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Old 12-28-2002, 10:49 AM   #1
Jeff Fuchs Jeff Fuchs is offline
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Daniel Greene's videos




This forum looked like the best place to ask this.

Can anyone give me an opinion on Daniel Greene's videos? I'm looking into buying the portrait drawing video, but I don't know what to expect, since I haven't seen any of his other ones.

I've only seen a few art instruction videos (they're expensive, so I've never bought one). Some were good. There was one video that claimed to be about portrait painting, but was actually about painting a "plausible head", not capturing a likeness. I would have been very upset if I had paid $75 for it (an art supply house had it for rent).

Daniel Greene is known as a teacher, and the finished works that, presumably, were painted on camera are very high quality. I'm guessing it's worth the investment.

I'm looking at the one on drawing a portrait. I think it's his latest. I tried to borrow a copy through the inter-library loan system, but no luck.

Any reviews?
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Old 01-14-2003, 04:33 AM   #2
Steven Sweeney Steven Sweeney is offline
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To reiterate what has been said elsewhere but should go here as well, all of Greene's productions are excellent. The portrait drawing video of course will have the greatest depth on that subject, but the pastel and oil videos also contain the basic drawing information and theory discussed in the drawing video.

Greene said in his workshop that he doesn't worry all that much about "likeness", that getting a likeness was actually not all that difficult. There is lots of work to do before you start worrying about getting a likeness, and his videos take you through it.

Curiously, there's no website that I know of to get information directly from him. Contact him at Studio Hill Farm, Route 116, North Salem, NY 10560. Various distributors such as www.art-video.com carry his tapes.

Some of the best return on your dollar anywhere for this kind of instruction.
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Old 01-14-2003, 06:07 PM   #3
Jeff Fuchs Jeff Fuchs is offline
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Thanks, Steven. I ordered it today
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Old 01-17-2003, 11:12 PM   #4
Jeff Fuchs Jeff Fuchs is offline
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Wow! Art-videos.com is fast! The video arrived today. I just ordered it Monday, and didn't specify priority postage.

I've watched most of it, but my wife ran me off to watch her program (noting that I'm going to be able to watch the video any time I want).

Greene gave lots of valuable pointers on placement and measuring of facial features. I think I'll benefit quite a bit from this. I was a little disappointed that it didn't show him completing a drawing, as I'm curious about how he handles materials, and achieves subtle features, but there's plenty of valuable information packed into an hour and a half video.

Hope to watch the last bit tomorrow (probably just a few minutes left).

Practice, practice, practice.
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Old 01-17-2003, 11:54 PM   #5
Steven Sweeney Steven Sweeney is offline
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Jeff,

You'll not often see a highly-resolved finish in an instructional video, unless there's a lot of time-lapse skipping, which I find more annoying than having the demo end "too early".

I believe you cited in another thread a website drawing tutorial, which I scanned at the time and saw that the instructor wrote disparagingly of presumptive proportions and archetypical landmarks and forms. Now, thankfully, you've seen a different perspective, and you'll have to decide for yourself which is the more useful approach. As you will have heard Daniel Greene say, he calls the measurements "presumptions" because it's where he begins, just to begin somewhere. The instant he notices that the subject before him differs from those presumptions, he modifies his drawing. (This is the element that detractors have to omit from their reviews of his procedure.) Unless one is weaving artwork from the whole cloth of imagination, representational work is, first and finally, a matter of a series of comparisons of what you see "in nature" (which, yes, may mean trees and frogs, but I mean it to signify whatever object in real life that you're attempting to portray) to what you have on your easel or drawing board, and making corrections.

In Greene's pastel video, you'll see the same attention to drawing, and you'll see that once he's finished his first go round, he goes back in and restates and redraws, because he knows corrections are in order. And he continues to correct as needed, all the way to the end.

You've indicated a couple of times on the Forum your desire to get drawings done quickly. That's fine for scribble drawings (one of my all-time favorite exercises, and almost never mentioned by anyone), gesture drawings, and rapid life studies for which the model will become quickly unavailable. I've found that I can do a very nice 12" x 9" figure drawing in high key graphite in six hours -- and no less. That's not a "rule", it's my personal limitation. I'd rather have nine hours. (Think about that, though. I'm only asking for one workday to complete a fine piece of artwork. What's the value in asking for less?) The same figure in, say charcoal in a 30" x 24" format, and a high degree of finish in both figure and background will probably require at least 80 hours. More in pastel, even more in oil. Maybe I'll never get rich at that pace, but I won't have stuff out there that embarrasses me.

