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Video Details

Alvin Gittins: Realist

Grade Levels: 6 - 12
Core Subject(s): Fine Arts - Visual Arts
Usage rights: Download and retain personal copies in perpetuity.

Availability information for this program


  • Portraiture - Capturing a Likeness

    Portrait painter Alvin Gittins explains that the ability to observe and capture likeness is somewhat of a gift. He describes how capturing a likeness goes beyond just the face to include a person's gestalt (a German word that means "form" or "shape") that is captured by understanding the average, distinctive and idiosyncratic physical attributes of a person. He also empahsises the importance of understanding anatomy in painting the human form. Several portraits are featured.

    Length: 00:03:35
  • Portraiture - Painting From a Live Model

    Portrait painter Alvin Gittins sketches a rough drawing of a live model, Barbara Ashford, after adjusting her arm to achieve the pose he wants. Then he begins the actual painting, chatting with the model as he works on her portrait. When the painting is finished, it is compared, side by side, with the live model. [note: There is a brief glimpse of a completed portrait of a nude hanging in the background.]

    Length: 00:02:34
  • Portraiture -The Challenges of Painting Flesh

    Portrait painter Alvin Gittins discusses typical pitfalls in painting flesh and describes how flesh actually consists of many different colors that are affected by the light and by surrounding colors. He stresses the point that color is not absolute but is a product of its context. Several portraits are featured that illustrate his points.

    Length: 00:02:54
  • Portraiture - The Importance of North Light

    Portrait painter Alvin Gittins discusses the necessity of working in unchanging, or in other words, "north light." He explains the need for such constant light, the fact that we are accustomed to seeing the world with light from above that defines shapes in a unique way, and the challenges of depicting a three-dimensional form on a two-dimensional surface.

    Length: 00:02:27
  • Portraiture - The Value of Realistic Art in Modern Times

    Portrait painter Alvin Gittins talks about the reasons why portraiture, still life and other realistic styles of painting, still have value in modern times. He explains that realistic painting has the potential of adding drama, digging deeper, and of epitomizing a situation or emotion in a way that provides viewers with new insights or a larger vision. Several paintings illustrate his points.

    Length: 00:01:44



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