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From: Frank Covino answering Renate's questions regarding - Color Blindness

The answer to your question regarding Color Blindness and Painting must be preceded with the question: What is the capacity of the student for the recognition of Value ? It has been said that some animals cannot respond to Color, but do respond to Value recognition with hyper-sensitivity.... .

A color blind person cannot create a painting that would appear harmonious to the eye of a spectator who has normal vision. That is not possible....BUT....a color blind person with hypersensitivity to Value Structure can actually exceed his normal eyesight neighbor in the creation of a perfect Underpainting !

My experience has been that " The Lord gives...and The Lord takes away....." Years ago, I worked with a husband and wife team with incredible effectiveness. He was pitifully color blind, but had a keen sense of Value. He did the underpaintings. She had a gift for color harmony, but was seriously deficient in Value recognition. She colored his underpaintings ! The result was a series of shared creations of high professional value !

If you were to purchase my # 9 DVD, ( and have your color blind friend buy one, too.....from ) you will witness the development of a portrait of my wife Barbara, first in clay...then cast in liquid Marble. I have had great success with color blind students expressing themselves in this medium. They actually excell. A color blind person does not see the colors that the rest of us see...but...they do see Values, very often with more accuracy than an art student with normal vision !

The success of modeling with Clay and Casting with artificial Marble or Bronze ( a polyester liquid mixed with Marble Dust or Bronze Dust ) requires an acute sense of Values but does not call upon any sensitivity to color. Ask your color blind friend to view DVD #9...purchase the necessary supplies, as described in the film ( they are not expensive ) and create her own Bas-Relief portrait in one of our painting classes.

I am amused at how painters of meager education, who have learned a few tricks with paint, begin teaching the art of Painting. This is not only audacious...but, it hurts real artists, who must teach , to earn subsistence, between their Commisisions. To rate the authority of a self-elected " art teacher ", I would ask " May I see some of your sculptures ?" The two arts were not separate in the Renaissance. A real artist can create beautiful forms in any medium.

Form is form. Whether it is replicated in Paint or in a 3 dimensional medium, like Clay or Stone, is inconsequential. At the basis of both crafts is the recognition and duplication three dimensional form. This is why I prefer my Sculpture students to create their Art in the same class as my Painting students. It is how classes were conducted in the Renaissance, and the creative energy that flows through the class is infectious !

See my photos of my Sculptures: sweet Barbara Jean, in Carrazini Marble, the development of which can be witnessed on DVD # 9. Below it, my full round portrait of Leonardo da Vinci, sculpted from a Silverpoint Sketch he made of himself, shortly before he died.....and, last, a shot of the final stage of my daughter's portrait, at the age of seven.....

I hope that these answers to your query are helpful..... Frank Covino



H e l p f u l   H i n t s

1st of 4 infos on Portrait Framing


1) Just the Basics about Framing Portraits

From Portraits, Inc. NYC


Many of our artists will tell you that the frame for your portrait is just as important as the painting itself.

Each painting is unique, and frames should be too. It’s as if frames, as well as portraits, have personalities that should fit comfortably and handsomely together.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share tips, tricks and anecdotes about framing from several of our portrait artists. To set the scene for those more in depth discussions about cost and why framing portraits is different than framing other types of art, we’ll start with a few basics about portrait framing that everyone should be familiar with.

  • A good frame should have some substance to it, which usually means it needs to be at least 3 to 5 inches wide. Ornate frames are typically used for more traditional or historic portraits. These more elaborate frames often cost more. Clean, simple frames are usually considered more modern or contemporary. Men’s portraits often look best in these types of frames. Women and children usually call for a gentle, more fluid look that can be achieved with carving and more rounded shapes in the frame. Institutional portraits tend to be simpler in design. Paintings with a lot of detail and color often look better with a simple frame. Gold is the most popular finish. Toned or antique gold is often the best choice as it provides less competition for the viewer’s eye. The elements of design in a frame should echo those in the painting. They should be related in some way, such as having similar lines, coloration or size.
  • Real wood frames are more expensive than synthetic ones, and hand-carved frames are more expensive than machine-molded.


