Mark Carder, the well regarded painter and portraitist who I profiled in a previous post, at one point participated in and lent his name to a series of instructional painting videos known as “The Carder Method”.
These sold for over $100, and were for a time heavily promoted.
Carder is no longer associated with the company that was selling the set, and they have ceased selling the materials as of the end of 2012.
Carder has since been creating his own instructional videos, outlining his teaching methods, and is generously making them available for free on his website Draw Mix Paint.
Carder is self taught, and attributes some of his training to study of painters he particularly admires, including John Singer Sargent and Velazquez.
He has codified his teaching method into a process that is based on direct observation, measurement, and constant incremental color checking.
To this end he has created some simple tools to facilitate the process, and gives instructions for making them yourself, including proportional dividers and a pistol grip style “color checker” that allows for sighting across a swatch of paint through an eyelet, to better isolate the color than with the traditional method of simply sighting over a color laden palette knife.
To those of us who have had some formal training, his method may seem laborious, relying as it does on many more steps of color checking and smaller increments of mixing than most approaches to painting.
Bear in mind, however, that this is a method intended to allow absolute beginners to go from 0 to painting in the course of instruction. Carder points out that this isn’t intended to be a method of painting, but a method of learning to paint.
Even if your predisposition is not to the type of direct representation of reality that Carder practices, or you have less patience than required to practice his approach as demonstrated, I think many will still find Carder’s instruction worthwhile.
Although there are areas where experienced painters may disagree (as is often the case between painters) Carder’s methods are pretty much based on sound proven principles.
For those with no painting or drawing experience, he recommends starting with the initial videos on drawing.
Carder has additional videos on topics like setting up a studio, making a shadow box, stretching a canvas, making his color checker and proportional dividers, etc. and he continues to add to them.
He has recently introduced two downloadable videos for which he is charging, Painting Portraits, and From Start to Finish: Still Life; but the fee is a small fraction of the cost for the original course ($20 each), and he points out that they are not necessary — they just go into more detail, and you can learn the essentials of his method from the free videos.