrait painter who took over a lot of commissions once Sargent announced "No more paughtraits" in 1907.
I first read this as a PDF file that was generously sent to me by Mr. Juan Jr. Ramirez. That PDF was different from this edition and had some different photos and information. The photos in this book are nicely pasted in and almost have an old, glossy photographic finish to them. It's really a beautiful book. As a painter, art historian and collector of rare books, I'm proud to add this to my collection.
Book Reviews: Everett Raymond Kinstler's, "Painting Portraits" + "Painting Faces, Figures and Landscapes"
I'm very happy to share a review of these two books by Everett Raymond Kinstler. Although I never got to meet Mr. Kinstler in person, I had the privilege of sharing email correspondences with him over the course of a few years. His emails were always filled with encouragement and thoughtful critiques of my work.
For Christmas this year, I received both of these books as presents. I'll start by discussing Painting Portraits, published by Watson-Guptill in 1987. The book is 144 pages and has high quality illustrations of Mr. Kinstler's work. I was very excited to read this book and it did not disappoint. For anyone who's interested in portraiture, I now consider this book a must-read. What I like about it is that it has really practical information as well as information about mindsets and philosophies of making art. There's also information about Mr. Kinstler's history and the way he started doing portraits, which was fascinating.
Mr. Kinstler's process and materials are also covered, which prompted me to add and remove a few colors from my own palette.
It doesn't feel like reading a typical art instruction book because it has a nice narrative flow to it. I really can't find any faults with this book and will enjoy re-reading it at other points in my life.
Painting Faces, Figures and Landscapes, was also published by Watson-Guptill, but in 1981. It's 143 pages and also has faithful illustrations. I would recommend this book for anyone who is more of a fan of Mr. Kinstler's work and more interested in his personal history. Painting Faces, Figures and Landscapes includes technical information, including demonstrations and his materials list, but Painting Portraits has more information about the practical nuts and bolts of painting.
Since I'm also a watercolor painter myself, I enjoyed Painting Faces, Figures and Landscapes because it shows Mr. Kinstler's watercolor and drawing methods, which are not included in Painting Portraits. If you're interested in watercolor and drawing materials and techniques then keep this in mind.
Mr. Kinstler is a wonderful writer and his sense of humor gives these books a light-hearted feeling which I thoroughly enjoyed. Like many great art instruction books, this book will satisfy you if you're a beginner or advanced. Both of these books are very reasonably priced and I guarantee that you'll find them very useful, inspirational and worth reading.