The third day at the American portratit conference I have the chance to see Daniel Greene live. He is the chairman of the American Portrait Society and one of the best portrait painters in the world.
As a side note: That day when I got to the auditorium if was already full with people and the only chairs available were in the back of the room but a line of empty chairs on front row for apparent no reason. Not shy and with a determined step I went up front and told one of the gentlemen that I was going to sit near him as it was plenty of room there. Without saying a word he looked up me like I was nuts. So I tilted my head and saw name tags sticking out of them waiting for the special guests to arrive. Knowing that I had been off the mark like so many times I laughed aloud at myself and nonchalantly sat on the back.
Daniel came soon after and the big screen tvs came on and people started clapping. The demo painting was to be one he had started a year earlier at the 2014 conference. After a year he could tell differences had taking place between the sitter and the painting. And now the color had changed because a portion had been adsorbed by the fibers on the canvas and it needed to be spray over with retouching varnish for the color to return to their original luminance. You can hear him in his own words bellow.
He mentioned that you could prepare own retouching varnish using stand oil, damar resine and liquin. After that he showed us the huge wooden palette with all the skin color mixes displayed in judicious arrangement. It showed all thepossible variations of lights, darks, half tones and neutrals (wish I have the patience to mix all those colors).
Finally he got to "work" but it was more like 10 to 12 minutes of fidgeting around with his brush and putting little mark on the paintings it seemed. But then I understood and realize that I am not the only one that does this.What he was doing was messuring and taking mental notes of the changes he had to make before starting to paint. He was also very particular, sending someone to find a dark blue blazer for his sitter to wear similar to the one he wore the previous year.
He work diligently for around 45 minutes before finishing taking the time to answer people's questions. Someone during the dinner gala the following night mentioned that his colors had been off. Well, I have to agree with that maybe the skin tones were too much on the yellow side instead of the really ruddy complexion of his sitter. What people don't understand is that is quite different when you are painting in the comfort of you own studio with natural like that infront of strong artificial light surrounded by an audience, camaras rollling a walking all around you while you are trying to paint.
In my honest opinion Daniel Greene was entertaining, well versed in the history of oil painting and for such a short demo the results were quite good: The likeness was there, everything in the right position! So it was a tumbs up for me, I couldn't have done it better along with some other portrait painters I have seen on live demonstrations.
Also I got the impression after that next year he will continue on with the same painting taking it to the next stage. I very much wish I can make it to the next 2016 Portrait Conference in Washington, DC and see it for myself! Hats to you Daniel, you didn't disappoint.