Conversations in Paint: A Notebook of Fundamentals


A fresh introduction to the fundamentals, CONVERSATIONS IN PAINT is part painter's sketchbook, part philosopher's journal, part instructor's primer. If you paint, it will give new insight into your work. If you don't paint, it will inspire you. Open to any page and learn to see.

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A fresh introduction to the fundamentals, CONVERSATIONS IN PAINT is part painter's sketchbook, part philosopher's journal, part instructor's primer. If you paint, it will give new insight into your work. If you don't paint, it will inspire you. Open to any page and learn to see.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Dunn, a marketing consultant, took his first art class at the age of 35. Thus, this volume, in the form of a "notebook," is written by and for the amateur painter with the attitude that all one needs to paint is desire. However, one of his major tenetsthat talent is a mythis a fallacy. Dunn covers the basic principles of design, contrast, theme, and perspective, but the design of the book itself muddies his intent. Structured more like an M.B.A.'s organizational chart, without chapter numbers as guides, the book is frustrating to work with. There is no lack of alternatives on the subject, such as Rex Brandt's Seeing with a Painter's Eye Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1984.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563056642
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 993,962
  • Product dimensions: 8.92 (w) x 11.54 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Dunn describes himself as a perpetual student. He took his first art lesson as a self-conscious adult at the Museum of Modern Art in 1967 and has been actively studying, teaching, painting, and showing work ever since.

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Table of Contents



See for Yourself

Seven Ways the Artist Sees

The Language of Painting Aesthetic Conventions

Seeing in Symbols

Form Follows Function


Exotic Locations and Local Equivalents

Learning from the Masters-Looking at Paintings

Tastes Change


The Fatigue Mutations



Theme and Variations-Major and Minor Themes


Every Picture is Not a Painting

Center of Interest

Design Principles May Combine


Organizing Principles

Element Patterns

Combining Patterns

Organizing Patterns


Passage and Counterchange

Patterns of Clarity and Interest


Instinctive Types

Acquired Types

Formal Types

Using Type



Stimulating Emotion

Organizing Emotion



Basic Characteristics Color in Nature and Paint

The Three-Value System

Relative Clarity

Secondary Characteristics

Color Relationships

Balance and Organization

Seven Ways to Use Color-Open and Closed Color

Line-Generating a Line

The Language of Line

Lost and Found Edges

Hierarchy of Edges

Texture-The Golden Section


Form Description and Surface Texture

Figure and Ground


The Picture Box

Perspective Defined

One-Point Perspective

Two- and Three-Point Perspectives

Proportional Division

Uphill and Downhill Illusions

Compromise Perspectives

Overlap Perspective

Aerial Perspective

Light and Shade


Volume Control

Look Into, Look Through, Look Over

The Sense of Space


Style, the Bridge from Theory to Practice

Personal Profile



The Notated Sketch

The Plan View

Pattern Schemes

Format and Horizon

Point of View and Key

Color Plans




The Underpainting

Notan: The Second Layer


Editing-Spotting: The Final Darks

Calligraphy The Line-and-Wash Job


The Crit

Fine Points


The Purpose of Learning Apperceptive Mass

The Gateway to Learning

The Pathway to Memory

The Pleasure of Practice

The Autonomous Stage-The Antidote to Tension

Picture Credits


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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2011


    Good description about the book and ship on time.

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