Wait a little while, watch the video again, then try it out on your own easel. Will it result in magic the first time out? Nope. But you'll be pretty impressed with yourself by the fifth or sixth attempt. You'll even begin to "forget" that Greene taught you this. [Though, if you're not working from life, then much of this is moot, except as a review guide in assessing even work from photos.] Then buy his pastel video (even if you don't "do" pastels, but if you're not sold on that, get the oil video.) You'll get some lessons in color and color procedure there, to go on top of a review of the drawing practice and protocols.

An aside: Isn't New Iberia where James Lee Burke (a fantastic writer) places some of his cop/PI stories? Also in Montana, my home stamping grounds.
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Old 01-18-2003, 11:37 AM   #6
Jeff Fuchs Jeff Fuchs is offline
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Steven,

I am learning many lessons these days. I was already coming to the conclusion that drawings will require a great deal of time. I mentioned that Allison's portrait was taking longer than I wanted, but later started a study for another piece I'm working on, only to find that it was going to take at least as long as Allison's (and that's just the study). Since I'm planning to spend a full year drawing before starting to paint, what's the rush?

Previously, I could rifle through a dozen pages in my sketchbook in an evening. They'd be filled with false starts, poor drawings, and ripped out pages. Just since reading Tony Ryder's book, I've decided that there's no reason to ever draw a bad picture. A sustained drawing allows no excuses. There's all the time in the world to resolve problems before moving on.

I'm attaching a study that I'm currently working on (going into the third day). I drew the man's face pretty easily, but the cat gave me nothing but trouble (as cats are known to do). After watching Daniel Greene last night, I applied his method, and got a reasonable likeness. One of the biggest problems I had was containing the size of its head. Daniel Greene apparently sees this a lot, and addressed it (with much emphasis) in the video. I re-drew the cat, defining the size, then drawing from the inside out, and finally it looked like a cat. I found Greene's techniques worthwhile from the first day! I'll apply them, as well as Ryder's lessons, when I do the final piece, which will probably in charcoal.

As for James Lee Burke, I've been to one of his readings, but haven't read any of his books. I guess that's because I live in the Cajun culture, so I'm less compelled to read about it. As I understand it, his stories take place, not only in my town, but in my very neighborhood. I live in the historic dist. on Main Street. I really should pick up one of his novels.
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Old 01-18-2003, 12:09 PM   #7
Jeff Fuchs Jeff Fuchs is offline
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By way of explanation: My friend, Norm, asked for a portrait of his cat. He sent me some snapshots, which weren't very workable (Karin's warnings ringing through my head), so I asked if I could come over and take more pictures. After photographing the cat, and getting some good shots (the cat's a real ham), we sat for a glass of wine. The cat then jumped on Norm's lap and settled in. It was a great opportunity, so I picked up the camera and took several more shots.

Norm has a great face. I haven't begun to capture his warm expression. He's a soft-spoken Southern gentleman, and a yachtsman who lives next to the marina, so he can sail his classic yawl whenever he pleases. He's a portrait artist's dream. I'm really going to enjoy this one!
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Old 01-18-2003, 03:06 PM   #8
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
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Lovely drawing

Hi Jeff,

Your drawing is lovely, it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling just looking at what you have done so far.

I am wondering what you mean when you say you had trouble "containing the size of its head". What do you mean by containing the size? Was it getting bigger and bigger?

Thanks, Joan
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Old 01-18-2003, 05:00 PM   #9
Jeff Fuchs Jeff Fuchs is offline
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Joan

I had drawn light marks to indicate the head's size and position, and as I worked on facial features, and adjusted the outer limits of the head in relationship with nose, eyes, etc, I kept getting a bigger head than I intended. Not huge, but bigger than a normal cat.

The study you see here pretty accurately reflects the proportions in the photo, but there may be a bit of distortion because the photo was taken from too close in. I know that this is not the proper way to take a photo, but I don't have the right camera and lenses, so I have to make do. I may take some measurements of my own cats' heads, and make adjustments in the final piece.
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Old 01-18-2003, 08:48 PM   #10
Joan Breckwoldt Joan Breckwoldt is offline
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I see

Jeff,

Hi, the cat looks pretty good to me. We had a cat for years, a short hair, and now we have a long haired cat. He's very fluffy and his head is huge. So I think there must be quite a variety in cats' head sizes.

I was curious about the 'containment' term because I have also purchased Daniel Greene's tape. I bought it months ago and haven't even opened it. I suppose if I open it (oh, and watch it!), I'll understand the language of your post better. I have just ordered Peggy's tapes so I am working my way through that series. Great so far!

You have a very nice style,

Joan
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