The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting

Elements of Landscape Oil PaintingTechniques for Rendering Sky, Terrain, Trees, and Water
By Suzanne Brooker
Category: Art | Science | Science & Technology
Hardcover & Ebook
Aug 18, 2015 | 208 Pages


Hardcover copy provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.




About The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting
A landscape painting guide for oil painters that breaks landscapes down into component elements from nature, and showcases tools and techniques used by classic and modern oil painters for bringing these scenes to life.
     Landscape painting is one of the most popular subjects for painters working in the medium of oils–from classic masters to contemporary artists.

In The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting, established Watson-Guptill author and noted instructor/painter Suzanne Brooker presents the fundamentals necessary for mastering landscape oil painting, breaking landscapes down into component parts: sky, terrain, trees, and water. Each featured element builds off the previous, with additional lessons on the latest brushes, paints, and other tools used by artists. Key methods like observation, rendering, and color mixing are supported by demonstration paintings and samples from a variety of the best landscape oil painters of all time.

With The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting, oil painters looking to break into landscape painting or enhance their work will find all the necessary ingredients for success.

My Take Oblong

Some of you may know that in addition to my reading, blogging, house repair personae I am also a painter.  I am not a painter of any renown but it is something with which I identify and very important to me.

I love to paint in oils, from live models, from still life arrangements, and I aspire to painting landscapes.   For me, landscapes are the hardest subject to compose and paint. And, I am going to a workshop this summer on landscape painting.  I thought this book would be a tremendous help to me.

I almost panic as I begin to paint a landscape these are some of the thoughts that go through my head:

  • Why won’t that damn sun stay still?
  • What is the focus?
  • Too much green, TOO MUCH green. (Oddly I don’t panic on blue when doing sky or water).

I do take photos of the scene, but aghh, trust me it is still the hardest thing. Actually, it ties with complicated masses (like a bunch of hangars or a bowl of tiny berries). 

Enter this tome, THE ELEMENTS OF LANDSCAPE PAINTING, Techniques for Rendering Sky, Terrain, Trees and Water by Susan Brooker.  She is apparently a very well known and considered art educator and painter.   And her talent and technical knowledge run very deep.

This is an excellent resource for artists who paint in oil, but it is not the kind of book you read cover to cover. It is a large format book and hard to hold comfortably for that type of reading. 

And, it is supposed to be aimed at intermediate painters but it is bogged down in a lot of information that I would probably place in a beginners class.  It has a lot of information that intermediates already have and, for me, it was confusing.  I have been taking classes at the art college here since 1995 and never heard of some of the things she shows.  She presents lists of supplies,  how to hold a brush how to prepare a canvas, and more.   It took away from the book’s impact.  The book hovers somewhere between belonging in the reference category and attempting to be a course in landscape painting. 

Also, she is a much more technical and methodical painter than I am.

But, I also found a lot of really good information like asking the question, “What do I See?” in composing a painting. This question is really vital and was like a light bulb turning on.  The question doesn’t ask “What is there?” It asks, “What do I see that makes me want to paint this?” 

If I had received nothing more than this from the book it would be worth it, but there is a ton of information that I can see myself using a I approach a painting. And it is certainly beautiful to look at. There are dozens of  seriously beautiful landscape paintings and drawings. I could just look through it as a coffee table book.   I also think much of the information presented would apply to painting the still life.

If you have an interest in painting the landscape in oils I highly recommend this tremendous resource.

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