Thursday, March 19, 2009

Understanding Values in Skin Tones and Painting Facial Features - Sharon Sprung DVD

Recently I purchased the instructional DVD by Sharon Sprung, "Understanding Values in Skin Tones & Painting Facial Features." The material Sprung goes over is very informative and rather helpful. She speaks about color mixing and her palette which is an arrangement of Vasari Paints. She also speaks to her brush selections and value relationships in building up the form. The video is about 2 hours long and broken up into sections. I have found it very informative and useful in helping me with my painting approach.

-William Seccombe

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

DuCret School of Art Painting Demonstration

The following images are taken from a portrait demonstration at DuCret School of Art on Tuesday March 10. The demonstration lasted for 3 hours and outlined a basic appraoch to painting a portrait. We discussed value relationships and color palette mixtures for flesh tones.
The first stage in beginning a portrait is to block in the figure or in this case the head with simple, geometric forms. It is a direct, painted sketch method with a sculptural approach in mind. This process is essential in capturing not only crucial relationships in form but the initial energy and impressions of your drawing. Here your observations want to be simplified by dividing the form into basic lights and darks. This initial process is done on a mid-toned gray panel and a thin mixture of burnt sienna and cobalt blue.
Once the painted sketch is completed and basic forms have been addressed, the next step is to lay in basic highlights.
This is a midpoint stage indicating not only the highlights but also the shadows that have been put into place.
Here I've begun to include background color blocking as well as the model's hair color. This is an important step in being able to address flesh tone relationships and the value shifting that occurs within the model. It is a great way to re-assess your color choices and values.
At this stage it is important to include half tones of warms and cool colors where the highlight and shadows meet.
I have begun to lay in the model's clothing here with a focus upon keeping it loose and gestural. You do not want to draw attention away from the face so it is important to keep your strokes soft and loose to create a focal point in the portrait.
And finally I will refine the portrait with some slight adjustments to color, value, etc.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

New Palette

I recently developed a new palette for myself which has been very successful for me. After reading the Art Spirit by Robert Henri as well as observing similiar approaches from artists such as Joseph Todorovitch and Richard Schmidt it seems to me that this is the strongest approach as for building a palette. The color choices are a hybrid of Robert Armetta and Nelson Shanks. I feel comfortable with both the colors and palette construction. I will post this as I see this blog not only as a way to reach others but as a tool for educating myself.

18x24" double strength glass glued to a masonite board that is painted with an earthy middle gray.

**This approach helps to keep your colors clean and always based upon the same mid-toned value.

Spanning from left to right:

Windsor & Newton - 17 colors
-Titanium White
-Raw Umber
-Burnt Umber
-Burnt Sienna
-Alizarin Crimson
-Permanent Rose
-Cadmium Red Light
-Cadmium Orange
-Raw Sienna
-Cadmium Yellow
-Brilliant Green
-Veridian Green
-Cerrulean Blue
-Cobalt Blue
-Purple Dioxazine
-Ivory Black

-William Seccombe

World's On Fire Painting Exhibition

I recently found this post very interesting. It is an excerpt from Jeremy Lipking's blog speaking about the World's on Fire portrait painting exhibition. It recently took place in L.A. and was the creation of, former member of the Black Eyed Peas and pop music celebrity. Essentially, a selection of artists were invited to participate in painting various pop music icons. Below is a list of the painters and the musicians they painted.

Excerpt from Jeremy Lipking's blog: presents Worlds on Fire, a pop music and art collaboration. Worlds on Fire will be the first art exhibition of its kind featuring portraits of 2009 Grammy nominees as drawn by pop surrealism and representational artists. The exhibition’s opening night celebration will take place on Monday, February 2 from 7:00 PM - 1:00 AM at the Pacific Electric Lofts
in downtown Los Angeles. Entertainment to be provided by live D.J. sets from and special guests. Worlds on Fire: Grammy-Nominated Artist Exhibition will be the premier event to kick off Grammy week.

