Thursday, July 21, 2016

Review: Oil Painting Essentials: Mastering portraits, figures, still lifes, and interiors by Gregg Kreutz

Review: Oil Painting Essentials: Mastering portraits, figures, still lifes, and interiors
Gregg Kreutz
Watson-Guptill Publications 

Yes, I go for any bit of help I can find to improve my skills.  Well, improve my attempts at oil painting anyway.  This is not a beginner book, but one for someone who has worked with the medium a bit and has wondered what is it that just makes someone else’s work work and their own not work.  His first eye opener for me was this.  “…the skill of oil painting is not time dependent. It’s insight dependent.” (2)  He had just debunked the paint one a day for a long time and you will arrive theory.  He is not saying that isn’t important just that it takes more.  That is the launch point for this book.  
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Kreutz walks the reader through some basic concept and process essentials with examples (Loved the how not to paint a shadow!)  After that he offers lots of good reminders or even new information depending on where the reader is with his oil painting experience in the different genres mentioned in the subtitle.  In these portions of the book he shows how the concept and application he had discussed works within the different areas.  I really appreciated the show and tell aspects.  He provides plenty of examples to illustrate his points.  For those that wish to paint in a style other than the one the author shows for illustrations, I suspect the information is still valid, but maybe with some variation for your own style preference.  I know that in reference to an abstract sort of thing I did some of the comments pertaining to light would have improved the end product. 

Kreutz closes with a this thought.  “Developing as an oil painter, then, requires perseverance, sensitivity, intelligence, compassion, flexibility, and the ability to see the whole instead of the parts.  It’s a lifelong journey, and I don’t’ believe a real artist ever ‘arrives’.” (246)   Hope I can remember that the next time I paint and the time after that. 

I do recommend this book.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a review.

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