Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cesar Santos and his Sketchbook

 Cuban-American portrait painter Cesar Santos uses his sketchbooks for mixed media, including oil.

He started this portrait in pencil, sealed the surface with fixative, and then used semi-transparent layers of oil over it. 

He also makes master copies from statues in museums, changing them a bit to add natural hair and realistic eyes with irises. 

Santos introduces this sketchbook on a video sketchbook tour (Link to YouTube). 

Trained in Florence, Santos has traveled the world to "see masterpieces through the eyes of his sketchbook." On his re-energized YouTube channel, he promises future videos that take us deeper into this and other sketchbooks. 


Sesco said...

You can feel his innocence and joy of life through the videos. I enjoyed his humor, the videographer's techniques, and especially his messages born of experience: create value using your creativity regardless of trends; buyers are expressive through the art that they buy, deny frustration by intentionally creating value. He seems like a cool friend to have.

Unknown said...

Wow, gorgeous work, and great attitude.
I wonder what kind of paper he uses, any idea?

Quinn said...

James, I am so glad I found you on twitter and then your blog. Your videos are so interesting - I find myself holding my breath sometimes watching you paint. And bonus: you point the way to such wonderful people and things - Cesar Santos' videos are delightful. Thanks so much!

Daniele Guadagnolo said...

Very talented and inspiring artist. I wonder, how does he keep the paper so flat?

Oil on paper can be tricky, but if you size and prime the paper like you would with a canvas, it is perfectly viable. For those not familiar with the terms, sizing is the glue used to strengthen and protect the fibers, priming is the surface you paint on, applied to the sized support.

These are the methods I use for oil on paper
-Size with PVA glue or acrylic medium, prime with acrylic gesso (some say more coats of acrylic gesso can make the sizing unnecessary)
-Size with shellac, priming not strictly necessary
-Size with rabbit skin glue (RSG)and either paint or that or apply a few coats of RSG gesso.

Santos mentions Piero Annigoni, a XX century italian artist; i you don't know him check him out, he was a real Maestro.

James Gurney said...

Daniele, thank you for explaining sizing and priming. I've always used acrylic medium, which seals the surface and keeps the oils and solvents from soaking into the paper. It's also worth noting to be careful when closing a sketchbook that might still have wet oils. It's probably wise to prop it open until it's dry, and then use a sheet of glassine paper as an interleaving. Painting on paper and even in sketchbooks has a long tradition, Albert Bierstadt being one.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much! A new to me technique and a wonderful new artist. You've inspired me to go sketch portraits!

Daniele Guadagnolo said...

I remember a few posts here on GJ about Albert Bierstadt's works. We also have paintings form Rembrandt which are oil on paper.
I learnt to use acrylic matt medium form your videos; i use a few coats of it (with or without oil ground or acrylic gesso) to size hot pressed watercolour paper for oil paint and love the surface.

I also forgot to mention that some high quality brands sell specific block paper for oil paint. Royal Talens, W&N (Winton) and the top-tier Fabriano and Arches.

The tips you shared about the oil paintend sketchbook are vital, one can easily spoil a good work and a few pages if he does not pay sufficient attention.

Steve said...

For the past few years, Arches has made a paper specifically for oil paints. It's similar in feel to 140 pound cold-pressed watercolor paper. It takes oils very well. I have only used it mounted to wood panels, so I don't know how it would hold up as a sketchbook page.

Unknown said...

I really like the fact that Cesar has used a hybridization of multiple mediums. Thanks for introducing me to a talented and inspring artist.

Mona said...

wow, I really love this "alive" master copy, can't stop looking at it