2nd of 4 infos Challences on Portrait Framing

Courtesy from Portrait, Inc. and Guido Frames, Boston

When it comes to framing portraits, most of the usual rules apply that you’d expect when framing any other kind of art. Start with the basics, and select a frame that complements the portrait, brings out the colors and plays off the lines or details of the painting.

But there are differences, too. Two of the main issues that are often presented have to do with achieving harmony and symmetry among other paintings and the setting where the portrait will hang. Here are examples of both situations.

The Setting and the Portrait have Different Styles

It’s easier when the painting is traditional and will hang in a traditional home, or the portrait is modern and will be in a modern home or setting. But what if the setting and portrait are opposite?

In one case, an artist had a subject and composition that were extremely traditional. There were strong colors in the clothes and surroundings, which was a reflection of the subject. On the other hand, the building and foyer area where the portrait would hang was modern with anodized gray metal walls. It was crucial to create harmony.

To achieve this, a traditional frame was selected which had minimal detail to help bridge the gap and gave it a smooth, modern feel. Then the framerselected a red bole/clay color to pick up the warm colors of the painting and gilded with Palladium to give it a light antique finish. This blended in well with the metal walls.

These selections allowed a traditional styled portrait to present itself in a modern setting and look completely at home.

The Portrait Needs to Match and/or Stand Out from Others

 Another example was recently encountered at a school in Massachusetts. An artist was commissioned to paint the headmaster and his wife, and the portrait was to be hung among those of the previous headmasters.

There was a broad range of framing on the existing portraits, from minimal to large and ornate. This portrait was to be hung beside or near one with a very large, ornate frame. In this unique case, the portrait in the large, ornate frame happened to be by artist John Singer Sargent. It was an honor to be in such company, but it presented a challenge.

People would likely be drawn to the Sargent first, and our artist’s portrait would be viewed after. But it was still important to impress, so a wide molding was chosen to give the portrait presence. Since the Sargent frame was so ornate, our artist went more simple. There was a touch of flourish to the frame to complement and enhance details in the painting. The 23 karat gold with a medium antique finish gave the portrait an aged appearance to help it co-exist with all the other frames on display.

These are just two of the challenges artists and framers face in the world of portrait framing. With good input from the artist and strong effort from the framer, most problems can be overcome, and even turned into a visual benefit to enhance the portrait and achieve visual symmetry. 


3) rd of 4) - Factors about Costs for Framing Portraits*

Provided by Portrait, Inc.

Just like with portraits themselves, how much a frame should cost is dependent on a variety of factors. We think about budget restraints, customer preference and compatibility with other portraits.

Here are three of the biggest factors you’ll face about your frame that will affect the cost:

Open or closed. You’ll have two choices when it comes to choosing your frame: pre-finish open corner or closed corner gilded in metal leaf or gold. Our artists work with customers to make this decision.Large or small. This factor has to do with the size of the portrait. Simply put, if your painting is very large and requires a large frame, the cost will be higher. You also have to keep in mind the increased width of the molding. It needs to be a certain size to visually hold the painting in the frame and will affect the overall size. Ornate or simple. Molding can be very ornate or simple. If it’s too simple or small, the frame can disappear, but if it’s too elaborate, it can be distracting. Framers are great at finding a minimum balance thatdoesn’t detract from the painting, but enhances it. The more ornate the molding is, the higher the cost.

So how much will the frame cost? Because you’ve paid for a beautiful painting, many artists will tell you that the price of the frame should be secondary. Whatever works best for the painting is first and foremost. 

*Information for this article provided courtesy of Bill Craig, Guido Frames, Boston



From the eBay Store 7-25-13  

The correct frame can enhance any painting, brighten you house or office décor and remarkably add volatile essence to any art work.

Some say that choosing the right frame for your painting is really a matter of personal taste.  Others believe that choosing the correct frame for a painting is an exceptional work of art which stands on its own.

Below are some tips that can hopefully make this process a bit easier for you:

In general the following issues should be considered when choose a frame for your painting:

1.  Cost
2.  Painting's subject & style
3.  The atmosphere of the room where the painting will hang.
4.  The background color of the wall.

When choosing the correct frame, it is also a good suggestion to consult with the architect or interior designer of your home or office if available.

