Jeffrey R. Watts: Gesture Portraits

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Video Length: 300 minutes, 2 discs

 

This program explores the painter's natural inclinations as an artist to break out of their comfort zone and efficiently lay down 9 beautiful gesture portraits in less time than it typically takes to grind out one single painting.

As in his previous videos, Watts remains concentrated on sharing fundamentals that establish a detail-oriented work approach that provides the artist with all the information they need to push themselves and their skill level to new heights.

The focus of this program is on four fundamental portrait palettes that the painter can use to develop their skills from beginner to advanced painter. Four levels of palettes are introduced which provides a graduated progression from monochromatic to full-spectrum color for portrait fleshtones.

 

 


Level One begins with a single color palette to move the painter from the drawing medium of charcoal into the medium of oil paint. It allows the painter to concentrate on shapes, values and edges, without the complications of color and temperature.

The Level Two Palette is one used by Anders Zorn, the late great Swedish painter who influenced a great number of his contemporaries by his limited, four-color palette. It is truly amazing to see how Watts can create paintings that appear to have hundreds of colors in them, yet have been painted with only four tubes of paint. As pointed out on the video, one could spend one's entire career using only this palette, and never fully explore its potential.

The Level Three Palette is one which incorporates only the primary colors, black and white. It includes a warm and cool version of each primary of red, yellow and blue, with no earthtones or convenience colors. This palette allows you to explore the full range of color mixtures available through mixing of these basic primaries. While you have a complete array of pigments available to you for infinite color mixtures, it is still a very limited palette and one that can be used for a lifetime without exhausting its possibilities.

The Level Four Palette is called the Uncontrolled Palette because it includes many convenience colors and favorites that each artist will eventually decide are additions that make one's palette unique to them. It is the most difficult to work with, but provides an exhaustive range of color harmonies and choices that many artists prefer. Jeffrey begins with the most difficult of the four palettes and progresses down through the levels to show how each can be used to enhance your color knowledge and provide building-blocks of understanding of how fleshtones are constructed for both light and shadow sides of the head.

Each portrait demo is limited to 30 minutes, and it seems impossible that such rich, detailed and exciting paintings could be created in such a short period of time, but these demos prove that there are certain basic essentials that can be learned and exercised by anyone who is determined enough to indulge in this training. In watching the video, I was so anxious to get to my own easel to try out the exercises that it surprised even me. The quickness with which the demos were done, and the repetitive success of each one gives the viewer the confidence that he/she can accomplish the same thing with time at the easel. You will be truly inspired to give this a try! Often, in viewing a video by a master painter, one may be intimidated by the expertise and facility that the artist is demonstrating. But, in this video, I found that I was encouraged to try something without feeling as if I might just as easily fail as succeed at it. The different palettes and suggestions given for mixing colors and temperatures practically assure success.

In each of the 9 gesture paintings featured within this DVD, Watts explores 9 unique expressions in portrait fashion. From brightly colorful to monochromatic, Jeffrey Watts covers an aesthetically comprehensive list of paintings that feature a variety of compositional elements that help to distinguish each painting from the next and provide your gesture paintings with real emotional depth.

Whether you are new to painting or trying to re-ignite your passion for portraits through the gesture painting process, this video will help you recapture your natural flow in a manner you may have never thought possible.

As you may know, Jeffrey Watts has an atelier where he teaches a comprehensive curriculum of study of the human form, portrait and figure painting. The gesture classes are taught for landscape and still life, as well as for the portrait. Classes range from anatomy to drawing and painting the form and figures at all the critical stages in the development of an artist.

This series of videos is intended to show how broad the range of study is to find the coveted path to understanding of the painting and creative process. This program is only one of four he has filmed to make the process and information available to those who do not have the opportunity to study first hand with him in his atelier. This is truly the next best thing to studying first hand with Jeffrey in his studio. And, as he says in the video, he is often unable to teach as this introductory level, as he is committing much of his instructional time to more advanced classes. So getting instruction at this level is more difficult to come by, as his career matures and naturally absorbs more of his productive time.


-Johnnie Liliedahl

 

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