The Anthropologically Possible

500 pages in 3 days is possible (when on vacation).  To me, an absolute revelation.  A must read before the movie comes out.

Notes on The Practice of Oil Painting by Solomon J. Solomon

Annotation Summary for: Practice of Oil painting by Solomon J. Solomon

Page 11:

Title

Page 13:

Preface

Page 15:

TOC

Page 41:

“spaces left” = negative space

Page 41:

The trickyness of foreshortening.

Page 42:

Drawing a means ro a definite end… Painting! Knowledge and accuracy!

Page 45:

Study the skull. Skin is of of different texture when tightly drawn versus loose parts where it is more fleshy.

Page 49:

Chapter II construction of the human figure.

Page 49:

24 inches high is the advisable size for a figure drawing…

Page 49:

Proportion is the first thing to consider and the most difficult to preserve.

Page 50:

Head = the proportion key.

Page 50:

First, get likeness to confirm correct proportions, then, and only then, the ears; from the ears, the neck.

Page 50:

Refer constantly to hand glass.

Page 51:

After head is satisfactory, draw neck and shoulders.

Page 52:

Success of a figure lies in the head to the neck to the shoulders…

Page 53:

One of the most difficult problems to contend with: placing the head on the shoulders.

Page 53:

Observe people, make mental notes of how their head attaches to their shoulders.  Use the negative shapes to help you remember.

Page 53:

Plot armpits from shoulders, then distance from collar bone to armpits.  From there you can indicate the pectoral markings.

Page 53:

Use head and neck as standard to plot the navel; find the triangle as it exists from pecks to the navel… This helps indicate the character and action of the torso.

Page 54:

Follow closely the center line from the neck to the base of the torso.

Page 56:

Use plumbs to establish relative positions…

Page 59:

In your drawings, everything must dovetail and fit…

Page 63:

Chapter III Construction of the head

Page 63:

Of great importance: the placement of the ear.

Page 63:

Ears: length of the nose; tops in line with the brow, lobes in line with the nostrils.

Page 64:

Answering shapes of the face.  Example: a smile…

Page 75:

Copy the heads by Holbein!

Page 76:

Foreshortened passages always appear wider than they actually are… And how to correct this!

Page 81:

All solid masses have their beyond.

Page 85:

Chapter IV Characterisation

Page 87:

Reference frequently the model and drawing in a mirror!

Page 87:

Axiom: as we depart from the proportions of nature, we weaken the result!

Page 88:

Reynolds: the eye sees no more than it knows.

Page 89:

The delta of the face!  Shapes of the head…

Page 91:

Make it a rule never to draw one side without the other.

Page 97:

Curves of the arm…

Page 101:

Once you have settled on proportions, paint the arm and hand in one sitting… Rarely are they posed twice alike.  Van Dyck anecdote…

Page 101:

The Legs

Page 102:

See that the foot plumbs well under the head… Use the plumb-line.

Page 103:

Images of legs…

Page 109:

Light and shade

Page 113:

The head, the feet, the knees and the lower part of the abdomen are generally richer in colour, and therefore lower in tone, than the rest of the figure.

Page 113:

VERY IMPORTANT: with but very few exceptions, every figure or solid object has one predominating light passage, and it stands to reason that every other light passage must be lowered in relation to it; the same applies to shadows.

Page 113:

YES! Definition of breadth.

Page 114:

“Where every one is somebody, then no one’s anybody.”. The secret? Squint!

Page 114:

How to manage when the light is too brilliant to be rendered by pigment?

Page 115:

The highlight on porcelain…

Page 116:

Photography is unwarrantly abused…

Page 116:

Ah, so how tone plays a role in its placement in space.

Page 117:

Do not paint the figure out of context…

Page 117:

Lay a sure foundation for your house, or the superstructure,which painting is, will be futile and of no avail.

Page 118:

Painting, Materials, Colors.

Page 120:

THIS IS WHAT RECENT PAINTINGS HAVE SUFFERED: You may take it for granted that no sense of freshness can be preserved after three, or at utmost four, coats od a similar tint have been laid solidly over each other on the canvas… When the grain is gone, all attempts to regain clearness are hopeless.

Page 120:

Steel plush mat.  Erase paint and renew texture.  What is this?

Page 121:

READ TO KINGSLEY: Oft-recurring exhibitions…

Page 123:

Originality is not affectation, but the frank expression of a personality.

Page 123:

Ground: a distinct tooth is a necessity.

Page 124:

Avoid toned ground… Leads to dullness. Hmmmm…?

Page 124:

Make sure palette is not less than 18 inches in length.

Page 125:

Get used to large brushes an inch or more across.

Page 125:

Palette knife should be trowel shaped.

