Feb 7, 2013

Favorite Artist

My Favorite Artists
Sharon Teal Coray

John Howard Sanden
Many years ago I this purchased a book on portrait painting by John Howard Sanden. It has been one of go to books for help when painting portraits. I eventually purchased his Pro Mix oil colors used for portraits. I have loved them ever since and they are made by my very favorite company Martin F. Weber.

Here is a little bit of info I found on the Weber website about Mr Sanden.

"In 1969 John Sanden decided to leave the Midwest and a long career in Christian art, and try his hand at New York City and the world of portrait painting. Within months of arriving in New York, he was appointed to the teaching faculty of the Art Students League, had become affiliated with the city's principal portrait brokerage, Portraits, Incorporated, and had established a nationwide portrait clientele of the famous, wealthy and influential.

Sanden dedicated himself to a teaching career. He founded The Portrait Institute in 1974 and began touring the nation, teaching his ideas and techniques to thousands, who came out to hear him in classes as large as seven hundred at a time. He created a national correspondence instructional program. In 1979, Sanden launched the National Portrait Seminar, which grew to be the largest art seminar program in America. John Sanden is the author of four books on portraiture. With all of these demands on his time, he has managed to complete more than five hundred portraits of prominent figures in American public, professional and business life. His client list reads like a Who's Who of American education and industry. Popular columnist Pete Hamill, writing in the New York Post, August 15, 1991, said "John Howard Sanden is the closest we have in America to fit the old role of court painter."

I joined his Portrait Institute during the 70's and have enjoyed following his career and using his methods to paint my portraits.
I just found out that he was the artist who painted President Bush and wife Laura. Here are the gorgeous portraits he presented to them.

They really capture the essence of each personality! How beautiful they will be hanging in the white house.

Here is some info on his Pro Mix

Formulated by John Howard Sanden and used nationwide for over a quarter of a century by leading professionals, the Pro Mix Color System colors are a professional, highest quality product for fast, accurate portrait color mixing. The system consists of ten specially formulated colors, thirteen standard palette colors, and white. The ten Flesh Color Spectrum colors are used in combination with the traditional palette of standard colors to produce a wide range of clean, exact, flesh tones.

The detailed full-color instructional booklet quickly teaches you how to create a full spectrum of 78 easily repeatable color combinations. Then use the 32" foldout color mixing chart to record the color mixtures for ready reference. Allows you to concentrate on creativity, knowing your flesh colors are right every time.

The system consists of three components:

A. Flesh Color Spectrum - ten specially-formulated colors.

B. Standard Colors - thirteen standard palette colors.

C. Permalba White.


These colors are not "crutches" or a "paint-by-number" shortcut. These ten colors are, in fact, simple, traditional flesh color combinations (see descriptions below), used by all portrait artists since the introduction of oil painting. For example. Light 1 is produced by the manufacturer by combining the ingredients of white, yellow ochre and cadmium red light. The resulting hue has been used by painters for the five hundred years of oil painting.

The Lights

Light 1. A clean, clear color for the lightest lights. Combines white, yellow ochre and cadmium red light.

Light 2. A basic flesh tone. Combines white, yellow ochre, cadmium red light and cerulean blue.
Light 3. A warm, pink flesh color for ruddy areas in light. Combines white, yellow ochre, cadmium red light and cerulean blue.

The Halftones

Halftone 1. A cool halftone, especially helpful as a starting point in painting receding planes. Combines white, yellow ochre, cadmium red light and viridian.

Halftone 2. Often used where light and shadow areas meet, this warm, rich color combines white, yellow ochre, cadmium red light, chromium oxide green and cadmium orange.

The Darks

Dark 1. White has been added to the basic mixture of Dark 2.

Dark 2. A rich, dark mixture of burnt sienna, viridian and cadmium orange.

The Neutrals
Neutral 3. The light halftone. Combines white, black and yellow ochre.
Neutral 5. Precisely midway between black and white. A combination of white, black and yellow ochre.
Neutral 7. Positioned on a value scale of nine tones, this is a dark halftone, midway between value 5 and black. A warm, dark grey combining white, ivory black, and raw sienna or yellow ochre.

Boxed set, ten studio size tubes (1.25 fl. oz. each). $85.99. Members, 60.95

Please select "ordering" from the menu on the left.


Cadmium Yellow Light

Yellow Ochre

Cadmium Red Light

Venetian Red

Cadmium Orange

Burnt Sienna

Burnt Umber

Alizarin Crimson

Chromium Oxide Green


Cerulean Blue

Ultramarine Blue

Ivory Black


Permalba is the famous brand white oil pigment manufactured by Martin/F.Weber Company of Philadelphia, America's oldest manufacturer of artists' colors. The Martin/F. Weber Company has purchase orders in their archives from John Singer Sargent for this acclaimed product. Permalba White is preferred by artists for its delightful "buttery" consistency and "flowing" qualities. Sold in the large "pound" tubes only.

Become a Member of

The Portrait Institute

For a one-time charge of $50 (there are no annual renewal charges) your membership entitles you to a discount on purchases from the Institute website, plus advance invitations to special events (such as the annual Members' Lecture), and travel opportunities, (such as our London "Great Portraits" tour).
To see more of his work:

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New Free Pattern Blog

New Free Pattern Blog
Sharon Teal Coray has a new blog offering free patterns! Updated often! Check it out!