Sargent on Painting

• Painting is an interpretation of tone.

• Keep the planes free and simple, drawing a full brush down the whole contour of a cheek.

• Always paint one thing into another and not side by side until they touch.

• The thicker your paint — the more your color flows.

• Simplify, omit all but the most essential elements — values, especially the values. You must clarify the values.

• The secret of painting is in the half tone of each plane, in economizing the accents and in the handling of the lights.

• You begin with the middle tones and work up from it .... so that you deal last with your lightest lights and darkest darks, you avoid false accents.

• Paint in all the half tones and the generalized passages quite thick.

• It is impossible for a painter to try to repaint a head where the understructure was wrong.

— John Singer Sargent