“SKIN COLOR” (EXCERPT) Skin color, more than an other aspect of color or technique in this section of the book, should give the student-artist a glimpse into his or her own thought processes. A glimpse, a tear in the curtain, a rent in the canvas of the understanding of the one essential concept of this book: the difference between copying and solving problems. Skin color is an enormous problem amongst painters and students, not because it is difficult in and of itself, but because of a lack of understanding of the problems of painting and the one characteristic that skin has that the student-artist does not confront anywhere else. We can call that characteristic elusiveness! More than any other surface the artist is called upon to describe, skin has a singular lack of local color. Simply, skin has no local color to come to grips with. Grass is green, sky is blue, oranges are orange, the robe is red, is magenta, and so on and so on. What color is skin? The longer one stares (as in copying) the more elusive the color seems to be.
“PAINTING QUALITY” (EXCERPT) Impasto, the laying on of thick paint, is the natural extension of the learning process that began with the brush and brushstrokes. A painting may have good value relationships, color, edges, etc. and it may resemble the subject matter, but without impasto it will not look “alive”. The painter must have within or develop an appreciation of the sensual quality of paint concomitant with the abstract nature of impasto. If we take the original surface, canvas or panel, as a flat plane the function of heavier paint application is to break the surface and create a new plane. This, together with thinly painted shadows, will give the surface a multidimensional look.”
“EDGES” (EXCERPT) Edges are an aesthetic problem artists encounter on the journey called “learning to paint”. With the corollary, “focus”, edges are part of a most intriguing study that can add seemingly magical qualities to a painting. Form, value control, and composition are three essential areas that come under the discipline of edges. The use of edges and focus convey the illusion of form. They are also necessary to express the tactile qualities of the subject matter, and in composition, flow and structure are limned by the use of open and closed edges. The abstract of the composition can be defined as a sequence of open and closed edges. Lastly, and perhaps one of the subtlest usages of edges, is that of being able to change the “look” of a value without actually changing the value.