You can also look in local frame store, other homes or offices in order to get many ideas from paintings which are already framed and hanged on the wall.

Your local frame store will have frame profile colors and designs to choose from.  These designs will probably appear in the shape of a wooden or plastic corner.  Thought it may be a bit difficult to imagine the full outcome of the framed painting by looking at a small corner.  It may be a good idea to take several frame corner samples and match next to your painting & wall.  This way you can get a better concept of the finished product.

Wood or Plastic
Some people abide by wooden frames only.  However, with today's technology, if this is not an issue for you…you may be able to save some money and almost get the same results by choosing a plastic frame.

A.  The Classical Approach:
Choose a frame color which blends with your paintings' colors is with out a doubt the classical approach.  This is usually better suited for classical subjects. You may also want to use an antique style frame, or create a Mary Louise frame (composed of 2 frames).

B.  The Daring / Bold approach:
As in life, many people like to shock their surroundings.  Many people purposely choose a frame which is the opposite or contracts with the colors of the painting.  This usually does not fit all environments and should be performed carefully.

C.  The New Age Approach:
Gallery Wrap (no frame at all) the actual painting is stretched over a wooden frame which is not visible.  Usually chosen by your people for modern or abstract paintings.

As we said before choosing the right frame for your painting is really a matter of personal taste. We tried to do our best and hopefully we were able to make this process a bit easier for you.

Finding the right frame may take a lot of time, but we are sure that once you find the perfect match for your painting you will surely display your framed painting with honor.

We that all the above was helpful.





Excerpt from Robert Genn's Letter

Slow down to speed up

Speedy painters tend to do fresher work than pokey ones. On the other hand, they are also responsible for a lot of the messy stuff you see out there. Just for the sake of change, you might try forcibly slowing down. It's the "extra time" concept. It has something to do with gently living in the present and focusing on the potential of the work at hand. It can be done at the edge of a froggy pond or in a studio sanctuary. One needs to become aware of the relative time between stroking and contemplating.

"Look three times, think twice, paint once," is a time-honoured shibboleth.

Here's the ploy: Make a work of art that looks like it was done freshly and quickly--but take a long time to do it.   

Best regards,   Robert  

PS: "Hasten slowly." (Augustus Caesar) "Wait for that wisest of all counselors; Time." (Pericles) "Be here now." (Ram Dass)    



Sent from Steven Assael for our 3/6-3/9/2012 workshop 

"Dear Workshop Participants   We will be using No solvents at all.! No Gamsol. No odorless mineral spirits.. No odorless turpentine. The only thinner allowed is safflower oil , and or cold pressed linseed oil. We can use a drop of medium in addition to.. See my pallet ---but no Turpentine . The Venice turpentine is OK.. Which is a honey consistency.. But no other turpentine."

------------------------------ ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

1-24-12             Answer to a letter written to a recent Robert Genn Publication

The writer ows a basic misunderstanding of art and its market. How many of the public in Clovis or in America in fact, would want to hang a Rembrandt or a Rubens on their walls, let alone Jackson Pollock, even at a price they could afford, yet we all know these are great painters. The bidders did not like the paintings at the auctions nor it seems the frames.   Provincials, artists and buyers, rarely understand the  the Art of the big city and who is to say the big city taste is correct. Taste is taste and if the artist wants to SELL then he has to cater to his market or go to a different market if they will have him. If he caters to his market, the question then becomes is he an artist or merely an expensive manufacture of wallpaper.  The artist does not know his market nor it seems art.

Ted de Clercq

Web site:
The artist does not know his market nor it seems art.d de ClercqWeb si


Save your old brushes and dry medium residue

Save your old paint brushes and for smooth and even shading for charcoal, pastels, conti, etc.
Hint: when sharpening your dry materials, you may save the residue and put them in individual small containers with lid;
then you could use it for shadows, background, dry or with water, etc.



Excerpts from the PSoA Portfolio: ' Getting a Portrait Started'

Plan to take your time in the selection process as this is an important event. If you're attracted to an artist's work, but don't see an example of the type of portrait you'd like, check with them because they may have what you're seeking, but just didn't happen to put it in their portfolio.

