Thursday, August 25, 2016

Review: Lessons in Classical Painting: Essential Techniques from Inside the Atelier by Juliette Aristides

Review: Lessons in Classical Painting: Essential Techniques from Inside the Atelier
Juliette Aristides

Good basic instruction here in increments that if followed will help just about anyone improve their skills.  For the more advanced that have hit a snag this would be a good review to work through just to check your technique for the “little” things that matter.  

Each chapter talks the reader through the lesson and gives progressive pictures to show what the words cannot convey.  Talk about lighting and shadows all you want, but a picture gives me that aha moment where all the words come to make more sense.  Each lesson builds on the previous one which for the impatient sorts will chafe considerably.  But that’s way forward in art it seems.  

Planning and more planning to get the right light, colors, and form will become part of the routine.  Value strips abound.  Tedious stuff, but trial and error uses more time and product.  (Of course, I have never done that, but have heard from others who have.)  

Follow this book to its conclusion you will improve.  Yes, this sort of instruction is available in other places and formats. The other versions might work better for your particular learning style.  For those of us that prefer a less hurried method (I’m thinking of video) I would recommend this book.  There is one thing before you start this one, though.  Drawing.  Learn to draw first.  At least well enough to follow along with these instructions.  Besides drawing helps identify more thoroughly just what you are seeing.  Maybe it is the beginning of seeing?  

I do recommend this book.  Lay flat binding, full color prints on nearly every page, clear font.  The only thing better than that would be to work in the atelier itself.

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

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Review: Searching the Scriptures: Find the Nourishment Your Soul Needs by Charles R. Swindoll

Review: Searching the Scriptures: Find the Nourishment Your Soul Needs
Charles R. Swindoll
Tyndale House Publishers

Searching the Scriptures: Find the Nourishment Your Soul NeedsSwindoll has dedicated this book to Dr. Howard G. Hendricks who taught him “many of the principles and techniques” included in this book.  Swindoll says, “I determined to prolong the memory of his life by sharing with others what he faithfully invested in me so many years ago.” (v).  Dr. Hendricks died in 2013.  I think he would be honored by the work Swindoll dedicated to him.

This book is for those just starting their study of the Bible or for those that have been around for a while, too.  I belong to the latter group and I have to say I have already found much within the first few chapters to be helpful.  Things I either have never done or have gotten careless with over time that diminished the benefits of the study time I have spent in the last few years.  

This is a step by step journey through the process of study starting at the very beginning with a brief overview of the Bible including sections, books, and some of the historical highlights along the way.  There’s even a chart of the kings that followed Solomon by region, Israel or Judah.  Oh, how I wish I had one of those when I first tried to sort out who was who and where.  All that without overwhelming the reader.  Truly a teacher that knows his students.  After the introduction there is section to work with the information he had just discussed.  Nothing too lengthy or difficult though.  He continues in that vein throughout the rest of the book.  The basic method used for study is observation, interpretation, correlation, and application.  

His chapter texts are useful for learning some Bible and how to study it for yourself all at once.  No wasted effort for the reader or student.  Examples abound and then the reader gets to try some for himself at the end of the chapter.  Slow going for those that wanted a quick gloss, but for those that want to learn and grow this works.  Swindoll says near the end of the book that his “main desire in writing this book has been to pass the baton in this all-important relay of truth…. I want to stimulate you to pass the baton to others so that, too, will learn to find precious treasures in God’s Word and have their lives transformed.  Then they can pass those truths on to others as well.” (251)  

I recommend this book to you.  

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

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Review: The Temple and the Tabernacle: A Study of God’s Dwelling Places from Genesis to Revelation by J. Daniel Hays

Review: The Temple and the Tabernacle: A Study of God’s Dwelling Places from Genesis to Revelation
J. Daniel Hays
Baker Books

Product DetailsFirst impressions count.  Academic comes to mind when I first looked at this book.  And in some respects it is, but don’t let that scare you off.  Hays has written a book that is informative, thought provoking, and accessible to folks like me (a non-academic) and only about 200 pages long.  There are no five questions for discussion at the end of each chapter either and that is a plus for a work like this one.  A bibliography for those that want to know who this author consulted and endnotes for even more information are included.  Pictures, charts, and graphic renderings break the narrative at appropriate spots and help the reader to more fully grasp the discussion that surrounds them.  

The content covers not only the tabernacle and temple architecture and furnishings, but also the history from each of the periods they represent.  That’s the strength of this book for me.  Hays focuses on the structures as God’s dwelling places among his people and the history that structure witnessed.  As the structures become more elaborate and costly the history of the people of God descends into darker and darker periods.  Hays spends no little amount of time looking between the lines of the biblical account of the reign of Solomon ferreting out the differences in the motive and means of temple construction during his tenure as compared to the same of the tabernacle during Moses’ time.  Interesting reading and I’m still mulling his take on it.  

Of course, there’s more to come after Solomon’s temple and that is not ignored, but as in the history itself nothing until Herod’s structure comes close to the grandeur that was Solomon’s.  Synagogues are not the temple or the tabernacle, but they have become the local gathering place for the people of God in the intervening years. Churches of today have some connection to the synagogues of that period.  Herod’s temple stood as a reminder of the glory of yesteryear, but served as the focal point of institutionalized religion.  The glory had departed much earlier.  

Hays’ last chapter covers the “so what” for the present time.  This chapter, while a nice way to round out the dwelling places of God theme, felt hurried and incomplete.  All the fun factoids related to the history of the temple and tabernacle had been used.  The current dwelling place is still under construction and the visions of the completed structure are still difficult to describe.  A look forward to Revelation sustains the people’s hope of the future dwelling place of God. 

I recommend this book for its readability and succinct coverage of a rather large topic.  

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