Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Book Review: Oil Painting Techniques and Materials

A few peppers sitting on my couch
(getting going on my sketching goals for 2009)

This post is a review of Harold Speed's Oil Painting Techniques and Materials.

What This Book is Not
This is not an easy read. This is not a "5 simple steps to a masterpiece" type of book. The chapters are long and at points rambling. The book was originally published in 1944 - it's not a book written for the modern "scanning" reader. However...

What This Book Offers
This is a marvelous book! There aren't many books that I read that I feel like I would benefit by reading again. But, this one is an exception. I learned there are several historical approaches to painting. I learned how certain effects have been achieved. I have a blueprint to try for approaching a painting.

In all of those areas and in others, I feel like there is more for me to understand in this book. Some of it went over my head, so I would benefit from returning to this book - and plan to do so in the future.

I do see a great improvement in my painting since I started reading this book. I have a better idea of how to handle painting wet-into-wet...what happens to the color, what can be achieved, etc. (Actually, I have been painting with open acrylics, not oils, but many of the same principles apply.)


Katherine Tyrrell said...

I like books which are a bit of a challenge. I can't think of anything worse than something which tries to simplify art to 5 easy steps! It's not easy! But it's very rewarding when you begin to conquer some of the complexity!

(I'm just going to copy that and go and copy it over to my blog - I think there's a blog post in that! ;) )

Jo Castillo said...

Rose, thanks for the review. You have great insight.

I like the peppers, too. :)

Teresa said...

I like the crisp values on the peppers. The book sounds really good... headed over to Amazon now to check it out.... thanks for sharing!