After reviewing the artists carefully and narrowing your search, contact the artist. Ask questions and request more information or samples if you feel this is necessary. Travel & Location
of Artist Each artist has their own policies and procedures. However, in many cases, the artist travels to your location and may stay anywhere from one to several days. Some prefer to stay in a hotel, but other times a client's guest room or house is used. Most artists travel nationally and even internationally for a client, but some prefer to operate only locally. Travel and accomodation fees are normally extra, but a few artists include them in their portrait fee. Price & Budget Most of our artists show at least a starting price, others have a full price schedule and a few have chosen to omit prices from their pages altogether.

When agreeing to a commission, it's a good idea to have a contract with the price, a description of the portrait and the terms in writing. A deposit from one-third to fifty-percent is normal and this is usually collected at the intial preparation or sitting. Some artists who are very booked will charge a retainer (perhaps 10%) to put you on their schedule, with the balance of the deposit due at the preparation appointment. What to Wear & the Setting

There are no hard and fast rules, however, avoid garish colors and loud prints. Neutral tones such as black, brown, white, cream, navy, burgundy and beige will not be tiring to the eye. However, that does not mean you can't wear yellow, pink or other colors — colors convey moods, so think about the mood you'd like. Also, choosing clothes with a classic style will insure that your portrait will not later look dated.

Consider your lifestyle and where the portrait will hang in making the choice of a formal or informal look. Though outdoor portraits are normally considered less formal, there are some that are actually quite formal. Conversely, an indoor portrait could be quite casual. It's a combination of factors, including the clothing, setting and character of the subject.

Strasburg clothes have long been very popular for children's portraits. You can check out some of their selections at their website."


Is an Artist Born or Made?

by  Courtney, Artist Magazine

Jeremiah by Michelangelo Buonarroti and one of his sketches in the Sistine Chapel, 1511.

I think the affinity that I have for art is definitely inborn. Art isn’t something I grew up with or was tutored in, so when I stumbled upon it on my own, something clicked. The natural ability to draw and paint is ingrained in some people, too. But not all of us are gifted with an innate artistic sense, and I don’t think talent cancels out the equally important willingness and desire to steep yourself in and truly perfect your craft.

Some artists have egos and some even have enough talent for them to believe their work is heaven-sent—a panacea that can change the world. Me? I’ve never felt more human than when I’m drawing or painting. That’s when I feel truly humble, as I fumble and grope for ways of capturing the life, atmosphere, movement, and excitement of the world around me in a drawing or painting. But don’t get me wrong—it is an impassioned struggle, a glorious goal worth reaching for.
Whenever I pick up a pencil or brush, I think of Michelangelo. He was gifted beyond belief and is at the zenith of Western art, but his life wasn’t easy—it set the precedent for the kind of mental anguish and doubt that put truth to the term “tortured artist.” He constantly felt that his hands could never attain what he saw in his mind’s eye. No matter how much arrogance and umbrage he displayed in public, he was plagued by the same indecision and doubt that I feel when I’m really committed to a project but am not quite sure if it is going to come together the way I hope.

That’s why I make it a point of seeking out new inspiration and quality art instruction. Without either of these, you can’t hope to fully utilize the talent and skill you have. Draw with Confidence is a DVD built on David Kitler’s years of teaching nature and wildlife drawing. He delves into creating depth, value shifts, types, and positioning parts in relation to a whole with the same high level of insight and detail. Quick Studies in Oils is another good starting point if you aren’t sure how to bring together your creative abilities and technical skills. It’s an engaging DVD that can provoke new ideas and confidence with brushstrokes and paint manipulation, which are both key to making significant breakthroughs in your work. 


Master the Art of Drama in Oil PortraitureSpacer 10x10 pixelsby Ron Hick, Artist MagazineMastering Portraiture in oil with Ron Hicks

Now you can deepen the dramatic effect of your portraiture with the exciting DVD Courtney mentioned Monday on Artist Daily.  Join virtuosic Ron Hicks for a full hour of step-by-step oil portraiture techniques and an in-depth demonstration. Follow along as he shows how to create an accurate portrait while keeping true to your artistic voice and vision.

