Jerry’s International Palette Shop recently opened up just south of Union Square in the East Village. They carry a vast array of Art supplies from all over the world to give you what you need to get your creative juices flowing. One of the things that they are doing that I think is brilliant from a marketing point of view and great as a Artist is having Demo’s of Artists work their magic live. I attended the Casey Baugh demo a few weeks back where he painted a portrait with a live model. I had never been to one before and was curious to see what I would get out of it…turned out quite a bit. I broke my notes into Materials, Process, and a Final Thought.
Casey’s color palette was comprised of the following oi paints (he uses multiple brands, I believe Charvin being one of them).
Transparent Earth Orange
Dark Ultramarine Blue
For brushes he prefers them soft-haired and even uses some Make-up brushes. For mediums he uses triple refined turpentine (in a custom mix) since it dries fast. For his canvas he choose a a Raphael Double Primed Canvas mounted on wood(I just purchased a couple to try them out)
Since he had a live and rather beautiful model for the demo he did take a good 15 minutes or so to cast the lighting just right…it was kinda like watching a photo-shoot.
Casey paints in a style known as Alla Prima (wet-on-wet) Which I found rather fascinating. I’m use to coating the canvas with a color, letting it dry. Sketching what I want to paint after laying out a measured grid…and then lay out an initial dark wash. After all that, I start the painting. Casey went right in laying the canvas with a black wash with some blue…and then started working on painting the face. Kinda blew me away.( Of note, my current Art Instructor B told me after I recounted this to her that’s how she paints. So since I will have on-hand guidance I will have to give it a whirl.) After toning the canvas with Ivory black with a little cobalt blue he starting laying out brush strokes to create texture
When asked how he starts he said that first you create Value – (depth ), then Color, and finally the Drawing (the actual subject of the painting). He stated that one needs to practice painting regularly to learn how to work out the problems. Essentially that is what painting is in a sense, constantly problem solving…how is light hitting the subject, how does this color against this one affect the other, etc…
For those of you who paint some helpful hints he shared included were….Keep one soft brush dry, handy for edge work. Push down on brushes that come to points so they splay out…thus getting blended strokes vs “noodle” lines. Take breaks, take breaks and take breaks. Step away from the painting…and do not look at it . Clear your head, then go back in. He doesn’t have formulas for colors, goes in warm colors first…than adds in cool shadows the nose and the mouth, especially the mouth can be challenging to paint. He saves the mouth for last…paints around it. The mouth is fluid like …always moving. Also, the importance of your signature and getting it right, it should enhance not distract from the piece.
For light sources, it’s the edges of the light that you need to concentrate on. While painting look at the subject with your peripheral vision...otherwise we get tunnel vision and our mind insets the opposite color to grey things. Keep your eye in motion, compare vs isolate. You literally need to practice this. Go from tunnel vision to peripheral vision…back and forth.
One final point that Casey made that I felt really hit home was that “Painting is the universal language”. Just think about it, you can go to a museum in Barcelona, look at frescos on Temples in Vietnam, hit a gallery in Prague and you don’t need to speak the local language to get what the Artist is saying. Pretty amazing when you think about it. Our world is full of Towers of Babel…yet Art knocks down all walls. Just something to think about…