Page 126:

Charcoal used for initial drawing.

Page 126:

FIND: wire plush mat as scraper!

Page 127:

Put cardboard between stretcher and canvas to avoid ineradicable ridges.

Page 127:

Colors and choice of pigments/palette

Page 128:

Excellent break down on various colors.

Page 129:

Bituminous pigments are responsible for destruction of Reynolds paintings.

Page 129:

Use fresh colors every day…

Page 130:

Do not starve your palette.

Page 130:

Luminosity is the rarest quality to attain and one of the finest.

Page 130:

Scrape up the paints on your palette to use as greys…

Page 130:

Mix some masses of light, half-tone, shadow to expedite the work.

Page 131:

Palette layout.

Page 131:

Paint quantities indicated by size of circles…

Page 133:

Monochrome study.

Page 134:

Canvas size: 24 x 20 inches… Rarely use a canvas smaller than this.

Page 134:

If your painting is too brilliantly lighted, the image will suffer….

Page 135:

Bingo! After drawing with charcoal, blow off all but the faintest indication of the line, then paint over with a sable brush with raw umber.

Page 135:

Starting the monochrome copy: raw umber and white; mix 3 tones.

Page 138:

The actual painting stage really only begins when you paint into paint!

Page 138:

Let breadth and simplicity be you watchwords.

Page 140:

Textures in monochrome…read and reread.

Page 143:

Chapter X Still life in Color: learning alla prima.. Direct painting… Though “serious work” should be prepped in monochrome.

Page 144:

Charcoal drawing, blow away unnecessary blackness, clean with bread, paint in background first.

Page 144:

Mix middle tones, matching colors as you would silks or wools, and cover the rest of the canvas.  Then paint shadows, then highlights, then broken passages.  Before adding a different color over another, remove precious color with a palette knife.

Page 145:

Put painting next to still life, walk back as far as possible, compare with a hand-glass.

Page 145:

Be content only when the apples loom eatable.

Page 145:

In other words, see that the high lights are exactly their right tone, and not too light, and that all other lights and light masses are subordinate to what happens to be the highest light or light passages.

Page 145:

The part must always be subordinate to the whole.

Page 145:

If at the end of the day it is not satisfactory, scrape it away with a palette knife.

Page 146:

Paint with greater solidity; with less oil.

Page 146:

I ought perhaps to tell you that, except for the backgroun and shadows, you might paint all the more solid light passages without medium, if you wish to complete your study at one sitting.

Page 147:

Chapter XI: silver and china in color

Page 147:

Keep your color pure.  Lay in the whole as before directed (the still life… Do this over the verdaccio underpainting)

Page 148:

You will get into messes often enough, and you must learn how to get out of them.

Page 149:

Begin with the object stronger in light and shade to set the key.

Page 151:

Chapter XIi Hints on Arrangements, Solecisms in Composition.

Page 152:

Study particularly the placing of heads, half and full length portraits and figures, and the main structural lines and color masses of decorative designs.

Page 152:

Placement of a head on a 24 x 20 inch page.

Page 153:

EXCELLENT! All pictures should be decorative… And there should be just accident enough in their arrangement fr them not to appear obviously arranged.

Page 156:

Creation of Adam and the Raising of the Brazen Serpent.

Page 161:

Chapter XIII painting from life in monochrome.

Page 161:

The sense of solidity and subtle modeling are due to the relation of tones, it is well to cultivate the habit of reducing every part and every color to it’s equivalent tone value.

Page 161:

Study the lighting of heads by Velazquez and van Dyck… A reproduction on your easel above the canvas might well seve as your guide… Gia’ fatto! 😉

Page 162:

Use brush to measure, paint slightly smaller than life.

Page 162:

Draw and then shade with charcoal, use q dry brush to model.  From time to time put the drawing as close as possible, go back as far as possible and compare with a mirror.

Page 162:

Make all corrections in charcoal… Which resists little to a brush and none to bread!

Page 162:

Much correcting in paint is fatal to lucidity.

Page 162:

Set palette with white and raw umber.

Page 163:

The pure color of raw umber should be deep enough for the initial darks…

Page 163:

It is food practice to make the best use of restricted materials.

Page 163:

On managing your edges!

Page 164:

The planes of Velazquez…

Page 164:

Mark the quality of the skin in the forehead and bridge of the nose and the contrasted pulpiness where flesh is free of bone.

Page 164:

Check flesh values in relation to white…

Page 164:

Be careful in modeling round the eyes to preserve the globular feeling beneath the lids and to realize something of the liquid quality of the eyes themselves.

Page 165:

If there is any objectionable hardness or thinness, soften with a large dry brush.

Page 165:

Look to it that map of light and shade be correct. If necessary, use a penknife to scrape away the dark.