  • Learn the essentials of portraiture from sketching to depicting the subtle features of your model. Skip the guesswork and see results in your own work with up-close shots and step-by-step guidance. Master the fine art of balance with insight on editing features, creating a variety in highlights, and more. Make every brushstroke matter, with Ron’s approach to keep from overworking your piece.
  • Create at your own pace: start and stop the lesson when it's convenient for you.
  • And more!


Don't Paint the Sky Blue!

by  Courtney, Artist Magazine

Because it’s hardly ever really blue. Think of Turner’s skies or even Monet’s—they are multifaceted and carry the hum of several colors. As many of us transition from painting outdoors to inside the studio, we can sometimes make assumptions and take certain things for granted like the color of sky or water, perhaps because we may see our subjects primarily in photographs, or maybe because the weather or busy schedules give us a much more limited timeframe to go out and work in the landscape.

When it comes time for me to paint from an aerial perspective, I think of Georges Seurat’s paintings. This may be an extreme example, but for me his work demonstrates an awareness of the prevalence of color, especially in the sky. Thinking of his pointillist dots helps me remember that color is everywhere. In the spirit of this, I pulled together a few tips on painting the sky to help stave off the “blue syndrome.”

Build up the sky with various tones, and not just blue ones. Really look at the sky and see what colors are there. A rainy day can often have gray, green, and even yellow tinges to it. A sunset is often much darker than I usually paint it the first time, and can contain all kinds of deep reds, pinks, and purples.

Don’t paint the brightness of the sky alone—paint the shadows in it to give a sense of space and depth. The more moisture in the air, the more reflections—and, as a result, the more color—you will find. Even when the sky is clear there is a sense of depth perception to our field of vision. In every case, question how that occurs and try to accentuate it.

Clouds reflect the light in the sky. Even on a picture perfect day, when clouds look white and the sky looks blue, don’t reach for blue and white alone. They can make a painting look flat and clichéd. Experiment with the colors you perceive in reflections and the light to add depth and greater realism.

Adding texture to the painting surface can give an entirely different sense of atmosphere than you can get by manipulating paint color. Experiment with thick and thin strokes of paint and new mediums for surprising results.

The sky tends to lighten toward the horizon. Be mindful of this as you are painting because this alone can help create a more convincing landscape painting.


It's Not in the Details

Excerpts - FROM:  Courtney of the Artist Magazine

I think photography has altered the way we judge the painted portrait. With the ability to capture a photographic likeness—from the details of a person’s features to the minute expressions on the face—came the idea that the more detail you can render, the better your portrait. When it comes to painting, however, this isn’t always the case. Unless an artist is aiming for hyperrealism, chasing a photograph’s appearance with paint can lead to artwork that feels strained and contrived.

Colorado artist Ron Hicks strikes a strong balance between truly seeing his subject and executing a painting that goes beyond the details. In his upcoming Artist Daily DVD, Mastering Oil Portrait Painting with Ron Hicks, the artist explains that the foundation of any portrait is created with four or five distinct shapes. This is because no two individual’s shapes, or the way the light falls on those shapes, are alike.

It’s a liberating idea, and gives us all a certain level of freedom to pursue portraiture in our own way. You can seek out those distinguishing shapes and then add your own “discovery,” of your subject, as Hicks calls it. It could be a mood or facial expression that catches your attention. Adding your response to a portrait’s shapes is what makes the work unique.

Hicks’ approach to portraiture strongly resonated with me, and I think it’ll inspire you, too. Stay tuned for more information about Ron's upcoming DVD on Artist Daily, and in the meantime there are brand new resources for all genres, approaches, and media in our online store. Enjoy!



Excerpts - FROM:  Courtney of the Artist Magazine "I have a confession to make: I've never glazed with oils. The process intimidates me a bit—creating luminosity and an inner glow on canvas is no easy feat—and I often lose steam after about the second layer. It takes so much time, and having to be so conscious of getting the layers thin sometimes trips me up. However, I've asked around and done some research and I've discovered that I'm not alone in my experience. Many painters don't glaze properly or consistently, and some use it just as a way to mask drawing mistakes.

