The subtleties of painting

“What you see in a second-rate reproduction in a book is just useless. If you don’t examine the brushwork and the building up of the color, the subtleties, in a way you miss the whole idea of the painting. I learned new things all the time. There are certain characteristics of brushstrokes peculiar to every painter. For example, I noticed that Dufy created thickness through the addition of white paint. I experimented with various different whites and matched them up against the original Dufys, and that way I eventually found out that it was zinc white he used. So I did use it, too. In copying oil paintings you must observe texture and thickness very carefully. Also, you must be aware that styles and techniques changed for each artist with time—they were always experimenting with new or old methods.”

[Elmyr de Hory, cited by Clifford Irving, FAKE!, McGraw-Hill, 1969]


  1. A very insightful look at what makes painting such a soulful and laborious craft!

    I loved it!

    Also, I saw this and thought it may inspire you.

    Guess who this video is about?

    I know you can!

    1. Thank you, Ryan… yes, I must admit I had no idea until I checked it out on YouTube. Willem Dafoe is well cast for the part. I didn’t know Julian Schnabel was making films. He used to paint, now he directs movies! There are a lot of Van Gogh films / movies out there. A bit different from the time when there was only Kirk Douglas’ Lust for Life. I saw someone nit-picking over the fact that Dafoe was an old actor and too old to play the part to Vincent but I’m not sure age matters because we are dealing with the artist’s lot, so to speak. I’ve been reading Clifford Irving’s, Fake! Which is about the artist and forger Elmyr de Hory. I think Orson Welles made a movie about the same thing. Elmyr’s work was overlooked but he was an extraordinarily gifted painter to my mind. He could turn out a Picasso or a Matisse or a Modigliani and his fakes / forgeries seem better oft-times than the real thing. But that’s another subject for another time!

  2. Okay, so it won’t let my post the video, Go to youtube and type “ARTIST’S ETERNITY” You will see the video with the title and I recommend watching it! So inspiring! It shows why we do what we do! ROCK ON PAINTBRUSH MASTER!!!!

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