Have any Sargent, Zorn and Valasquez fans seen this on Youtube?


  • Thoroughly enjoyable and informative video.

    Thanks for posting @toujours

  • Now we will have to wait, @MichaelD to see if he is able to resolve the issues that arose....
  • As long as you're thinking about Zorn, et al, you might enjoy this short video:

  • Well, if it was interesting but don't think he really got anywhere! I was hoping we'd learn a bit more, but I guess we've see if he gets further in the other videos.
  • He made a good interesting video but I think there's nobody explained painting better than Mark. 
  • Cesar Cordova's video is useful to see the range of the zorn Palette.

    Also here's a link from James Gurney's blog :

    It's Sargent's painting notes! 

     1.Painting is an interpretation of tone. Colour drawn with a brush.

    2. Keep the planes free and simple, drawing a full brush down the whole contour of a cheek.

    3. Always paint one thing into another and not side by side until they touch.

    4. The thicker your paint—the more your color flows.
    5. Simplify, omit all but the most essential elements—values, especially the values. You must clarify the values.

    6. The secret of painting is in the half tone of each plane, in economizing the accents and in the handling of the lights.

    7. You begin with the middle tones and work up from it . . . so that you deal last with your lightest lights and darkest darks, you avoid false accents.

    8. Paint in all the half tones and the generalized passages quite thick.

    9. It is impossible for a painter to try to repaint a head where the understructure was wrong.

    I mean wow...
    If he added a no. 10 it would have been the Ten Commandments of painting  :) 
  • Yes, @Richard_P, it seems so far he has discovered there are more related and inherent problems than results. 

    @kaustavM,  perhaps, but it is good to watch and learn and cement things others have said in a different way.  Often we know something intellectually and understand; yet a comment from someone outside your normal sphere can make that fact clearer and more relevant.  I found what he spoke of in setting out the palette resonated more with me, more than anyone else has, perhaps because he (as am I) tends towards the  messy?
    Mark has always struck me as very methodical.  Sometimes, a voice in my head shouts "...yeh, yeh, but you are a naturally tidy person..."   when I hear him suggest order is the key.   Now I am picturing the palette as a piano and realising I am doomed because I am tone deaf and have no musical aptitude, so will therefore never paint well !!  (Joke)
    Thanks for that @broker12,   It gives a very basic idea of what his palette was, but he was able to make the hues sing in a way the video does not quite capture.   I think Zorn's palette will continue to fascinate artists for many years to come.
     I know my interest in him lies in his brushwork, rather than his colour mixing (fascinating though it is).  Perhaps because I am not a portrait or figure painter his colour holds less interest to me than his execution, although, I know some landscape artists use this palette.

    If all we learn from this is that these artists found a way to work which developed a brilliance and talent unique to them, than so be it.    Sometimes, it is what we do not learn, rather than what we do learn that is important.    If nothing else, discovering how he worked will perhaps stop people making comparisons and saying     "...so and so paints like Sargent...."     As the chap said, the result may be similar, but the way of achieving it was certainly not.
  • @Marinos_88, thank you so much for posting that link and the 9 Commandments, what gems!

    Pleased that someone so illustrious used Prussian Blue.    That has always been my blue of choice, but it never seems to be mentioned by anyone.   I felt perhaps everyone knew something I did not about blue hues.    I feel I am in good company now!

    I will look up Cesar Cordova's video.
  • @toujours How interesting to watch him work through things. Thank you for posting, it’s so fun finding interesting art video’s . 
  • edited October 25
    Really enjoying his honest exploration of it. The humility to take us into his struggles helps a lot.
    * Painting from further back is the way I was taught, placing the easel to match the size of model across - stand back, see the mark you should make, charge your brush, make your mark, stand back. It was almost a brush stroke at a time rather than standing there painting. Exactly his problem - getting there and not recalling where the mark was supposed to be.
    It wasn't quite as far back though, but by half closing your eyes you created that same simplification into a tonal shape. This reduces the walking and memory for the same result.
    * Tonal shapes not lines: We had no sketch. Is he sure Sargent sketched? We started with big blocks of tone rather than sketching little lines - so you get the form of the painting much earlier. In the video he's talking about line where light meets dark. We painted shapes where dark meets light and the shape of the edge. In moments you have the main forms on the canvas blocked in. Then adjust. Next biggest difference.
    * 'dark background over the shape': Same for Australian tonalism. When you simplify, the shadow beside the tree or face and the dark side of the tree/face are one painted shape, not two. It's very powerful - it makes you really painterly. You don't paint objects. You paint simplified tonal areas. Only when you have established the big tonal shapes that ultimately define the form and the drama of contrast do you later start to go for differences.
    There are differences in technique, but at heart it's very similar to what I was taught. I'm really interested to explore the differences in technique - but a lot of it is quite intuitive for me because I was passed through the discipline of parts of it.
  • There are few living artists that actually get close to that Sargent look. In my opinion, a young moldovian artist named Elena Bria gets pretty close. Yes, her transitions could be softer but overall she nails the fluid, elegant, uncluttered look very well. 

  • edited October 25
    And to address some of the handicaps he mentions, one of the things that you are told to train is your visual memory. For example, the students that studied with Gammell would describe him setting up a model in one room and the easel in another and then they were told to observe the model and run to the other room to draw.
  • Some interesting contributions in this thread.

    Great stuff

  • Thanks for posting. I found his honesty in his struggles brings up things I haven’t thought of in a while.
    His points about visual memory is spot on.  I found that when I drew directly from a model my visual memory was strengthened by seeing the relationship of each new line to as many lines as I had already drawn, usually in horizontal and vertical relationships.
    His struggle with getting a likeness is a difficult one. Good visual memory helps but looking for key points regarding eyes, nose, mouth, etc., is important.  I used the sight size method for that.  He’s right though if you are too far away to see details then just sight size the shapes.  You will still get a good likeness the same as recognizing a friend from a distance.
    I found that Douglas Graves’ book is probably the best at describing this, step by step.  (Years ago I did every drawing in his book).  Here’s a link to his book.

    The Sargent or Zorn pallet no doubt has a lot to do with the Sargent look.  As well of course the lighting, brushwork, sequence of application.  In other words pretty much everything that every painter faces in their own way.  

    I wonder why there is so much attention or desire to paint like Sargent?  Why so many Impressionist painters?
  • I'm interested in the visual memory thing. I think that, like most skills, it takes training. I used to have virtually none. But over the last 5 years of painting it has improved a great deal. I can now look at my subject or reference from a couple of paces back then go to the easel and lay in several strokes without having to look at the subject or reference again. This makes painting faster and reduces walking distance. I still clock up a couple of kilometers a day, though, as I walk back and forth to and from the easel. But that's ok - I need to keep my step count up so I can eat more than one cracker a day without putting on weight.  :)

    As @Abstraction mentioned above, the Australian tonal impressionists used the same technique as Zorn and Sargent. And Velasquez was their hero. But, like many other good things, the technique got cast aside by art schools and almost forgotten with the move to abstract expressionism. It's good that there is renewed interest in it.
  • My visual memory falls apart even when I'm not moving at all from the easel. I repeated a section of rocks in the wrong place on my seascape and had to fix it. Or bring the brush loaded with paint all ready and think... Wait... Where am I again?
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