Painting techniques book?
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  1. #1
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    Painting techniques book?

    Hi I need to "brush up" on my painting skills. I am self taught and I've basically resigned to the fact that I know nothing aside from mere basics.
    Going back to school however desirable is not an option. But I can read.
    What are some good book(s) suggestions for painting knowledge?
    Everything from light to color theory to composition.
    I am working digitally but Im sure the concepts carry over.

    Thanks so much.
    M

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    Alla Prima by R Schmid. Get it from him directly at http://www.richardschmid.com/book.html
    It's the book that 'everyone' recommends.

    As well, just go to the library and go for a browse.

    Last edited by Craig D; December 9th, 2008 at 05:16 PM. Reason: typo
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    i recently took out The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques (5th edition) by Ralph Mayer from the library. 700 + pages stuffed with yummy information on materials and techniques and what seems to be pretty much everything. i'm falling in love with it.

    edit: just noticed you only work in digital. this book seems to be more focused on traditional mediums.

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Painting secrets of the masters - david leffel (And of course alla prima by schmid, as recommended above.)

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Harold Speed also has a book on oil painting and it's only 10 bucks. The problem is the language may be hard to grasp due to the time the book was written.

    http://www.amazon.com/Painting-Techn.../dp/0486255069

    I don't think it matters if the person is doing digital or traditional, there is much to learn in a traditional book that can be translated into digital painting.

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    Harold Speed +1^
    Superb book and the guy walks the walk..
    http://www.npg.org.uk/live/search/pe...07590&role=art
    The language is indeed a tad flowery but art's an esoteric sort of subject, where you should expect large sentences and funny words that you need to look up.

    Hereward Lester Cooke- Painting Techniques of the Masters
    Curator of Painting at the National Gallery in DC opinionates on art, painting and the meaning of life while pointing at old master paintings to illustrate his points. "Edges? here's how Vermeer does edges and that's why you're his bitch."

    Out of print but used copies are on Amazon US from 16 bucks..Can't recommend this highly enough, especially at that price.
    http://www.amazon.com/Painting-Techn.../dp/0823038637

    Last edited by Flake; December 10th, 2008 at 08:27 PM.
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    In my opinion, the top 3 painting texts for the self-starters among us are ... 'The Student's Guide To Painting' - Faragasso ... 'Alla Prima' by Richard Schmid ... 'Mastering The Craft Of Painting' - AJ Grado.

    As a self-taught painter, I have literally read almost every painting technique and materials book printed since 1900 or so, over the past seven years. And the basics are covered better in these three than in any other book. And once you've worked thru two or all of these, Virgil Elliott's 'Traditional Oil Painting: Advanced Techniques' would be the next logical step to broaden your knowledge.

    After a solid grounding in the basics, and with a hunger draw every day from life, the sky is the limit.

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    Unfortunately Faragasso's painting book is also long out of print and currently starts at $150 on Amazon..

    Edit: and to me, it ain't that good.

    And yes, I read a fuzzy photocopy.

    Last edited by Flake; December 9th, 2008 at 09:39 PM.
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    Whatever book you choose, don't just copy it; apply the knowledge.....

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    "Hawethorne on Painting" and "The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri

    [url=http://galleryonefone.blogspot.com[/url] This would be my gallery in Sweden

    This would be my Pleine Air blog
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    Another vote for Harold Speed. Probably my favorite painting book, even though the info on materials is outdated.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Another vote for Harold Speed. Probably my favorite painting book, even though the info on materials is outdated.
    "I heard about this new type of brush called a Filbert, it's pretty good."

    Had me in stitches, especially if you use a Victorian accent.

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    Yep, Harold Speed and Scmids books will get you pretty far, though the concepts might be difficult to apply to the canvas at first (for me, at least). I have the Virgil Elliot book, but I'm not exactly crazy about the way he paints. His "demo" on the direct painting technique is especially unimpressive. For all i know, he has some good knowledge on various painting materials and the production values are great...Lot's of good reproductions of old master paintings, along with the occational mediocre paintings by the author himself.

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    To be fair to Virgil Eliott, he originally intended the book only to be illustrated with examples from master paintings, and the step-by-step demos were included only at the publisher's insistence. That being said, I have to agree with you.


    Tristan Elwell
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    I also found this stupidly simple book at the library called Oil Painting Step by Step, showing brush techniques. I haven't seen Schmid's book but if you can find some books at your local library this is also helpful. I just wouldn't recommend the "buy it" stamp because of the quality of the illustrations themselves. Most would prefer something with a lot more detail. But if you can ever find "supplement" books to help give you a visual example another book is saying, I do think this one helps.

    http://www.amazon.com/Oil-Painting-S...dp/0891347410/

    The sections showing spreading with the palette knives, various brush techniques are helpful.

    Last edited by Arshes Nei; December 11th, 2008 at 11:23 AM.
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    I really like the Virgil Eliott book; even if he isn't the best artist himself, he understands the mechanics of painting. I just wish he would have included works-in-progress of the old masters. How cool would that be?

    Check out my sketchbook? updated 02.01
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    Problem Solving For Oil Painters by Greg Kreutz,

    Traditional Oil Painting by Virgil Elliot , as mentioned,

    .. The Acrylic Revolution by Nancy Reyner

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    Schmid's book is very good for beginners. Specifically for landscape painting.

    Then if you want to dig a little deeper.. Ted Seth Jacobs 's books are indispensable for any serious artist. 'Drawing with an open mind" , 'Light for the artist' and "The dictionary of human form"
    The last title is to be released at the end of 2008.

    www.tomvandewouwer.com

    "There is no such thing as 'accurate drawing'. There is beautiful
    drawing, and ugly, and nothing else." JAD Ingres, Ecrits sur l'art
    (1780-1865)"
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    Thanks for all the replies. I think I will go with Speed and Schmid. Much appreciated.

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