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CoolArtiste 08-08-2003 05:06 PM

Best Landscape books
What do you think are the best landscape books?

I got a couple in the mail today from amazon.com.

I got an anatomy of trees book by Rex Vicat Cole. It looks really good. 350 pages packed full of info and great illustrations. It looks like the only book I'll ever need to read about drawing & painting trees. I like Cole's book on Perspective, which I've read half of so far. I wish he had written a book on EVERY subject in art because he is awesome.

The other book is Carlson's Guide to landscape painting by John Carlson. I got the book because it got very good reviews on Amazon.com. But it looks like a mediocre book or worse. The paintings & illustrations don't look very good. It's only 144 pages. The text is in large, widespace print. It doesn't look very informative. I have a bad feeling about this book. It looks like the reviewers were too generous with it on Amazon.com. I hate how the reviewers on Amazon.com almost always give 4 or 5 stars and rave reviews, then I wind up buying books that really aren't very good.

Wayne Gaudon 08-08-2003 07:19 PM

I like Kevin MacPhersone .. Fill Your Oil Paintings With Light ..

coulter 08-08-2003 07:24 PM

I like "Expressing the Visual Language of the Landscape" because it features a bunch of different artists explaining how they go about it.

In fact, I don't think Matt Smith is featured in or has a book of his own. He's in here and it's great IMHO :D


MikLNjLo 08-08-2003 08:41 PM

Alla Prima by Richard Schmid is one of the best.

A Light Touch -Successful Painting in Oils by David Curtis.

Gruppe on Color by Emile Gruppe

Although none are singularly focused on landscape, each uses it for a platform and offers valuable insight as they cover varying aspects of painting.

CoolArtiste 08-08-2003 11:31 PM

I've now read some parts of the book by John Carlson, and it really IS bad. The book is full of emotional and philosophical ramblings. It has very little, if anything, that is helpful and practical or informative. This is such a stupid book. I feel so ripped off. Eight reviewers said it was a great book on Amazon.com. They said it's a "must have." I say it's a "must not buy!" What a waste of money.


Doug Nykoe 08-13-2003 05:03 AM

1. Quillers book…Colour Choices

2. Carlson book on the nuts and bolts of the landscape. [Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting] by John F. Carlson

Two of the great books on the basics...

Brad M. 08-13-2003 11:02 AM

Though the Carlson book has some good points, I agree that it is overly wordy and there are better books out there.
These include Kevin Mcpherson's and definitely "Alla Prima" by Richard Schmid which, in my opinion, is simply the best book on oil painting technique ever written.
Another very good author is Paul Strisik he published two books on landscape painting (actually the later one just updated the earlier book). I believe they are out of print, but you can probably find them online.
Finally, two other interesting books are Ted Goerschner's "Oil Painting, the Workshop Experience" and John Stobart's "The Pleasure of outdoor painting"
Brad M

PCool 08-14-2003 08:40 AM

Carlson Reference
My last en plein eire instructor recommended the Carlson book. In a course of study, the Carlson book is well suited. Otherwise, the book would have gone by the wayside for me. It truly is a good book. Had it not been for the accomplished artist gleening "the forest for the trees," from the book, my experience would have been lacklustered. Give the book a chance, even Kevin MacPherson recommends the book.

Yax 08-15-2003 04:26 AM

I recently bought "Carlson's Guide to landscape painting by John Carlson", and at first glance, I was disappointed. After reading it, I sure changed my mind, as this book has giving me much to consider for my own landscape paintings. This book will definitely be reread and studied. After reading this book, I perceive trees, clouds and colors much differently. Yax

Proudhawk 08-15-2003 01:50 PM

Kevin Macpherson's book, "Fill your Oil Paintings with Light and Color" and Ted Goerschner's "Oil Painting:The Workshop Experience" are among my favorites. The former, because it helped me understand the importance of painting shapes rather than objects, and the latter because I really enjoy Goerschner's approach to achieving clean, bright color.


WI_plain_aire_paintr 08-17-2003 09:43 AM

Personally, I learned a lot from Carlson's book when I read a library copy 30 years ago. I learned a lot more this year when I finally bought a copy and read it twice more.
Macpherson's book was a real eye-opener for me. Reading it over and over last year gave my work much more "looseness" and a balanced sense of color.
I am waiting patiently for Larry's CD book. Reading and studying his demonstrations has provided a look over the shoulder of an accomplished artist. He keeps no secrets. He also inspires with his conversations.
I do not think there is a really bad art book. You learn something from each one you spend the time with.


Doug Nykoe 08-18-2003 04:15 PM

Edgar Payne Composition of Outdoor Painting.

Patrick1 08-19-2003 09:36 AM

Can anyone recommend a landscape painting book for complete beginners....that takes nothing for granted and explains everything rather than just showing how to copy the author's paintings?

I'd like a book that explains

-how to paint various skies; how to shape the clouds, where the different colours are found in clouds and why
-the different general shapes of various trees
-the colour progression of a tree trunk from shadow to midtone to highlight


And gives the artist's thought process when they're doing a painting; for example: "This next row of trees is more distant, so its base colour should be more blueish, but not turquoise, because that looks unnatural...you want something like a blackened turquoise...".

Most books will just say which colours to use, not explaing the critical 'why'. I want to know the whys that most books overlook, so I can apply that to all subsequent paintings. Any recommendations?

LarrySeiler 08-19-2003 06:02 PM

I picked up a book recently from Dan McCaw called, "A Proven Strategy for Creating Great Art"....

and in this case....one might think the objective is to imitate the painter's style because he explains quite a bit what it is HE is doing. One sees something in his painterliness that resounds a bit in the direction one is going and hopes to pick up a thing or two.

He paints many figures in this book, which is not my real interest but I saw enough in it to think it worth picking it up.

imlayte 08-20-2003 12:16 AM

I bought John Carlson's book years ago at a swap meet for probably a buck. That's why I bought it- cheap. After studying it , I some how got into Emille Gruppes 4 books. Looking back on it, I now can say that Carlson made a good and important transition for me into Gruppe's books. I don't remember their ages, except Carlson came before Emille and I may have been seeing the generational shift of one era into another with some style, technique and philosophy changes.

The Carlson book has alot of good stuff to say but the black/white plates are pretty bad. Over the years I've seen some of his pntgs in magazines (color) and they're not much better.

I still sometimes refer to Emille's books when I get into trouble. About 1980 I was able to visit his studio in Glouscter Mass. He had passed on but his wife graciously showed us around. We happened to pass thru a framing area and I couldn't believe the several stripped stretcher bars I was seeing, thinking,
wow even the greats have failures. lol But those were probably someone elses they were restretching.

He had a large studio and one day a week he would set up chairs and for 5 bucks you could watch him paint and he would also critique one of your paintings. Interesting guy.


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