Page 165:

If a part dries dead; breath on it, then wipe off with a rag.

Page 165:

Cover the whole with wet paint?

Page 166:

It’s the recovering with wet paint that confuses me… With the same color?

Page 166:

Bonnet anecdote…

Page 166:

More to learn from honest failure than mild success.

Page 167:

Chapter XIV Coloring a monochrome.

Page 167:

Coloring a monochrome means preparing the monochrome several tones lighter than nature, as if a semi-transparent paper were laid over a normal tonal study.

Page 167:

Then, when dry: paint the highest lights with Strf white; the shadows with Indian red and ivory black; the Greys and halftones with all colors mentioned + cobalt and a little oxide of chromium when needed… Covering the whole with a new skin of paint.

Page 167:

Begin with fluid mixture of middle tone, always higher in tone than nature, yet relatively just.

Page 168:

When the secon stage is dry, glaze in the yellow and red tones.

Page 168:

Sir Joshua Reynolds Painting method…

Page 169:

Reynolds obviously used his final colors with reference to the effect that was beneath them.

Page 169:

With the idea before him of a subsequent fuller coloring to be superimposed over a higher key in order to reduce the whole to the appropriate tone of nature.

Page 169:

Pure glazing may lower overmuch; add a little white with warm colors to obviate the loss of brilliancy.

Page 170:

Experience with this, as with all things, is a necessity.

Page 171:

Chapter XV Painting direct from life.

Page 171:

The palette for painting from life… two whites, yellow ochre, light red?, vermilion, rose madder, cobalt, emerald, oxide of chromium, raw and burnt umber and ivory black.

Page 171:

Star with Turp so the color dries dead and leaves the paint slightly absorbent… And that way, subsequent paintings with oil or varnish are less apt to shine unduly.

Page 174:

Never putdown two touches where one would suffice!

Page 174:

Use brushes that are awkwardly large; practice will enable you to manipulate them.  They will sweep up the unnecessary detail.

Page 174:

Above all, assure a homogeneous skin… And look at heads by Velazquez!

Page 174:

Comparison of prepared and direct method…

Page 174:

A rich impasto, variety of texture, the beauty of underlying grey tones, a lasting luminosity, a sense oof oneness, are the distinguishing characteristics of the “monochrome.”. Vitality and spontaneity are perhaps more closely associated with direct painting.

Page 175:

Titian is said to have warmed his flesh with asphaltum, which is of a golden hue when applied thinly.

Page 175:

The grey tones are the severest test of a colorist’s capacity.

Page 175:

The greatest advantage of monochrome is this: if the glaze applied is not the desired hue, the glaze may be removed while leaving the underpainting in tact.

Page 176:

Further, if necessary to paint over, the white and light greys can only enhance the overpainting.

Page 176:

It is given to few to achieve a result which implies swiftness, dexterity, sureness, and just observation of color, tone and character in every touch.

Page 177:

Part II. Methods of the Masters

Page 179:

Chapter I methods of the masters.

Page 179:

FIND: book recs from Solomon… Mr. Hamerton’s. “Graphic Arts,” Eastlake, Mrs. Merrifield’s “Ancient Practice of Painting.”

Page 180:

A visit to the National Gallery… It is a sign!

Page 181:

Exceptional! A discussion on technical excellences… Have no counterpart in any other medium of thought.

Page 183:

Bronzino: Venus, Cupid, Folly, Time.

Page 187:

Chapter II Italian Schools

Page 187:

“”Luminosity” is the supreme test of the painter’s craft.

Page 187:

There is no caprice in Nature’s apparent favoritism.

Page 188:

Over-modeling is inimical to brilliancy and freshness.

Page 193:

Andrea del Sarto

Page 194:

Guido Reni – Grey Ground

Page 204:

Chapter III The School of Titian

Page 205:

Titian’s Method

Page 205:

Flesh initially painted with a color similar to the terra rossa ground, and the flesh was done very solidly…

Page 206:

The rich glazes were applied with fingers and thumb, and finally the whole was gilded either with a golden varnish or with asphaltum

Page 211:

Most notable achievement: the underlying grey.

Page 218:

Veronese on shadows and “passing clouds.”  the point: invent your own shadows to move the eye and manipulate the composition.

Page 218:

Titian was the first to break up landscape masses with accidental light and shadow.

Page 218:

Madders glazed over a white ground with touches of Naples yellow like golden threads.

Page 223:

When oil and not varnish is used the glaze may evaporate.

Page 223:

Never trust in a glazing where a partial stumble is not added.

Page 223:

Mrs. Merrifield Titian anecdote: removal of glass frame… The glaze had evaporated and stuck to the glass!

