Postulates of great painters

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


  • Painting as a whole, not in parts

  • see masses, contours/forms, shadows

  • the colds embracing the central warms, push them forward

  • always the contrasts in borders of parts

  • the verticals and horizontals can give depth

  • do not dirty the colours on your palette, take them with a knife

  • do not dirty the colours on painting too ( wait to correct the mistakes), clean 2-3 times with essense

  • use pure coulours – pure bleu prusse, emeraude underline and push forward

    shadows – always blue colours

  • analyse the colour gamma of successful paintings/painters ( Briata, Goddard, Nicola de Stal, Medvedev)

  • make the subject 3D, and the rest of the painting flat ( also, subject warm and around cold)

Scott Burdick

  • compare everything to shadow on 10 value scale – find right place for every shadow and light

  • if working from foto- first vector guides and light movement


  • best and final stroke to describe the form and move on ( stroke of a genius vs stroke of disaster)

  • correlate values: shadows, lights and highlights until it becomes unconscious

  • when in doubt, make the colour stronger

  • check: weight, delicacy, variety, form, moement, gesture for a good painting

  • drawing!

  • Background – lighter shade of shadow

  • everything you do should lead the viewer’s eye


  • establish darkest darks and lightest lights
  • define every particular shadow: closer to darkest dark or light – use just values

  • edges soft and hard to a different degree


  • Imprimatura olive hue transparent coat equal to the middle tone of largest lightest object in painting. Red Ochre+Yel Ochre Light+ Ivory Black

De Heem

  • Background ( flowers ) – loosen, forground flowers – precisely and well lit
  • Underpainting – rough grey in dead colour
  • Blue grapes and plums should consist of a reddish-brown underpainting covered by a dull bluish haze