Spotlight: Stroke of Genius Artists
(also see Portrait & Figure Instruction: DVD's & Videos for instructional videos by our artists)
Portrait Painting: My Point of View by Michael Shane Neal, Peggy Kinstler, Everett Raymond Kinstler (Foreword) – Hardcover: 320 pages

The carefully detailed volume covers Neal's career as an artist in the U.S. and abroad and includes 320 pages and more than 400 color images; in-depth discussion of Neal's techniques and philosophy on painting; through his studies with his mentor, Everett Raymond Kinstler, Neal explores bravura painting which is a part of a lineage of artists that reaches back to John Singer Sargent; stories of the many personalities Neal has encountered including senators, congressmen, titans of business, philanthropists, inventors, scientists, writers, actors, judges, a Supreme Court justice, ambassadors, and even a couple of Lords and Ladies!; several step-by-step demonstrations with detailed descriptions of Neal's process; follow the evolution of Neal's studios over the years, from one simple room to his dream studio. See the design, set up, and utilization of his studio, materials, and tools.

Traditional Oil Painting: Advanced Techniques and Concepts from the Renaissance to the Present by Virgil Elliott – Hardcover: 224 pages; Watson-Guptill; 1st edition (Aug 7, 2007) Best Seller

As more and more artists today look to the past, there has been a tremendous resurgence of interest in painting realistically—in creating convincing illusions of three-dimensional depth on two dimensional surfaces. How did the Old Masters create their masterpieces? What kind of education allowed these great artists to create such beautiful work, and how can an artist learn these lessons today?

Flowers & Botanicals: Discover your 'inner artist' as you explore the basic theories and techniques of pencil drawing by Diane Cardaci – Paperback: 64 pages; Walter Foster Publishing (Jul 1, 2007) Best Seller

With easy-to-understand information on tools and materials, basic strokes, and shading techniques, this 64-page book covers everything beginning artists need to start creating their own impressive works of botanical art.

Portraits from Life in 29 Steps by John Howard Sanden, Elizabeth Sanden – Hardcover: 143 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.

Shortcuts & Artists' Secrets by Diane Cardaci – Paperback: 64 pages; Walter Foster Publishing (Feb 1, 2011)

Inside this helpful guide, accomplished artist Diane Cardaci guides readers through several shortcuts to drawing—from projecting and using the grid method to utilizing a computer.

Landscapes & Vistas: Learn to draw an assortment of outdoor scenes-step by step by Diane Cardaci –Paperback: 32 pages; Walter Foster Publishing (Dec 15, 2012)

From basic drawing techniques to tools and materials, this guide instructs the reader on how to draw a variety of beautiful landscape subjects, using a combination of drawing media such as pencil, charcoal, and ink.

Realistic Textures: Discover your "inner artist" as you explore the basic theories and techniques of pencil drawing by Diane Cardaci –Paperback: 64 pages; Walter Foster Publishing (Jan 1, 2007)

With step-by-step projects that are designed to help sharpen artists' skills and heighten their confidence, this book demonstrates simple techniques for rendering the textures of everyday objects, such as metal, wood, plastic, hair, fur, feathers, and more.

Capturing Soft Realism in Colored Pencil by Ann Kullberg – Hardcover: 128 pages; North Light Books, 1st edition (Aug 2002) Best Seller

Kullberg teaches artists how to faithfully capture the essence of any subject without wasting time on excessive detail work. Step by step she presents 35 popular subjects and describes techniques for adding rich texture, depth and form in the most simple and straightforward way possible. Insights on getting a realistic effect include: • Mapping out a complex subject to make it easier to paint • Changing pencil strokes to create different textures • Mixing hues for greater visual interest • Creating softer, more natural edges by varying the pressure of the pencil It's all the instruction a colored pencil artist needs to effortlessly add gorgeous details to every piece they create.

John Howard Sanden - Face to Face with Greatness: The Adventure of Portrait Painting by John Howard Sanden – Hardcover. 176 pages; The Portrait Institute Press (2009)

214 illustrations, 178 in color, 129 portraits in color, 155 never before published. Large Format: 12 1/2 x 9 3/4 inches.

Painting the Head in Oil by John Howard Sanden – Hardcover: 152 pages; Watson-Guptill; 1st edition (Jan 1, 1976) Best Seller

Following a discussion of materials, colors, and drawing principles, the author gives a step-by-step demonstration of techniques for painting the components of a portrait

Painting the Head in One Sitting III ("Pam")

The presentation is specifically arranged to illustrate the 29-step method featured in Mr. Sanden's book Portraits From Life in 29 Steps (North Light Books, 1999). Like the other two, this video takes the viewer step-by-step through the painting of a head-and-shoulders portrait, this time specifically enumerating the 29 steps featured in the book.

