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This movie is hosted on YouTube, which greatly degrades the quality. Click here to see a better quality version of the video demo.

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Reader Comments (6)

Sadie, thank you so much for the video. I love to watch how other artists work. So it took 60 hours? Wow. It was worth every minute because it looks beautiful.

August 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Ross

I went through your blog from the start, in a wholesome, non-cyber-stalky kind of way :-)

As someone who is delving into a more thorough study of realism, I feel really encouraged by how much progress you've made over this time - leaps and bounds!

...Just curious, how frequent is your studio time? What sort of hours do you put in regularly?

August 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSpatula

Hi Spatula!

I am incredibly fortunate to have been able to focus on my art full time for the last couple years – an unexpected circumstance that I am grateful for every moment of every day. I currently spend about 2o hours a week actually at the easel painting, not including all the other stuff like cleaning/prep/documenting.

But the thing is, I don't think you have to spend that much time to be able to paint and draw exactly the way you want to. In fact, anyone who really really wants it could draw 10 times better in the next moment from now.

I've come to believe that artmaking is mostly about getting out of one's own way. It doesn't have to be time spent frustrated and wishing you could do something you can't do yet. Although I spent a lot of time doing just that, now I think I could have skipped all that in an instant if I weren't tripping over myself most the time.

Just focus on looking. That's all you really need to do. When I am getting frustrated and feeling like the painting is getting away from me, I realize I am not looking a the subject, I'm mostly looking at my own painting.

I try to look at the subject between every brushstroke. It takes a lot of discipline and I still have to remind myself to do it. It's sooo tempting just to stare at your own marks - which becomes watching your painting circle the drain.

It's like learning to put your fork down between every bite, Which I don't do, but probably should :)

That's it - instant art growth. It doesn't take any time at all!! Just a big dose of introspection and honesty and discipline. All of which are very difficult, but are also conceivably instantaneous.

August 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSadie Jernigan Valeri

Thanks, Sadie! I'm going to really practice looking longer, because it's something I noticed last weekend, painting a big, confusing bundle of weeds. The longer I looked at it, the less out of control I felt.

My other approach is to do lots of prep studies, instead of hurling myself into the painting. I've been doing small scale 4-tone grisaille studies and super-simple poster colour ones, and it's stupefyingly useful.

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSpatula

Studies are a great idea. My friend Mary who is an amazing painter told me to choose to focus on drawing OR color OR value in a painting for a while at least. I think studies are a good way to do this.

Also, the thing I found out about green when I was painting a lot outside this spring is what we see as green really is actually a lot of yellow or blue, a lot more than we think. You can basically paint a green as a yellow or a blue and add the tiniest bit of the composite color to suggest green, and it reads very green. Not sure if that helps, I'm certainly no master at it, but worth playing with :)

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSadie Jernigan Valeri

Dear Sadie!
I´m a Student from Germany and at this moment, I am in Paris for six month to study and to do a copy in the Louvre.
The painting I copy is made by a French Artist of the 19th Century named Théodore Chasseriau. It represents his daughter Aline Chasseriau (title).
By now I am searching the Internet to find some useful technical hints, because I don't know, in what technique he has done the under-painting. During my research, I found your marvellous Homepage and discovered your technical knowledge about painting technique of the 19th century.
Great work! You really got it! Congratulations!
Soon I was wondering, if you might be able to help me with my questions.
If you know something about my subject, I´d be very thankful.
The questions are as follows:
(you can see Paintings of Chasseriau through google)
For the under- painting:
Is he maybe using fine charcoal powder and varnish (dammar) or is it egg- tempera?
It is also possible that he uses the same mixture like you for the under- painting.
At least: what exactly do you use?
I hope you can help me.
I already consulted the technical advice of Max Doerners Book: "Painting Material and Its Usage in the Painting".
Doerner discusses the techniques of Rubens, Titian, Rembrandt and Duerer and Van Eyck but I think the French Artists of the 19 th century developed an own technique which might be close to yours.
Simon Rosnthal

October 31, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSimon
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