Lessons in Classical Painting
by Juliette Aristides
Hardback: 248 pages
Released: July 26th 2016
Source: Review copy from the publisher through Blogging for Books.
Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
With a direct, easy-to-follow approach, Juliette Aristides presents aspiring artists with the fundamental skills and tools needed to master painting in the atelier style.
With more than 25 years of experience in ateliers and as an art instructor, Aristides pairs personal examples and insights with theory, assignments and demonstrations for readers, discussions of technical issues, and inspirational quotes. After taking a bird's eye look at painting as a whole, Aristides breaks down painting into big picture topics like grisaille, temperature, and color, demonstrating how these key subjects can be applied by all painters.
Lessons in Classical Painting contained foundational lessons for painting "in the atelier style." This isn't for absolute beginners since the author assumed you have done some painting and doesn't cover equipment basics. Rather, it's a series of lessons that build on each other to improve your painting.
The author talked about a topic then provided a lesson or two to help you learn and apply that principle. She'd tell you the goal of the lesson and how to choose a subject rather than assume you'll do the exact same painting that's in the demonstration. This allows you to practice the lesson more than once (if you wish) and to pick a topic you'll enjoy painting. I really appreciated this. This is the only painting book I've ever read where I decided to do every single lesson in the book.
The paintings used as illustrations ranged from the old masters to works by the author and many other current artists. Nearly every painting was a lesson in itself or illustrated a point in the text. The topics that she covered included really looking, basic shapes and the values that create an object, how to organize a scene, under-painting, monotone paintings, light as a way to reveal form and create a mood, working with a limited palette, color temperature, color theory, color mixing, and more. You can apply these lessons to any type of oil painting (still life, portraits, landscapes, etc.).
The author clearly defined her terms. She was easy to understand, and I felt no confusion when following her directions. I'm probably an advanced beginner, and I think her lessons have really helped to improve my painting. I'd recommend this book to oil painters who aim for some level of realism in their paintings.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.