Print Munsell Color Charts at Home

content_image1Color references are often very pricey. In my blog post “Save hundreds on studio equipment!” I showed you how I made my own color charts which in the end can literally save you hundreds of (insert your currency here). And in “Mixing Neutrals” I showed how I made a neutral value scale based on my Munsell color chips from the Munsell Student book.

In the blog post “Munsell 101 for the Artist” I explain the Munsell Color System and how it can help you learn to see and mix colors.

Now I have another way of saving money on color charts – Just print them at home with your inkjet printer!

With the Print@HOME Color Charts package you can print your own color references – based on the Munsell Color System – without spending hundreds of Dollars like professional color charts cost.

And this is in the Package:

  • 40 printable color charts in CMYK color
  • 11 step value scale
  • Color Balance Card for Your Photos
  • Grey Background for Your Glass Palette
  • Instructions how to use the Charts
  • and more…

I hope this will serve you well in your Classical Atelier at Home!

Get me to the Color Charts!

The video below explains all in detail so click the Play button:


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Instructional Video “Portraits in the Wild” by James Gurney

I find portraits the most challenging subjects since you need to capture the likeness of the person whereas a tree is always a tree. To paint a particular person you need to take extra care.

Portrait with tablet

Me painting a young woman on a fair with a Samsung Galaxy Note tablet.

On business fairs I drew many many portraits using smartphones or tablets with a pressure sensitive stylus pen. With modern technology you not only have an Undo functionality but also other effects which help you to be faster and create effects of different appearance.

But the videos by James Gurney encouraged me to use Gouache and watercolor paints as a traditional medium. Gouache has the benefit of being an opaque watercolor and therefore behaves kind of like oilpaint – just mixable with water which is easier to clean on location.

Gouache Postcards

The postcards I painted during vacation on Elba/Italy.

Inspired by the video “Gouache in the Wild” (see the trailer here and buy it on Gumroad here) I painted landscape paintings during last year’s vacation on Elba/Italy on postcard watercolor paper from Fabriano and sent these to my familiy and friends. I also sent James Gurney one of these postcards as a thank you for his inspiration and contribution to the art world. Please visit his website and his YouTube channel.

On June 13th, 2016 he published a new video – “Portraits in the Wild” which is especially interesting to me because of the aforementioned reasons that I love doing portraits.

James Gurney takes us to four different occasions with four different media: ink filled waterbrushes, Gouache, oil paints and Casein.

Without much of talking he jumps right into the first painting – a public scene where people are moving constantly. He is not trying to be super precise but rather tries to capture the gestures of the figures. For example he combines different bodyparts into one figure and changes other elements just how they appear in front of him.

The second portrait is one of a historic reenactor who answers James’ questions and therefore is moving his head all the time which makes it especially challenging but lets him appear very alive in the painting.

The third portrait is a gathering of several painters at a stable and you get the chance to see the different approaches of the other ones as well as James Gurney’s full head and shoulders portrait in oil paints. He paints the stable owner in three hours and the end result resembles the sitter perfectly.

Portraits in the WildIn the fourth scene he paints a singing group which makes it also very difficult to keep the track. For this multi people portrait he needs to change decisions all the time.

This video is not so much about technical information on the materials but rather about the challenges, the approach and the thought process during portrait painting “in the Wild” when people are moving all the time.

What I learned from this video was to not be too hesitantly with making corrections and overpainting areas. Especially with the singers in Casein or the reenactor in Gouache I first thought “oh no, don’t do that” when he overpainted the faces but in the end it was the better choice and it wasn’t a problem at all. In the video James explains when he can make changes and when not.

Cover Portraits in the WildHere are some links related to James Gurney and his portraits:

And of course take a look at the other videos that he is offering through or

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Get the most out of your investment

3 for 1 – Buy one face cast and get three!

I know, plaster casts – expecially the busts – are a very expensive investment. And what if you would like to make two cast drawings with a face?

As a student you don’t really need the decorative aspect that a bust brings but rather serving as a reference to practise. So in the end you need the bust only once and when you are done with your cast drawing you won’t need it anymore.

To get the most out of your investment, why not buying two or more busts at once for the price of one?

“What? Who is selling this?” are you saying?

Instead of drawing from a classical bust which has only one face to draw you can buy reliefs with 2 or 3 faces.

Look at this face of an old man. I know, this guy looks creepy but it serves its purpose very well.

Click the image to buy this at

And what’s with this one? It is one face of a boy and one face of a man plus additional folds to practise.

Click the image to buy this at

While I researched for this blog post about face references to draw from I stumbled across the same vendor who has very good references for figures:

Click the image to buy this at

Click the image to buy this at

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“Return to Florence” – a documentary on Cecil Studios in Florence, Italy


Life as a classical art student in Florence, Italy

Click the image to order the DVD at

I always dreamt of having the money to go to Florence and learn classical art at an academy – if it’s the Angel Academy, Florence Academy or Cecil Studios. The documentary “Return to Florence” wasn’t really helpful in relieving this desire.

I saw an ad on this documentary on the Art Renewal website and asked my girlfriend if she is still looking for a birthday present for me. So then I got the DVD for birthday.

It is no instructional video where you learn something on making classical art but it is rather a documentary on some foreign students living in Florence, Italy to learn a traditional craft at Charles H. Cecil Studios. All of them have different family backgrounds and prerequisites but all have one thing in common: the desire to learn a traditional craft just like I do and I think the majority of this website’s visitors too.

Besides the student’s view we also learn about the views of a student’s mother, a writer, a model and others.

What are they doing now?

Return to Florence was filmed in 2005 so now after 10 years I was curious if the students made it as an artist or not. Here are the student’s websites if you are curious too:

Watch the trailer:

Order “Return to Florence” at

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