As discussed in an earlier post, I went to Santa Fe, New Mexico in July to take a two week portrait painting class from Tony Ryder (Ryder Studio School).

During the morning of each day (Monday to Friday), Tony would demonstrate the techniques by painting his own canvas using the live model. This began with vine charcoal on canvas for the Block In, the Ink In with oil paint and Gamsol, the Under painting, troubleshooting the Under painting, and finally the Form painting.

This process is about seeing the form as 3D – turning, twisting, weaving through and the effect of the light. We were reminded every day to look at where the large complex forms meet, focused on the highest point rather than the lowest point.

Overall, it was an amazing, disciplined, equation by colour, draftsman-like style of painting from a live model. I took photographs of Tony’s demonstration and have posted a short video of still photos here, so you get an idea of the steps to create the 3D illusion. Please remember this is Tony Ryder’s painting (not mine), as I thought this would be a better representation of what the end result is supposed to look like (smile).

It is interesting to note that Tony Ryder studied in New York with Ted Seth Jacobs, and through a chart called The Flowering Staircase (1435 – 1935) posted at Studio Escalier (by Timothy Stotz) you can read the trace of Master-Apprentice or Teacher-Student Relationship (4-6 years minimun, as a rule) – linked back to Michelangelo.

The Flowering Staircase by Timothy Stotz | click to see larger version

The Flowering Staircase by Timothy Stotz | click to see larger version