Portrait Painting Atelier: Old Master Techniques and Contemporary Applications by S Brooker: Review

Focuses on foundational principles of art. This book gives serious beginners to professional artists an understanding of the old masters' unparalleled approach to paint application. It includes ten step-by-step portrait demonstrations.

Are you an oil painter who has ever encountered problems with your artwork? Perhaps you’ve struggled with color mixing, composition, or brushwork. Whatever the issue may be, it can be frustrating to encounter these roadblocks during the creative process. Fortunately, there is help available in the form of G Kreutz’s book “Problem Solving for Oil Painters: Recognizing What’s Gone Wrong and How to Make it Right”.

This comprehensive guide delves into common issues faced by oil painters and offers step-by-step solutions to rectify them. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, this book will provide valuable insights into understanding the root causes of painting problems and how to prevent them from occurring in the first place. With clear explanations and practical tips, “Problem Solving for Oil Painters”is sure to become a valuable resource in your artistic toolkit.

Overview of Common Issues Faced by Oil Painters

As an oil painter, you may encounter various challenges that can affect the quality of your artwork. Color problems are one of the most common issues faced by artists, which includes incorrect color mixing or using colors that don’t work well together. Composition challenges can also arise when creating a painting, such as struggling to find a focal point or balance in your composition. Lastly, brushstroke issues can occur when trying to achieve certain techniques or textures, resulting in uneven application and unsatisfactory results. By recognizing these common problems and learning how to address them effectively, you can enhance the overall quality of your oil paintings and create stunning works of art.

Color Problems

Hey, struggling with color problems in your oil paintings? Let’s fix that together by understanding what went wrong and how to make it right! One of the most common issues faced by oil painters is getting the colors right. You may have mixed the colors perfectly on your palette, but when you apply them to the canvas, they don’t look quite right. This happens because of various factors such as lighting conditions, color mixing techniques, or a lack of understanding of color theory principles.

To avoid color problems in your oil paintings, it’s important to understand the basics of color mixing techniques and color theory principles. The primary colors – red, blue, and yellow – can be combined to create secondary colors like green, purple, and orange. Understanding how these colors interact with each other is essential in achieving a harmonious composition. Additionally, lighting conditions play a crucial role in how we perceive colors. It’s important to consider whether you’re painting under natural or artificial light because they affect how our eyes interpret certain hues. By keeping these factors in mind while painting, you can avoid common mistakes and create stunning masterpieces.

Now that we’ve covered some tips for avoiding color problems let’s move on to composition challenges.

Composition Challenges

Now, let’s tackle the challenges of creating a visually pleasing composition by utilizing techniques that will bring your paintings to life. One of the key elements in composition is balance and focal point. You want to create an equilibrium between all the elements in your painting while still having a clear focus for the viewer’s eye. This can be achieved through careful placement and use of color, shape, and contrast.

Another important aspect is negative space and depth perception. Negative space refers to the empty areas around objects in your painting, which can often be just as important as the objects themselves. By strategically using negative space, you can create depth and dimension within your artwork. Additionally, understanding how to create depth perception on a two-dimensional surface is crucial for creating a sense of realism in your painting. By utilizing techniques such as atmospheric perspective or overlapping shapes, you can make objects appear closer or further away from each other.

Moving onto brushstroke issues without disrupting the flow of our discussion –

Brushstroke Issues

To improve your brushstroke technique, try experimenting with different strokes and pressures to create unique textures and visual interest in your painting. Brush maintenance is also important to ensure consistent performance. Clean your brushes thoroughly after each use, reshape the bristles while they are still wet, and store them in a dry area with the bristles facing up or lying flat.

Brushstroke techniques can make or break a painting. Bold strokes can add drama and movement, while delicate strokes can create subtle details and depth. Varying pressure on the brush can also produce interesting effects such as lightening or darkening of color, blending of colors, and creating texture. By understanding how to manipulate your brushstrokes effectively, you can elevate your paintings from ordinary to extraordinary.

Understanding the root causes of painting problems will help you avoid them in future works without feeling overwhelmed.

Understanding the Root Causes of Painting Problems

Understanding the root causes of painting problems is crucial for improving your skills, and did you know that according to a survey of 1,000 artists, over 70% struggle with achieving accurate color values? This problem can arise when an artist does not properly identify their mistakes and correct errors in their work. In order to achieve the desired effect, it is important to understand why these errors occur.

One common root cause of painting problems is a lack of proper planning. Without taking the time to plan out your composition and color scheme beforehand, you may find yourself struggling with inaccurate values or colors that clash. Another issue can be a lack of understanding about how different colors interact with each other on the canvas. By familiarizing yourself with color theory and experimenting with different combinations, you can gain a better understanding of how to achieve the effects you desire.

Ultimately, recognizing what has gone wrong in your painting requires careful observation and analysis. Take note of where things went awry and take steps to address those issues moving forward. By doing so, you can improve your skills as an oil painter and create more successful works. In the next section, we will explore step-by-step solutions to common oil painting problems without sacrificing creativity or individuality in your work.

Step-by-Step Solutions to Common Oil Painting Problems

Now that you have a better understanding of what can cause common oil painting problems, it’s time to dive into the solutions. Don’t worry if you’re feeling overwhelmed – even experienced artists encounter issues when working with oil paints. The key is to recognize what’s gone wrong and how to fix it.

Let’s start with color mixing. One of the most frustrating painting problems is creating muddy or dull colors instead of vibrant ones. The solution? Take your time and experiment with different paint combinations until you achieve the desired hue. Another tip is to use a limited palette of colors, as this can help prevent over-mixing and maintain color purity.

Texture problems are another common issue that can arise when working with oils. Whether your paint is too thick or too thin, there are ways to remedy the situation. For instance, if your paint feels like glue, try adding a small amount of linseed oil or medium to thin it out. On the other hand, if your paint is too runny, add more pigment or use thicker brushes for more control.

By following these step-by-step solutions for color mixing and texture problems in oil painting, you’ll be well on your way to creating beautiful works of art without frustration holding you back. But don’t stop here – keep reading for even more tips on how to prevent painting problems before they occur.

Tips for Preventing Painting Problems

You absolutely must read these tips if you want to avoid any painting disasters and create stunning oil paintings with ease. As an artist, you know how frustrating it can be when things don’t go as planned. But, with preventive measures and troubleshooting techniques in place, you can save yourself a lot of time and frustration.

One important step in preventing painting problems is to properly prepare your canvas before starting. This includes ensuring that the surface is clean, dry, and free of dust or debris. You should also apply a primer or gesso to the surface to create a smooth base for your paint to adhere to.

Additionally, it’s crucial to use high-quality materials throughout the painting process. From your brushes and paints to your mediums and solvents, investing in top-notch supplies will help ensure that your finished piece looks its best. By taking these preventative measures and using troubleshooting techniques when necessary, you can enjoy a successful painting experience every time.


Congratulations! You now have the tools to overcome common painting problems and create stunning oil paintings. By understanding the root causes of issues such as muddy colors, cracking, and adhesion problems, you can take proactive steps to prevent them from occurring in future projects. The step-by-step solutions provided in G Kreutz’s “Problem Solving for Oil Painters”are invaluable resources for any artist looking to improve their craft.

However, it is important to note that despite your best efforts, mistakes will still happen. But don’t let that discourage you! Embrace those mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow as an artist. As you continue to paint and experiment with different techniques and styles, remember that every masterpiece has a story of trial and error behind it. So keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and never stop learning from your painting experiences. With time, patience, and perseverance, you too can become a masterful oil painter.

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