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In What Painting Is, ...
In What Painting Is, James Elkins communicates the experience of painting beyond the traditional vocabulary of art history. Alchemy provides a magical language to explore what it is a painter really does in her or his studio--the smells, the mess, the struggle to control the uncontrollable, the special knowledge only painters hold of how colors will mix, and how they will look. Written from the perspective of a painter-turned-art historian, What Painting Is is like nothing you have ever read about art.
Posted December 8, 2002
As an artist i felt that Elkin makes numerous accurate descriptions and successful depictions of what it is to paint and use paint as an artistic tool. His comparison to alchemy may be the most natural of all intreptations of the actual act of painting. The act of painting, which can be so difficult to describe to those unfamilar with the physical presence of brushes and the livelihood of a studio, are presented in a hands-on manor by Elkin. This book not only gives the reader an insight into the thought processes of artist, it also gives an insight into the moments that conscience thought may cease to exist. It will undoubtly change the way the reader looks at or creates art.
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