This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
The following is a summary of an experienced teacher's method of portrait painting, as taught by him for many years with much success.
Draw in charcoal. Get the general proportions of the head in slight, yet clear, lines. In drawing the head in charcoal in order to paint, we do not go so much for outline as for effect, and always make the eyes dark masses. Place the proper masses of lights and shadows, and add principal details. If there is too much charcoal in the drawing, do not let the dust stay or it would spoil the effect of the colour. Rub the drawing over slightly and fix with fixative. Let it then dry.
Use a little vermilion in the parts where you see the most red. Little cobalt in the edges I the shadows or where it gets grey. Go ahead with the rest of the picture and the background. Never make anything hard or positive in the beginning. Get all whites covered as quickly as possible.
Leave it until it is nearly or quite dry. Now begin with the proper painting. Before you put on your colour, always take a damp cloth and wipe the picture. Do so in all subsequent paintings. Then rub lightly a little bitumen* over the whole picture. This makes the after-painting unite with the first. The same with a little oil in subsequent paintings. Use big brushes. Begin with lights. Paint the lights solidly, the half-tints less so, and the shadows very thin.
If your model has a fair complexion, it is well to use cobalt and Naples yellow thinly in the half-tints and lights, and cobalt and yellow ochre very sparingly in the shadows.
Keep white out of the shadows. In a dark complexion there is hardly any green in the shadows. Use cobalt, vermilion and Naples yellow for the lights, and cobalt, vermilion, and yellow ochre, and a little bitumen very thinly for the shadows.
Keep the colours pure and fresh. Do not mix more than three colours together.
Always get the original force of values of the colours in the first painting; afterward make your colours perfect by glazing and repainting.
* Bitumen is ,1 treacherous colour for the palette of even the professional artist, and should certainly he avoided by the amateur. We are aware that it is claimed that it is not likely to crack when mixed with an unctuous vehicle; hut even so, we do not consider it safe. - Editor A. & C.
Twenty Minutes Portrait Sketch of Mr. Enrico Cantoni. By Professor Alphonse Legros.
If you cannot get exactly what you want, get it as near as you can; then let it dry and glaze.
The colours of the face are divided, thus: The forehead, white or yellow; the middle, red or carnation; the chin, blue or cool gray.
Do not get your dark parts too black. If darks are to be worked over, do so by glazing.
Do not pay too much attention to details. Do not paint like a house-painter; i.e., do not put on a smooth expanse.
Let all the edges be soft. When you paint up to the hair, so paint that the hair and flesh will blend in the shadow--.
In the subsequent paintings, advance by giving more attention to the characteristic details of the head, and employing delicate touches of glazing and scumbling alternately to improve and render as perfectly as possible what has already been done. Only, never do anything carelessly. Smaller brushes are only used in finishing. V. W.