Learning: Portrait & Figure – Oil
(also see Portrait & Figure Instruction DVD's & Videos)

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Inside the Studio of R. H. Ives Gammell by Allan R Banks – Hardcover: 112 pages; Abbey Brooke (Mar 31, 2019)

Allan R. Bank's daily notes, recorded during the Summer of 1976.

Painting Classic Portraits: Great Faces Step by Step by Luana Luconi Winner – Hardcover: 144 pages; North Light Books (Feb 4, 2013) Best Seller

Using modern-day techniques, Luana Luconi Winner shows you how to capture not only a physical likeness, but also the personality and unique, natural expression of your subject. Her direct, relaxed teaching style takes the intimidation out of painting portraits, empowering artists of any skill level and medium to turn ordinary people into exceptional works of art.

How to Paint Living Portraits by Roberta Carter Clark – Paperback: 160 pages; North Light Books; 2nd edition (Apr 26, 2011) Best Seller

Since its original publication, this best-selling book has earned a loyal following among students of portraiture. Back in print by popular demand, How to Paint Living Portraits has been updated to help today's artists discover the joys of this time-honored tradition. Hands-on instruction covers a range of ages and ethnicities, offering a practical approach to creating successful, spirited portraits in charcoal, oils and watercolor.

Painting and Drawing the Head by Daniel Shadbolt – Paperback: 160 pages; Crowood Press (Nov 1, 2016)

Painting and Drawing the Head combines technical instruction, art history references, and thoughts on the day-to-day practice of painting the head from life. The rich text, supported by more than 100 paintings, gives a thoughtful account of the process of capturing a likeness. After introducing materials, principles, and ideas, it follows the course of painting a head in five sittings, providing unique insight and practical comment throughout: from the choice of ground for the picture, through the set-up, the structure of the sessions, guidance on how to compose and what palette to use, all the way to the later stages of developing a portrait over time.

Portraits from Life in 29 Steps by John Howard Sanden, Elizabeth Sanden – Hardcover: 144 pages; North Light Books (Aug 1999)

Creating a likeness of a person is one of the greatest challenges an artist can face. In this book, John Howard Sanden makes the challenge much more achievable by breaking it down into 29 logical steps. Working in the exciting premier coup tradition, you will learn to execute a finished portrait in a single sitting, starting with your very first stroke. Perfected by Sanden over three decades of painting and teaching, this 29-step method will help you create convincing, lively portraits every time.

Painting Beautiful Skin Tones With Color & Light in Oil, Pastel and Watercolor by Chris Saper Hardcover: 127 pages; North Light Books (Aug 2001)

Written by Stroke of Genius artist Chris Saper. Artists constantly tell us that they need guidance for rendering skin tones in their portraiture. This book helps them overcome this elusive challenge by providing a clear set of easy-to-follow principles for painting a variety of skin tones in three major mediums--oil, pastel and watercolor. The first chapter is rooted in the basics, showing artists how to recognize and use the five major elements of painting: drawing, value, color, composition and edges. From there, artists learn how to work with light, shadow and color to effectively capture the beautiful skin tones of various ethnic groups, including Caucasian, Asian, African-American and Hispanic. Next, artists discover how to execute the principles learned, using detailed instruction for color selection, mixing and application. Four mini-demos, three long demos and many examples illustrate the lessons. Artists will benefit from advice on shooting and choosing photographs to paint, how to edit their compositions and work past their limitations.

Painting Portraits by Everett Raymond Kinstler, Susan E. Meyer – Hardcover: 144 pages; Watson-Guptill; Revised edition (Nov 1987)

Figure Painting in Oil by Douglas R. Graves – Paperback: 156 pages; Dover Publications (Nov 1996)

Handy, well-written guide shows how to paint the nude figure in an easy-to-follow series of 24 fully illustrated projects. Materials and equipment; anatomy, proportion; utilization of hues, tones and values; plus how to paint major parts of body: head, arms, hands, legs, feet and torso from front and back. Over 190 illustrations, 33 in full color.

Portraits in Oil the Van Wyk Way by Helen Van Wyk – Paperback: 126 pages; North Light Books (Feb 2001)

Helen Van Wyk mastered the art of portraiture by using color, shadow and artistic expression to capture the personalities of her subjects. In her inspiring instructional style, she teaches artists of all abilities to paint portraits successfully.

Light for the Artist by Ted Seth Jacobs Hardcover: 144 pages; Watson-Guptill (Jun 1988)

I was unable to find any kind of description for this book, so it was difficult to know where to place it. It seems to be relevant to all mediums. I suspect that it also addresses natural light, so it would not be appropriate under photography. However, since oil portraiture and the lighting of one's subject is a large and important topic, I've decided to place it in this category. —Cynthia Daniel, Owner

Painting the Head in Oil by John Howard Sanden – Hardcover: 152 pages; Watson-Guptill (Mar 1976)

Painting Portraits by Everett Raymond Kinstler, Susan E. Meyer Kinstler – Paperback; Watson-Guptill; 1st edition (1978)

The Art of Painting Portraits and Features (A Grumbacher Art Library book) by Joe Maniscalco – Unknown Binding: 30 pages; Grumbacher (1974)

Joe Maniscalco is father of Robert Maniscalco, who is listed on this site.

