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About Suzanne Brooker
My passion for the visual world and the pursuit of making images began at any early age and has motivated my work as an artist. How images evoke memory, create metaphor, capture a relatedness between viewer and artist, awaken an aesthetic response has been an ongoing investigation. I work primarily from observation, often using my own photographs, as well as newspaper images and works of other artists, historical and contemporary, as source material. A series of paintings usually evolves from a metaphoric theme, a pictorial problem of light and space or a dialogue created between abstraction (flat surface) and representation (illusion of form).
Drawing plays an important part in my creative process, whether to sharpen my perceptions or to discover the calligraphic mark underlying a gesture. The paintbrush becomes a way to draw-in-paint, dancing over the surface, that combines intensive layering of transparent paint with areas of thicker, more gesturally applied paint. One of my goals as an artist is to combine Old Master approaches to paint palettes and techniques combined with modern notions of the paint surface. This has lead me to explore a rich variety of paint layers involving the transparency of paint over fields of toned grounds in contrast to more direct, gestural “traces” left by a painted stroke. The calligraphy of the brush mark, whether scumbled, dabbed, blended or loosely drawn through the paint becomes the means for developing a rich surface. Overall my aim is to create a sense of a glow of light emanating from within the figure rather than a reflection from the surface of the skin.
The human dilemma expressed through anatomical gesture would be the simplest way to describe my current work. It was during my graduate studies in figurative painting that I became deeply involved in the beautiful complexity of rendering the human body. I drew bones, painted from cadavers, and studied the art of the Renaissance in order to find that moment of the “telling” gesture that reveals humanity through the human form. How to convey the unique qualities of a person set within the context of the universal human drama, the expression of their individuality, is more important to me in a portrait painting, then who they are as a social identity.
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Coming out of this dedicated movement, Portrait Painting Atelier is an essential resource for an art community still recovering from a time when solid instruction in art technique was unavailable in our schools. Of particular value here is a demonstration of the Old Masters’ technique of layering paint over a toned-ground surface, a process that builds from the transparent dark areas to the more densely painted lights. This method unifies the entire painting, creating a beautiful glow that illuminates skin tones and softly blends all the color tones. Readers will also find valuable instruction in paint mediums from classic oil-based to alkyd-based, the interactive principles of composition and photograph-based composition, and the anatomy of the human face and the key relationships among its features.
Richly illustrated with the work of preeminent masters such as Millet, Géricault, and van Gogh, as well as some of today’s leading portrait artists—and featuring seven detailed step-by-step portrait demonstrations—Portrait Painting Atelier is the first book in many years to so comprehensively cover the concepts and techniques of traditional portraiture.
Following in the footsteps of author, artist, and art instructor Suzanne Brooker's previous title The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting, this book pairs the most universally-pursued topic for artists (drawing) with the popular subject matter of the natural landscape. Brooker breaks down landscapes into their various elements--including the earth, water, air, and trees--to convey how the fundamentals of drawing are applied to capture each aspect. Using the graphite pencil as her baseline instrument, Brooker provides you with step-by-step lessons that help you improve your rendering skills and re-create the beauty of the world outdoors. Examples from art history and contemporary masters supplement these lessons. The end result is a drawing instruction book that provides artists with everything they need to render landscapes no matter their skill level.
Landscape painting is one of the most popular subjects for painters working in the medium of oils--from classic masters to contemporary artists. In The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting, established Watson-Guptill author and noted instructor/painter Suzanne Brooker presents the fundamentals necessary for mastering landscape oil painting, breaking landscapes down into component parts: sky, terrain, trees, and water. Each featured element builds off the previous, with additional lessons on the latest brushes, paints, and other tools used by artists. Key methods like observation, rendering, and color mixing are supported by demonstration paintings and samples from a variety of the best landscape oil painters of all time. With The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting, oil painters looking to break into landscape painting or enhance their work will find all the necessary ingredients for success.