With an insightful voice over, David guides the viewer through this considerate portrait. Ambient conversations are also included, which is entertaining as well. As this oil portrait painting is of one of David’s favorite models, he starts slowly to allow the full quality of the model to make its impact. This is when he sees the artistic possibilities. It is this time of contemplation where the concept for the painting is discovered. As David says, a good painting is partially the artist and partially the model.
The reason David cautions against working too quickly is because rushing can only produce something known, something you’ve already done. If you want to create something new—and not simply an illustration—the artist must pay complete attention to the subject.
David shows how everything in the painting is important! Reality is not set in stone—it bends to the will of the artist. David starts with shadow, being conscious of the design of the painting, not concerning himself with the likeness of the model.
By teaching after-the-fact, David is able to give his full attention in the moment of painting. He stresses the sensitivity to air in a painting, the murk that weaves its way in and around the subject, giving a feeling of reality. Working this way allows you to improve with every painting. If you listen to the painting itself, it tells you what it needs.
In Part 2 David talks about the essential painting problem from its inception—trying to give the illusion of form on a flat surface. He also talks about the inventions that changed painting forever and turned it from a problem solving discipline into an activity of self-expression.
David thinks of painting human form topographically, judging what is higher or lower as it comes out of the canvas, rather than trying to match color or value. This is a significant departure from the common way of seeing portrait painting, which is usually obsessed with resemblance.
He shows how conserving color is the way to make skin color look convincing. He utilizes air color to get the non-color in the skin, which is what gives the illusion of a breathing human being. This is quite different from painting skin uniformly, like that of a manikin, a problem that plagues portraiture.
With David’s keen observation, you will delight in how thick paint and descriptive brushstrokes go from abstract pieces of paint to suddenly becoming the model with a startlingly real likeness. This is the magic of painting and the power of capturing structure rather than resemblance.
Fear, according to David, is the biggest hurdle to overcome in learning to paint. You will benefit from the fearless wealth of insights gained by a lifetime of studying what painting is.