The Fine Art of Portraiture: An Academic Approach by Frank Covino – Hardcover: 176 pages; Van Nostrand Reinhold Company; 1st edition (1970)

Keys to Painting Better Portraits by Foster Caddell – Hardcover: 144 pages; Watson-Guptill (Sep 1982)

Oil Painting Portraits (The Dk Art School) by Ray Smith – First Edition, Hardcover: 72 page; Dorling-Kindersley

Richard Schmid Paints the Figure: Advanced Techniques in Oil by Richard Schmid – Hardcover: 142 pages; Watson-Guptill (Nov 1973)

A highly desired and very collectible book and the price reflects this.

Painting the Head in Oil by Margaret Carter Baumgaertner

Note: "Peggy" Baumgaertner won Best of Show in the Portrait Society of America 2000 portrait competition.

Margaret Carter Baumgaertner's internationally successful DVD's have enriched the lives of portrait artists world wide. Her DVDs take the artist from conception and drawing to the finished painting.

Each DVD series focuses on a particular area, such as Painting the Corporate Portrait, or Painting the Alma Prima Portrait. The DVDs are a valuable supplement to Baumgaertner's workshops. The beauty of the DVD is that the artist can watch it over and over again!

Learning how to interpret information from a photograph or a live model is critical to the success of a painting. Baumgaertner teaches the portrait artist how to see and how to translate that information and apply it to the painting. Her DVDs are thorough. Baumgaertner provides detailed information, describes painting techniques, and demonstrates them.

Painting the Corporate Portrait by Margaret Carter Baumgaertner

Painting the Ala Prima Portrait by Margaret Carter Baumgaertner

Drawing the Head in Sauce by Margaret Carter Baumgaertner

Complete Guide to Portrait Painting by Furman J Finck Hardcover: 207 pages: Watson-Guptill (1970)

The Art of Drawing & Painting Portraits by Tim Chambers, Ken Goldman, Peggi Habets, Lance Richlin – Paperback: 144 pages; Walter Foster Publishing; 1st edition (Sep 1, 2012) Best Seller

With instructions and step-by-step projects for creating an array of portaits, this all-inclusive book covers everything about portraiture in the most popular drawing and painting media. Ideal for beginning artists who would like to experiment with different media, The Art of Drawing & Painting Portraits teaches the artist how to create beautiful and realistic portraits in pencil, pastel, watercolor, oil, and acrylic.

Painting by Design: Getting to the Essence of Good Picture-Making by Charles Reid – Paperback: 146 pages; Echo Point Books & Media; Reprint edition (Dec 16, 2015) Best Seller

Charles Reid is beloved as a teacher for his ability to guide students beyond the superficial and straight into the heart of what makes good painting good. In Painting by Design he explains how seeing your painting subjects in terms of light, shadow, shape, value, and color, will help you create striking works that embody effective design while capturing the intangible essence of the subject.

Classic Portrait Painting in Oils: Keys to Mastering Diverse Skin Tones by Chris Saper – Hardcover: 144 pages; North Light Books; 1st edition (Feb 13, 2012) Best Seller

Chris Saper takes the mystery and guesswork out of portrait painting while leaving its joy fully intact. Continuing the exploration started in the her first book, Painting Beautiful Skin Tones with Color & Light, this sequel offers step-by-step demonstrations that cover an even wider range of ethnic groups and ages.

Drawing and Painting People: The Essential Guide by Jeff Blocksidge, Mary Burzlaff – Paperback: 192 pages; North Light Books (Nov 2, 2007)

An Introduction to Painting Portraits by Rosalind Cuthbert, Geraldine Christy (Editor), Paul Forrester and Laura Wickenden (Photographer) Hardcover: 128 pages; Chartwell Books (2005)

The question of what makes a good likeness may be impossible to answer. What you need to know as an artist, however, is how to go about capturing it and that's exactly what Rosalind Cuthbert provides. From understanding proportion and developing fluency to selecting the right medium, all the basics are covered in her down-to-earth practical approach. This edition is beautifully illustrated throughout, in full color, with step-by-step demonstrations.

An Introduction to Painting Portraits by Rosalind Cuthbert – Paperback: 128 pages; Apple Press (Sep 24, 2004)

The question of what makes a good likeness may be impossible to answer. What you need to know as an artist, however, is how to go about capturing it and that is exactly what Rosalind Cuthbert provides in An Introduction to Painting Portraits. From understanding proportion and developing fluency to selecting the right medium, all the basics are covered in her down-to-earth practical approach.

