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Old 12-30-2004, 12:32 PM
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Donald_Smith Donald_Smith is offline
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Re: Best Landscape books

Katrine-T

"the level of painter it might suit best eg beginner or advanced
the medium(s) covered by the author - some books about paintings in a specfic medium are intesting to those using a different medium but not all"

Jerry Yarnell's books start out with his number 1 vol. for beginners. After you have read, and followed his step by step examples and learned to mix paints, how to used the brushes, and start understanding his techniques and style, along with why he uses which colors and where he uses them, then progress on up his books to his latest vol. 8 book where he deals with color, is for the more advanced. He teaches acrylics because he is allergic to oils. Each volume becomes increasingly harder, and more challengeing, but the skills you learn along the way can easily be used in your own paintings.

Both Tony Couch and Zoltan Szabo's books have information that will be good for a beginner to advanced painter who is interested in watercolor.

The colors displayed in my painting don't do it justice at all. Also, that was only my 25 or 26th painting I've ever painted. I'm starting to paint my wean myself from Jerry's books, but I still refer back to them if I'm struggling with a technique. If you don't find a composition that you like, but you do like his style, and color choices, and you have your own composition in mind but don't know how or where to get started, then find a painting that has the color choices you want, and you can learn how to mix the colors you want for your painting. It will take a little reading and studying and figuring out for yourself, but the learning and challenge will be worth it.

I hope this helps answer your question,
Don
PS: Have a Happy New Year!
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Old 01-01-2005, 12:40 PM
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Re: Best Landscape books

Carlson's book is a revered staple in my art book library.

Patrick,

I'd recommend the, "The Big Book of Painting Nature in Oil." The author's name eludes me at the moment, but I bought it from Amazon.com. It has precisely the information you listed below.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick1
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

etc...

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?


Cheers,
Nicole
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Old 01-01-2005, 11:18 PM
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Re: Best Landscape books

Another one I've enjoyed for a few years is Oil Painting With a Basic Palette by Morgan Samuel Price.
It features "closed" landscapes (little or no sky), house/garden type of motifs, and what amounts to a split primary palette. She focuses quite a bit on shapes, using impressionistic, deft brushstrokes.
Very good use of color and shape with a "controlled loosness".


edit: http://www.morgansamuelprice.com
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Old 01-02-2005, 11:26 AM
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Re: Best Landscape books

One of my favorites is "Oil Painting Pure and Simple" by Rob Ranson and Trevor Chamberlain. Chamberlain is the painter, Ranson has writing credits.

You can't tell from the title, but its about landscape painting plein air. It's only 128 pages, so it's not reference book, but I think it would be a good addition to any landscape painters library, whether you're beginner or advanced. It has a very small section on materials and oil painting technique. A chapter on the pochade box. And the rest is the artists thoughts on painting a variety of lanscapes, plus a few painting demonstrations.

Unfortunately, it seems to out of print, but you can find some used copies online.
You can see some of Trevor Chamberlain's work here:
http://www.islandfinearts.com/pages/thumbnails/24.html
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Old 01-02-2005, 09:57 PM
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Re: Best Landscape books

I've compiled the list of books that have been listed as good books. Sorry if I missed your suggestion. The books are in a random order. Several I wish I had the money to buy.

Don

Art Books

"Fill You Oil Paintings With Light and Color" By Kevin MacPherson $13.57*

"The Big Book of Painting Nature in Oil" by S. Allyn Schaeffer $15.68*

"Brush Work for the Oil Painter" by Emile Gruppe $44.45*

"Ways With WaterColor" by Ted Kautzky $8.00*

"The Watercolors of John Singer Sargent" by Carl Little $12.00*

"The Illuminated Landscape" by J.J. Smith / Peter Poskas $27.00*

"Composition of Outdoor Painting" by Edgar Payne N/A

"Capturing Light in Oils" by Paul Strisik $99.00*

"Creating Impressions and Landscapes in Oil" by Colley Whisson $16.41*

"A Proven Strategy for Creating Great Art" by Dan McCaw $19.01*

"Expressing the Visual Language of the Landscape" by Jennifer King $4.95*

"Alla Prima: Everything I know about Painting" by Richard Schmid $147.00*

"Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting" by John F. Carlson $3.99*

"Oil Painting: The Workshop Experience" by Ted Goerschner $10.99*

"The Pleasures of Painting Outdoors" by John Sobart $20.00*

"Oil Painting With a Basic Palette" by Morgan Samuel Price $72.50*

"Landscape Painting in Watercolor" by Zoltan Szabo $6.00*

"Zoltan Szabo Paints Landscapes" by Zoltan Szabo $10.99*

"Tony Couch’s Keys to Successful Painting" by Tony Couch $49.99*

"Watercolor: You Can Do It!" by Tony Couch $35.00* www.tonycouch.com

"Painting Basics", plus many other books and many videos by Jerry Yarnell $5.16* www.yarnellart.com

"Painting Better Landscapes" by Margaret Kessler $10.00*

"A Light Touch: Successful Painting in Oils" by David Curtis $137.00*Note: Mine says $19.87.