The 29 steps are divided into six sections: (1) The Layout, or preliminary drawing, (2) The Shadows, (3) The Halftones, (4) The Lights, (5) Restating, in which the artist refreshes and improves on previous judgements, and (6) Particularizing, in which the precise details of the facial features are painted.

This division of the job at hand into six manageable portions, which in turn are completed through several precise steps (it may sound complicated, but it's really quite simple) gives the painter a logical plan of accomplishment.

...more painting videos by John Howard Sanden

Oil Painting Videos with Margaret Holland Sargent

~ 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 video. Click here to contact the artist about ordering.

Drawing Secrets Revealed: Portraits by Sarah Parks – NTSC; Number of discs: 1; North Light Books

In Drawing Secrets Revealed: Portraits you'll find: Instruction for drawing eyes, mouths, noses, ears and hair

Drawing Secrets Revealed: Figures Step by Step by Sarah Parks – NTSC; All Regions; Number of discs: 1; Studio: North Light Books


Painting Beautiful Skin Tones With Color & Light in Oil, Pastel and Watercolor by Chris Saper – Hardcover: 128 pages;North Light Books (Sep 2001) Best Seller

This beautifully produced intstructional book is a "must-have" for every portrait painter, from beginner to professional. This book provides the portrait and figurative painter a uniquely logical framework to make decisions about the painting at hand. This systematic, but non-formulaic approach emphasizes using the color of light to paint luscious skin tones quickly and accurately.

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.

The Best of Portrait Painting by Rachel Wolf – Hardcover: 144 pages; North Light Books; 1st edition (Feb 1, 1998) Best Seller

Artists on this site featured are Margaret Carter Baumgaertner, Chris Saper.

When the Root Children Wake Up by Audrey Wood, Ned Bittinger – School & Library Binding: 32 pages; Scholastic Trade, 1st edition (Mar 1, 2002) Best Seller

Gr. 2-4. An Edwardian classic gets a fresh lease on life with a recast text matched to eye-filling, lushly romantic art.

The Blue and the Gray by Eve Bunting, Ned Bittinger (Illustrator) – Hardcover: Scholastic Trade (Nov 1, 1996) Best Seller

A young white boy and his African-American friend explore the grassy fields near the construction area of their new homes, which is on the site of an 1862 Civil War battleground, and one boy's father reminds them of the war's lesson of freedom.

The Matzah That Papa Brought Home by Fran Manushkin, Ned Bittinger (Illustrator) – Reading level: Ages 4-8 Hardcover: 32 pages; Scholastic (Feb 1, 1995)

Bringing cherished Passover traditions to life, a new book by the author of Latkes and Applesauce: A Hanukkah Story includes a short history of the Passover story, lively illustrations, cumulative verse, and an explanation of holiday symbols.

Rocking Horse Christmas by Mary Pope Osborne, Ned Bittinger (Illustrator) – Hardcover: 32 pages; Scholastic Trade, 1997 Best Seller

A rocking horse, outgrown by its little boy owner, faithfully waits by the attic window for his friend to return. This poignant tale, filled with magic and wonder, is sure to become a new Christmas classic. Full color

The Little Flower Girl (Pictureback) by Linda Tracey Brandon, Lynne Woodcock Cravath (Illustrator) – 24 pages; Random House (Mar 1997)

What exactly does a flower girl do? What's the most fun part of a wedding? Does a flower girl get to wear make-up? What if she messes up? Little girls can find the answers to all of these questions and much more, as they follow the adventures of one little flower girl. A magical book—enhanced by sweet, quirky artwork that captures the wedding spirit-and a must for any child who's going to a wedding, participating in one.

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


Faces & Expressions: Master the art of drawing a range of faces and expressions - step by step by Diane Cardaci – Paperback: 32 pages; Walter Foster Publishing (Mar 26, 2015)

Perfect for beginning artists, Drawing: Faces & Expressions offers a comprehensive introduction on how to draw faces and expressions - the most important aspects of an individual.

Drawing Secrets Revealed –Basics: How to Draw Anything by Sarah Parks – Paperback: 128 pages; North Light Books (Oct 22, 2014)

Discover the artists' "secrets" that make drawing accessible for everyone. Sarah Parks shares with you her favorite materials and the basic techniques that make it possible.


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