Fabric of Vision by Anne Hollander – Paperback: 192 pages; National Gallery London (Jul 1, 2002)

Note: Though this is not an instruction book, I've noticed that the subject of folds and drapery is something that portrait artists often have trouble rendering well. Perhaps a study of how the old masters did it would be helpful. —Cynthia Daniel, Owner

Accompanying an exhibition at London's National Gallery of Art in summer 2002, this volume by fashion historian Hollander (Sex and Suits) demonstrates how artists used garments and draperies as an expressive means in their paintings. Covering Western European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, Hollander shows how fabric in art reflected each era's social preoccupations, fashions, and tastes. For example, in the 15th century, representations of draperies demonstrated a respect for the properties of the cloth itself, while in the 16th and 17th centuries, rich drapery became used as an emotive, dramatic element. By the early 19th century, dress reflected a new classical simplicity, and the suit became the staple item for men. From then on, women's dress would be more the focus of emotion and sexuality, until the 20th century, when clothing was subordinated altogether to color and forms on a flat surface. The text is illustrated by more than 140 beautiful full-color illustrations of works by such artists as Tintoretto, Van Dyck, Delacroix, and Picasso. Throughout, Hollander brings new insight into the fields of both art and costume history. Recommended for libraries that collect books on art and costume. —Sandra Rothenberg, Framingham State Coll. Lib., MA Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Portrait and Figure Painting Book by Wendon Blake – Hardcover: 256 pages; Watson-Guptill (Aug 1980)

Reader review: This book is billed as a comprehensive guide to painting male and female portraits, children's portraits, and the nude figure in oil. It contains 400 illustrations with over 250 color plates and includes 30 step-by-step demonstrations in full color. The paintings are all by George Passantino.

The book starts with a few pointers on materials and some black and white plates illustrating the painting of facial features. From there it's straight into the 10 adult portrait demonstrations. Each has from 7 to 11 color plates detailing the steps and each plate includes discussion on colors used and features modified, etc. This is followed by a discussion on composition, lighting, drawing and sketching.

The next section, children's portraits, follows exactly the same format with 10 children's portrait demonstrations and the same discussion afterward.

The final section begins with a section on painting the torso, arms and legs. It then goes through 10 nude figurative demonstrations. All are female, different poses, and each is accompanied by a similar number of color plates and discussion. This section ends with a discussion on body proportions, lighting, and drawing.

The portrait and childrens demonstrations cover different sexes, ages, and races. All told this book is a very nice set of portrait and figure demonstrations. It's suited for the beginning or intermediate artist. If you're familiar with any of the other painting books by Wendon Blake this is the same format only much larger.

Oil Portraits: Step by Step by Wendon Blake, George Passantino – Paperback: 64 pages; Dover Publications (Nov 1, 1998)

Clearly written, beautifully illustrated guide offers students and would-be portrait painters a wealth of detailed, practical advice and valuable insights on how to handle oil paint. Discusses drying time and basic techniques; planning, composing and lighting the portrait; oil sketching and drawing with pencil, charcoal, and chalk. Generously enhanced with over 120 illustrations (including 57 in full color) that act as step-by-step guides to painting a variety of male and female subjects.

Oil: Portraits by Annette Adrian Hanna – Paperback; Walter Foster Pub (May 1, 1992)

Note: Annette won first prize in the American Society of Portrait Artists portrait competiton in 1998.

Packed with practical information, helpful tips, and fundamental techniques, the How to Draw and Paint series offers a complete library of resources to which artists of all skill levels can refer again and again.

• Different views to use for portraits
• How to light the subject; the difference between indoor
   and outdoor lighting
• Step-by-step instructions for painting a portrait,
   including composition, drawing, and color mixing
• How to use value and color effectively
• How to create an effective background for your portraits
• Tips on painting various skin tones and features
• Basic head proportions for children and adults
• How to paint a formal business portrait

Oil Painting Videos with Margaret Holland Sargent Six DVDs

~ Getting Started in Oil Painting ~ Basic Oil Painting ~ Intermediate Oil Painting: Floral Arrangement ~ Intermediate Oil Painting: Metal, Glass & Wood ~ How to Succeed in Portraiture ~ Oil Portraits: Painting the Head. Buy the set or any individual DVD. Click here to contact the artist about ordering.

Paint Expressive Portraits in Oils by Paul Leveille – Hardcover: 128 pages; North Light Books, 1997

Portraits: Lessons & Exercises to Develop Your Painting & Drawing Technique (Seeing Things Simply) by Rosalind Cuthbert – Hardcover: 64 pages; Book Sales (Mar 1994)

Portrait painting - the art of capturing a subject's likeness - is not just a matter of getting the features right. You also need to convey elements of personality and mood, and this skill requires plenty of patience and practice. Portraits provides the tools to help you improve your portraiture techniques. Beginning with the basics - how to observe the head and shoulders and the individual features of the face from all angles - it also describes the differences between babies' faces and those of older children and fully grown adults.

Further information is given on building up form, dealing with aspects like hair, eyeglasses, makeup and skin tones, achieving facial expressions, and using color and lighting to reflect a particular mood. Head and shoulders portraits are covered, as well as full figure portraits and groups. The book concludes with a complete step-by-step portrait demonstration. Throughout, the emphasis of this concise new guide is on practical advice, plus exercise: to enable you to improve your powers of observation and build up your technique, whatever medium you choose to work in. 64 pages.

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