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Portrait Painting Atelier: Old Master Techniques and Contemporary Applications Hardcover – March 9, 2010


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Portrait Painting Atelier: Old Master Techniques and Contemporary Applications + Classical Painting Atelier: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Studio Practice + Classical Drawing Atelier: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Studio Practice
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (March 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082309927X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823099276
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 9.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

SUZANNE BROOKER received her BFA at the California Institute of the Arts in 1979, attended by invitation the Whitney Museum Independent Study program in New York, and pursued her drawing and painting studies at the School of Visual Arts. Brooker has taught drawing and painting at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, Washington since1999.

More About the Author

My passion for the visual world and the pursuit of making images began at any early age and has motivated my work as an artist. How images evoke memory, create metaphor, capture a relatedness between viewer and artist, awaken an aesthetic response has been an ongoing investigation. I work primarily from observation, often using my own photographs, as well as newspaper images and works of other artists, historical and contemporary, as source material. A series of paintings usually evolves from a metaphoric theme, a pictorial problem of light and space or a dialogue created between abstraction (flat surface) and representation (illusion of form).
Drawing plays an important part in my creative process, whether to sharpen my perceptions or to discover the calligraphic mark underlying a gesture. The paintbrush becomes a way to draw-in-paint, dancing over the surface, that combines intensive layering of transparent paint with areas of thicker, more gesturally applied paint. One of my goals as an artist is to combine Old Master approaches to paint palettes and techniques combined with modern notions of the paint surface. This has lead me to explore a rich variety of paint layers involving the transparency of paint over fields of toned grounds in contrast to more direct, gestural "traces" left by a painted stroke. The calligraphy of the brush mark, whether scumbled, dabbed, blended or loosely drawn through the paint becomes the means for developing a rich surface. Overall my aim is to create a sense of a glow of light emanating from within the figure rather than a reflection from the surface of the skin.
The human dilemma expressed through anatomical gesture would be the simplest way to describe my current work. It was during my graduate studies in figurative painting that I became deeply involved in the beautiful complexity of rendering the human body. I drew bones, painted from cadavers, and studied the art of the Renaissance in order to find that moment of the "telling" gesture that reveals humanity through the human form. How to convey the unique qualities of a person set within the context of the universal human drama, the expression of their individuality, is more important to me in a portrait painting, then who they are as a social identity.

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book for those artists who want to brush up on their skills or for beginners.
Susan M. Friedman
I had just completed a class on old master techniques on portrait painting and this book was a excellent summary of the class.
Michael Martonick
I was attracted by the cover of the book but was a bit disappointed at most of the paintings inside the book.
rockpainter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

100 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Tom Kosmo on April 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book contains some valuable information and tips on this difficult topic. The skin tone colour mixing part is especially helpful, and the illustrations are informative and high quality. I really like the way it goes into detail on different elements of the face, on application of paint and on toned grounds. Nevertheless, this book suffers from the same problem as all of them do. The step by step demonstrations are all made by the author/artist himself. This results in a lot of demonstrations basically using the same approach in different variations. I would really like to see a book of this kind with demonstrations by different artists, displaying different approaches and techniques! If you are very interested in glazing techniques, this should really satisfy you, since all the demonstrations involve a lot of glazing. That beeing said, the book actually includes a mini-demonstration by another artist with a different approach.

All in all a great book for the intermediate painter who wants to learn more about depicting the human form.
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70 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Trader100 on March 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author presents a coherent approach to painting in traditional "Old Master" style. To absorb the wealth of
valuable information takes several readings, as well as working through the exercises and much practice. Techniqes
are clearly described.
There are some impressive examples of painted portraits -- but not by the author. The step by step demos she herself
does are not inspiring and result in stiff, "tight", uninteresting images.
This book will be most useful to painters who have some experience and have already encountered the technical issues the author describes. Beginners will probably find it overwhelming.
Incidentally, the author's mentor Domenic Cretara, who supplies the introduction, is a modern master in his own
right, and his work is well worth looking up online.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Serge Rio on March 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I received this book yesterday and love it.

I think this will be one of those books which keep growing in value long after they have been sold out. This book is in the same class in regard to the traditional indirect methods of painting as Richard Schmid's Alla Prima in regard to direct painting. Although its focus is on portraiture the techniques and principles can be applied to figure painting and even still life. I have been studied traditional painting for two years and still find gems of advice nearly on every page. I can foresee that this book will be my companion for a long time.

The book is richly illustrated but the quality of illustrations is not consistent. Most of the other artists' paintings are images of reasonable quality. Author's paintings, though, look a bit drab. I suspect not because she can't paint but because the photographer stuffed it up. This becomes evident if you look at images depicting tools, blobs of paint etc. They look equally drab. The biggest disappointment is the quality of images representing swatches for colour mixing exercises. The author seeks to demonstrate subtle nuances in tone and temperature. However the quality of images basically ruins her effort as it serves as a poor illustration for her recipes. The darks, in particular, nearly all look the same. I am sure the author did not mean it that way.

Five star for the author, one for the photographer of her artwork.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By illustrator on February 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was greatly disappointed in this book when I compared it to the other two books in the "Atelier" series. The best painting by Ms. Brooker is displayed on the cover design. The other of her paintings do not match that quality. There are some interesting portraits done by other artists that give some insight and pleasure, but they are all too few. The color tips in the book are generally useless. As a student of old master techniques, I did not find her examples illuminating or educational. I wish I had not purchased this book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By loves lace on April 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As an intermediate portrait painter,I really enjoyed this book and found many of the exercises with toned grounds particularly useful. The one area I found frustrating was the colour exercises since many of the suggested paints use names that are not in common use but are used more by individual manufacturers such as Rosso Veneto, Barok Red, Terra Rosa and Puzzuoli Red (from a volcano in Italy?) These paint colours can vary widely from manufacturer to manufacturer and since no brand names are specified, it makes it difficult to replicate her exercises. Flesh Ochre,for example, which is a mixed colour, is made of different pigments in Sennelier(PR43,PY43,PR102)and Old Holland(PY42,PR188,PR102). I finally resorted to doing some of the exercises using the paints on hand (mostly Gamblin,Daniel Smith,and Holbein) and using these charts as a reference. This is a book that will continue to be a valuable reference and I recommend it highly.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By O'Henry123 on November 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The quality of the work by the writer of this book was extremely dissapointing. The portrait on the cover of the book is done by another very accomplished artist and when venturing further into the material it is clear that the authors work is well below standard. I would not recommend this book to individuals who are serious students of master works. If they want to pursue classical realism they would do far better with Anthony Ryders publications.
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