List of artists (and musicians they are doing portraits of):
SAS CHRISTIAN – Riverview, FL (Rihanna)
LORI EARLEY – Red Bank, NJ (Madonna)
JEREMY LIPKING – Los Angeles, CA (Snoop Dogg)
SHEPARD FAIREY – Los Angeles, CA (Paul McCartney)
IAN JOHNSON – San Francisco, CA (Al Green)
PAUL CHATEM – Los Angeles, CA (Rick Rubin)
RON ENGLISH – Jersey City, NJ (Metallica)
GREG GOSSEL – Minneapolis, MN (Jay-Z)
HENRY LEWIS – San Francisco, CA (Nas)
SHAWN BARBER – San Francisco, CA (Shawn Barber)
TRAVIS LOUIE – Red Hook, NY (Nine Inch Nails)
MATT BONE – Los Angeles, CA (Beyonce)
JOSHUA PETKER – Los Angeles, CA (Radiohead)
VAN ARNO – Los Angeles, CA (BB King)
HEIDI TAILLEFER – Montreal, CAN (Coldplay)
KRIS LEWIS - Los Angeles, CA (Beck)
MIKE MAXWELL – San Deigo, CA (Bruce Springsteen)
GARY BASEMAN & NABIL ELDERKIN - Los Angeles, CA (Kanye West)
CHRIS PUGLIESE – Hoboken, NJ (The Eagles)
HELEN GARBER – Los Angeles, CA (
SAUL ARMAS – Los Angeles, CA (Lil’ Wayne)
TRAE KING – Los Angeles, CA (Duffy)
NATALIA FABIA–Los Angeles, CA (Pink)
R.C. LIPKING –Los Angeles, CA (Alison Krauss & Robert Plant)
JOSEPH TODOROVITCH – Los Angeles, CA (Alicia Keyes)

-William Seccombe

NYC Current Art Fairs

Currently, there are 3 art fairs happening in New York City. They run during the weekend of March 8 and most shows span from Thursday to that Sunday. Here are few of the art fairs and the links to them. There of course is the NYC Armory Show held at Pier 94, followed by the Fountain Exhibit at Pier 66, and finally the Bridge Art Fair. The links are provided below.

-William Seccombe

FYI - Current Art Fairs:

NY Armory Show - International Fair of New Art, Pier 94, March 5 -8, info at:

Fountain Art Fair Exhibition, Pier 66 at 26th St., March 5 - 8, info at:

Bridge Art Fair New York 09, The Waterfront 222 12th Ave., March 5 - 8, info at:

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Here is the latest piece I just recently completed entitled "Gypsy" for the upcoming Portrait Society of America competition to be held in Washington, DC. It's 36x48" and is oil on panel.

-William Seccombe

716 Fine Art Featured Artist

David Geisler and Michael Lynch of the 716 Fine Art Gallery and Podcast based in Racine, WI have been nice enough to interview me on one of their upcoming Pocasts. Their show on ITunes is really inspirational and uplifting as artists and entrepreneurs, they broadcast about their adventures in running a small storefront gallery. They are rockstars and I'm sure I'll be talking about them again soon. We should be recording the interview this week and I will include a link to the conversation in a future blog entry.

-William Seccombe

Syracuse University Symposium

I have recently been invited to speak at Syracuse University on March 25th at the School of Visual and Performing Arts visiting artists symposium. It is a forum for professional artists and designers to educate Syracuse University students on various aspects of the art and design field. The symposium is put on by VPA's Tim Coolbaugh and the poster seen to the left will be circulated around campus.

-William Seccombe

DuCret School of Art Painting Demonstration

The attached image is a promo for an alla prima portrait painting demonstration. It will be held at DuCret School of Art on Tuesday March 10.

-William Seccombe

Salmagundi Club Spring Art Auction

Through the month of March I will be participating in the Salmagundi Club's Spring Art Auction to be held on the first three consecutive weekends. I will have 2 pieces in the show. To learn more about the event please visit

-William Seccombe

Blurb Photo Book

This is a photo book that I have recently put together which should be out later next week. It is designed through and I will be using at my new portfolio.

-William Seccombe