I’ve been painting for many years, so I often forget that lots of people need basic, beginner instruction on making art.
If you’re one of those souls who are searching for an inclusive but simple beginner’s art book, I think I’ve got you covered.
I know a lot of you are whining that this is an oil painter’s book and not a how-to guide to acrylics. I also know that deep down inside, a lot of people still regard oil painting as the epitome of the craft. I won’t belabor the point with you; mastering any medium is huge.
Today I’d like to introduce you to a book that you’ll constantly use as a beginner and often refer to as you hone your painting skills. For those errant souls who abandoned painting and are now attempting to redeem themselves, this book is a good refresher course.
Getting Started With Oil Painting
The title of this book, The Oil Painting Course You’ve Always Wanted: Guided Lessons For Beginners And Experienced Artists, is a bit misleading. I would classify it as a book for beginning painters who really don’t have much experience painting with oils or making art in general.
Art Instruction 101
Kathleen Staiger has written an easily understood book that gives a rank beginner all the basics needed to get started flinging paint. The first portion of the book discusses choosing your supplies.
Ms. Staiger has drawn up a specific list of paints for a beginner’s palette, including suggested brands. She gives a very short list of brushes to start your collection with a brief discussion of different types of brushes and bristle types. Trust me; you will accumulate a true collection! A condensed explanation of several supports is followed up with useful information on mediums and oil paint cleaners that give you the basic products you need and how to use them.
Kathleen finishes off the section with an extensive shopping list of all the items you’ll need to get your painting career off the ground.
The remainder of the book is devoted to basic art instruction.
The lessons include:
- Capturing The Illusion Of Three Dimensions
This exercise is a lesson in using shading and shadow to give a three-dimension appearance to your subject. It also gives more instruction on how to convincingly draw the three basic building blocks of drawing any object. Those three basics are the sphere, the cube and the cylinder.
- Making Your Brush Behave
The section on brushes highlights various ways to manipulate your brush to achieve the effects you want. Photos show how to load the brush, how to hold it and how to apply the paint to achieve the desired appearance.
- Getting The Colors You Want
Starting with the basics of color and the color wheel, this lesson scratches the surface of how to blend color. Many books are written on this subject alone, but this brief intro will get a beginner started with exploring the basics of color.
- Putting It All Together
This lesson takes what you’ve learned about drawing and moves you to the next level of painting the shapes you learned to draw in the previous lessons.
The remaining chapters are concerned with individual types of paintings.
- Creating A Still Life Painting
- Creating A Landscape Painting
- Creating A Portrait Painting
Each chapter has lots of illustrations, diagrams and photographs of the topic the author is discussing, and there are also a number of paintings representing the various lessons presented.
If you’re interested in learning oil painting, this book is a great starting point to begin your adventures in art. A lot of the theory extends to all mediums, but the book focuses on oil painting and the challenges the medium imposes.