“Above all, whatever you choose to paint ultimately needs to function as a picture – a visual event with a beginning, middle, and end,” Gregg Kreutz writes in the introduction of his book, Mastering Portraits, Figures, Still Lifes, Landscapes, and Interiors.
~ What ~
This one-hundred-sixty-page oversized paperback targets those who want to learn more about the essentials of oil painting. After an introduction, six chapters cover the topic, ending with an afterword, acknowledgments, and index.
While the first chapter explains painting with accuracy, design, depth, and drama, the author stresses one must learn to see with clarity and insight while using balance and variety. The following chapters cover action and challenges in portraiture, figures, still lifes, plein air and studio landscapes, and interiors.
Since I have a degree in art (realistic oil painting), I appreciate books that are detailed in techniques and tips when painting. I liked how this one explained conceptual designing of a painting, breaking it down to three to five steps based on its theme.
I did enjoy the many examples of chiaroscuro lighting and the sequence of painting regarding placement, background, shadowing, lighting, and finishing. His recommendation to not copy a scene but select what is important can be subjective to the artist and viewer, not objective, making it unique.
~ Why Not ~
With oil painting being different than acrylic or watercolors, the book does not explain mixing the colors, various mediums used to wet the paint, or paint brush selections. Some may be frustrated it is not a step-by-step tutorial of a few selected paintings, but it is a reflective discussion on many of the artist’s creations.
~ Who ~
Having painted with oils for over thirty years, Kreutz is an artist, art instructor, author, and playwright who lives in New York.
~ Wish ~
With the book containing only works by the author, I wish it included other artists’ examples to show the plethora of design and painting styles.
~ Want ~
If you are looking for an intermediate book on oil painting by one artist that shows his style, this may be an acceptable choice if you are a fan of the painter’s works.
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars.
Thanks to Blogging for Books for a sample to read and review.
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GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.