Saturday, January 5, 2008

60 Minutes to Better Painting - a review

One of my goals for the year is to complete 50 painting starts, spending about an hour on each. Much to my delight, I recently found a book all about that. Here's my review of that book.

60 Minutes to Better Painting: Sharpen Your Skills in Oil and Acrylic
by Craig Nelson

This book is designed to encourage beginning artists to learn to paint, by painting quickly. So, it is ideal for someone considering joining the daily painting movement or a project like my 50 starts. The opening chapter lists the benefits of this sort of effort.

The book is structured by the above-mentioned list. There are chapters on process, editing, color and light effects, finishing a painting (not part of the 60 minute scheme), and a summary chapter on exploration in painting.

Topics I Liked
  • Chapter on Process - gave an outline to steps to follow with a time line. (Obviously, this will differ with every artist, but it at least gives you a starting point.)
  • Quick Analysis - he gives the reader a "push" towards learning to edit quickly and analyzing both the subject and your painting quickly.
  • Surveys of Color Approaches - a few different ideas to try - ones that can be implemented easily without new supplies
  • Tips for Finished Paintings - this is both about lessons learned from quick studies and how to refine a quick study a bit more
A Note About the Acrylic Side
It says oil and acrylics in the title, but almost every example is in oil. There is one acrylic study shown (that I found). For the demonstrations he lists supplies in both oil and acrylic, but then does it in oil. I think a better second title would be "why you should learn to paint quickly," this book doesn't list good skills to have or good practices to follow, it's more like a signpost to a path of learning.

If I was to give it a pencil rating, I'd say three out of five pencils. I enjoyed it, I'm glad I read it, glad I took notes to refer to later, but wasn't tempted to plunk down money when I saw it in the used book store last week. (But someone else was, because it wasn't there this week!) I did really like it as an encouragement to get on with my project - above you see start number one. It was done on the Nintendo "sketchbook". Honestly, I'm embarrassed to post that image, but one has to start somewhere! :-)

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