From materials and color theory to methods and projects, this volume in the “Creative Workshop” series takes readers into the art studio for an in-depth study of oil painting. Given the reality that many students attend art class once a week, if at all, this meticulous workshop-in-a-book is perfect for the budding artist eager to create with her paintbrush. Art class begins with a thorough examination of the tools of the trade—brushes, palette knives, paints, thinners, mediums, canvases, and easels—with an expert’s opinion on how to build one’s studio supplies step-by-step. Watercolor illustrations of each tool lend further clarity on which are most important for the beginning student. Next is color theory, with appropriately colorful illustrations that appear to have been painted right onto the page. Completed paintings illustrate concepts of warm and cool colors and shadow and light, and a detailed explanation of mixing colors is particularly useful. This art primer then focuses the majority of its pages on explaining techniques—such as laying a ground, drawing, underpainting, and the application of paint. Three levels of recommended projects—still life, landscape, and portrait—(increasing in difficulty) round out the volume. Step-by-step illustrations and written explanations vividly demonstrate how subtle shading, lines, and colors create depth and add character to a work of art. This guide does assume some familiarity with drawing and painting and is not intended for the novice; but for an intermediate student, Barber creates a comfortable mentorship tone and offers very practical suggestions to expand one’s skills and practice. Reviewer: Leah Hanson; Ages 12 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—These books are definitely not for beginners or dilettantes. Prior knowledge and a deep interest in creating art are a prerequisite to using the volumes with any degree of success. The titles also require a substantial investment in equipment and materials. Fashion Drawing describes numerous kinds of specialist implements used to draw, as well as different kinds of paper. Digital Art requires the purchase of a digital art program, and Oil Painting suggests a wide variety of paints, brushes, canvases, easels, etc. In Fashion Drawing, very elaborate instructions are given for everything from drawing the human hand to drawing houndstooth check and herringbone tweed. This set would be most useful in school libraries where there is a strong, highly focused art curriculum that deals with the specific subjects.