Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Photo Demos and Books

It's Tippy Tuesday! A collection of tips I've gained through experience or stolen learned from other artists.

What's the best way to learn to paint? Not everyone can get an MFA or enroll in a great studio arts program. That leaves workshops, videos, and books.

Photo Demos

Most still-photo demos seem to have a giant step missing from them—that magic step between "here is the block in" and "here is the brilliant finished painting." But some are quite detailed with a wealth of information. Not to mention the generosity of those painters who put that information out there for free. Some of the best:

* * * * * * * * * * * *

  • Laurel Daniel's Garden Portals and Stolen Moment demos. You can also click the label "demo" underneath the posts to see others in that category.
  • Mike Callahan's Gold Lake demo on Wet Canvas. By the way, if you are a member, you can also access their reference photo library.
  • Tom Brown CD lessons. Not free, but a great value.

  • If you're a landscape painter, people are going to recommend two books to you: Kevin Macpherson's Landscape Painting Inside & Out and Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light and Color. I'm not going to write about them; you'll get that everywhere, for good reason. They're pretty much the best landscape references you can find—I don't need to add anything else.
  • Less famous, but a fabulous reference, is Elizabeth Tolley's Oil Painter's Solution Book: Landscapes. This is presented in a very engaging answers-to-question format, with an attractive page layout, and a huge amount of practical information in bite-sized pieces and some great demos at the end.
  • Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting by John F. Carlson also gets a lot of mention. There is soooo much information in this book, but I'm not the first person to be put off by the black-and-white photos and text-dense pages. On the other hand, if we're not distracted by all the pretty pictures, we have a better chance of actually reading the book and benefiting from all that great knowledge.
  • The Simple Secret to Better Painting by Greg Albert is about composition. It's great for landscapes, still lifes, figure painting, anything. 

Anyone who knows a great demo or book, please feel free to link to it in the comments!

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