Page 229:

Chapter IV the Italian school continued.

Page 229:

FIND: artist Paris Bordone, portrait of a lady.

Page 246:

Chapter V The Flemish School

Page 251:

Rubens technique

Page 252:

Quote from Rubens on keeping white out of shadows and keeping color pure in the light.

Page 258:

Venus and Mars: note the warm brown shadows, broken touches of light and then the liquid melting of the scumble over the warmer ground.  Liquid opalescence.

Page 258:

Van Dyck: witness the same scumble on the cheek of “van der geest”

Page 261:

Van Dyck portrait of van der geest

Page 263:

How best to copy this painting… Step 1. Brown grisaille; 2. Load light areas with stiff white and varnish medium; 3. Paint thinly the color of the whole, glazing the mouth and separately drawing some of the hair.

Page 264:

Look for grisaille study of van Dyck entitled Ronaldo and armida.

Page 265:

Chapter VI The Dutch School.

Page 266:

Rembrandt: portrait of an old lady

Page 266:

The woman bathing…

Page 268:

Note the rich unctuous properties have never been so thoroughly exploited.

Page 269:

Woman bathing…

Page 271:

Christ before pilate gives a clue to the first laying in…

Page 271:

An, so we are back to the woman bathing…

Page 271:

Here he explains how to paint the woman bathing: grey and white with loaded brush paint the shoulders and breasts, the chemise with a very liquid white added on a Greer ground with some touches of a palette knife; then shadows fairly transparent.  IS HE RIGHT?

Page 272:

Ever keep the big things in view.  Simplicity is the greatest virtue and the last achieved in any art.

Page 272:

Criticism of Rembrandt’s looseness; his reply, “I’m a painter, not a dyer.”

Page 277:

Luscious silver grey of the underground!

Page 277:

When wisely and discreetly left, the deposits of a real, not assumed enthusiasm, fired spontaneously in the warmth of production– then and then only, like the moving passion of the orator, they move us to a real admiration.

Page 298:

The Spanish School: Velazquez!

Page 298:

In every sense a realist, he stated the large facts with the broadest touch.

Page 298:

Unerring draughtsmanship and a just appreciation of value…

Page 303:

Compare early Philip to the Admiral

Page 303:

pLog!  This is it: “The Admiral is bathed in air. The solidifying force of finely contrasted values and subtle colour-contrasts is now the master’s secret, which henceforth is to be a model throughout the generations.  He now knows that a living illusion is not enhanced  by rigid draperies accentuated equally throughout, but that movement is imparted by free handling, that real texture of surfaces was more perfectly suggested by color and tone-relations than by minute imitation of the passages detached from the general envelopment.” Again, the word “envelope.” isn’t that also I. The Carolus-Duran document?

Page 304:

The Admiral is a masterpiece of construction, bigness and tonal relief…

Page 304:

The figure of the Venus is first prepared in white…

Page 309:

Venus figure prepared in white, Indian Red and Black.

Page 309:

The small Philip IV is one of our treasures and should be copied.

Page 309:

WHite and red ground?

Page 309:

Pink greys suggest Indian red in the ground and in the last painting.

Page 312:

One of the finest examples of big yet subtle modeling: Vealazquez’s dwarf!

Page 316:

The finest example of the French school is Watteau.

Page 319:

Wax, medium and cracking.  Joshua Reynolds: all good pictures crack.

Page 320:

There is always danger of pictures suffering that are done with a thick paste of color entirely concealing the grain of the canvas.

Page 320:

Gilded vs. silvery

Page 322:

Reynolds: example of the essential vs. non-essential.

Page 355:

Chapter XII

On Copying

Page 356:

To be a painter, he must first be a sound craftsman.

Page 356:

Later on you may attempt Van Dyck or Velazquez’s Phillip IV…!

Page 357:

Aids to Composition.

Page 358:

You may desire to make natural effects your chief aim, and if their lies your strength, by all means do; but do not at the same time forget to make the decorative.

Page 359:

Dipping draperies in a mixture of clay and water so they hold their form…

Page 360:

Solomon’s secret: covering a mill board with aspinall’s enamel and then, after it dries, cover with ivory black water color… Then pull out the light…!

Page 361:

Analysis of Titian Composition.

Page 369:

Titian analysis continued…

Page 377:

…make the search for the beautiful in all things your real pilgrimage through life.

Page 383:

Time invariably sobers the spirit that ostentatiously dissociates itself from the powers that were.

Page 387:

Let this thought make you tolerant.

Page 387:

PADASOR: know before hand the your fancy of today will give place to a new one tomorrow…

Page 278: Dutch school continued… Fran’s Hals

Page 309: practice of oil painting Solomon Page 309

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