Don't get me wrong; I love the slick, glossy surface that such artists as Tintoretto and Titian are known for. And when I've worked with glazes, there is something almost meditative about going over and over the surface with a brush, smoothing out every stroke so that it gleams. Then, of course, there are the colors. Maxfield Parrish is one of my favorite artists, mostly because his colors are so vibrant. He was an expert at glazing and produced surfaces that had the appearance of stained glass. Tube colors with intense Chroma still can't compare to the built-up jewel tones that come through when glazing.   
I think it's the waiting that stymies me the most. Pausing until each previous layer is absolutely dry means I'm painting less. This can be really frustrating when all I want to do is paint. But, whether it's easy or not, the effects of glazing are breathtaking. I love the tinted glow it enables painters to achieve. Sometimes my time or inclination don't allow for it, but there is something exciting about immersing myself in a technique just to see how it works and discover what I can learn from the process. I'm open to it, and I think that's enough for now.

Our latest issue of Highlights covers so many different processes that you might want to explore just for curiosity's sake. From dry brush techniques, to uncovering the similarities of oils and pastels, to painting alla prima—Highlights is an in-depth resource of both practical and artistic approaches from leading artists of the past and present. Courtney"


Mildew / Mold Prevention Excerpts - FROM:  Ted de Clercq of Naples, Artist and Teacher
"This is exactly what I suggest to do. i would also suggest to varnish the painting as soon as it is well dried. Mold loves linseed oil and it grows right into the paint. varnish will stop this from happening. Some people like to wait until six months for the painting to  dry but isolation varnish or retouch varnish which can be used between the layers of a painting  made of damar or copal. I dont use either but it confirms that  a layer of varnish. once a painting is dry would not damage a painting.  You may have to varnish it again after six months as the varnish may be absorbed by some areas of the painting and will look mat.
" Ted de Clercq"


A Model’s Pose: It Needs to Come Naturally - Excerpts FROM: The Artist Magazine's Quang Ho "I'm a lounger by nature. Why stand when I can sit? Why sit when I can curl up on the nearest comfy couch? This has made my posture the bane of my grandmother's existence, but it has put me in good stead with artist-friends who need a model that doesn't stiffen up. Having attended demonstrations and been in classes where really good artists work with models, the quality that those artists almost always try to tease out from their sitters is an implicit ease; a natural, unposed quality that seems effortless yet is visually interesting.

From my experience, the best way of putting a model at ease is to just give them time. Anyone can freeze up like a statue for a few minutes, but giving models the opportunity to relax and get familiar with the artist they are working with and the environment they are in will usually help them to unwind. I was at a Quang Ho demo a few weeks ago, and his model was a little tense at the beginning of the class. But before he started painting, the artist gave a 30-minute lecture. By the end of his talk, the model had gotten comfortable, and when Quang turned to her, he announced to the class that he was ready. He didn't alter her position at all—she was sitting naturally in a way that was characteristic to her, which is what he'd wanted all along.
Allowing models to incorporate clothing and jewelry that indicate their personal style can put them at ease while creating a unique visual treatment.

When you have your sketchbook and are out drawing or taking inspirational photos of places and people, think about the kinds of poses you are drawn to. Is the figure compact and curled up or loose-limbed? Supine or prone? Active or at rest? For me, I have always been drawn to more compressed poses that hide more than they reveal and that put more asymmetry into the human form. It's certainly not a classical treatment, but it's what my eye finds engaging.

I sometimes draw inspiration for model poses from magazines, but more often from other artwork, like the paintings featured in Portrait Highlights, which has many interesting examples of different kinds of portrait set-ups and figure positions that are useful for artists when it comes to working with a model in the studio. There's also a lot of discussion about how to create a composition that features the figure in a convincing way, and this comes straight from the artists themselves. Plus Drawing From the Manikin is a DVD that teaches you the principles that have surrounded figure drawing for hundreds of years. It allows you to see the range of motion, stances, and poses a body can create in an approachable way. Together, these resources give a sense of how the human figure can be featured in your artwork and create a rewarding and engaging way to learn.


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artists, teachers, students, our communities - national and international,
in their professional growth and success.

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* Portrait and Figure Painters Society of SW Florida, Inc.
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