"Oil Painting Pure and Simple" by Ron Ranson, Trevor Chamberlain $35.00*

*$$ are from http://www.half.com, and don't include shipping.
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Old 01-03-2005, 05:11 AM
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Katherine T Katherine T is offline
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Re: Best Landscape books

I'm very grateful to Donald for doing the list as I can now see that I've got some which I think merit being drawn to people's attention.

I don't paint in oil, acrylic or watercolour - but that doesn't stop me buying books by people who do as it's people's unique's ways of seeing and their approach to landscape painting which I value learning more about.

So some books which may be of interest to landscape painters follow. I've also included individual website addresses where I could find them so you can maybe get a better idea of whether you will respond at a personal level to individual artists:

Winning Formulas for Painting Fabulous Landscapes Barbara Nuss (published in UK by David & Charles UK £14.99 and by North Light Books in USA $? as 14 forumlas for painting fabulous landscapes) Includes examples of both oil and watercolour painting but I'd agree with the blurb that it would be suitable for people painting in any medium since it's more about 'how to' paint a landscape rather than how to handle your medium. I've never seen a book quite like this one before. It provides some initial basic tips of a fairly condensed nature - but all good stuff and then follows a template approach to explaining each 'formula' and when it might be appropriate to use it interspersed with demos eg changing the season / painting landscape greens and browns etc. The formulas set out:
  • reference photos used for the work produced - it's one of the few books I've come across with some good tips on how to take reference photos
  • first sketches - idnicating different approaches re landscape/portrait format and crop
  • ways of tackling design and composition problems
  • pointers fro developing and completing a painting
Probably a good book for those who don't get to paint outside as much as they'd like and need to work from photos. I should imagine it's a book which would irritate those who don't like rules and be appreciated by those who like more structured guidance. I found it very helpful to be shown a wide range of different ways of tackling different situations likely to confront you in the field. More about the book and her paintings on her website on http://www.barbaranuss.com/

Painting the Impressionist Landscape - lessons in interpreting light and colour Lois Griffel (Watson Guptill 1994 purchased in UK for £24.99 a very long time ago! There appears to be a more recent edition at a much more reasonable price) Again a book quite unlike any other I've read and studied. Oil painting is the medium used thoughout. Very much for the colourists among you it's essentially all about interpreting light and colour. Based on the colour theory of Charles Hawthorne as taught at the Cape Cod School of Art. Not a book for beginners. But if you like Monet and impressionist landscapes you might want to take a look at it. It certainly made me start to think differently about how colour is iused in landscape painting. Check out http://www.capecodschoolofart.com/home.shtml
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pars
Can anyone recommend a good landscape book using watercolour exclusively? Most, if not all of those recommended here, seem to relate to oil.
The Watercolour Landscape Technqiues of 23 international artists(published by International Artist 2003 Hardback: £19.99 / $29.99) - If you're familiar with the International Artist Magazine you'll be familiar with the sort of approach taken in this book. This is not an instructional book per se. However IMO it is a wonderful book for showing you how different artists see/approach landscape painting. Each artist provides examples of their work and a demonstration which details materials used and shows stages; a number identify what was a turning point for them in becoming a landscape artist. I think it may well appeal to people with different experience and skills for different reasons, which may change over time.

Watercolour Landscapes Paul Riley (David Porteous UK Hardback/Paperback 1999) Paul is a long established UK tutor specialising in watercolour with a very faithful following. This is a very good instructional book which has been around for some years - now in paperback. I think the hardback may have gone out of print. If you can't get hold of it try Watercolour Workshop. Paul has a style I very much like but it won't necessarily appeal to everybody eg those who want to paint watercolour in a more conventional way - checkout his website www.rileyarts.com. He's also very good on brush technique.

The Watercolour A to Z of Trees and Foliage Adelene Fletcher (North Light Books USA / Search Press UK 2003 hardback £16.99) It reprinted in the UK in 2004 so presumably 'hit a chord' as they say. I travel quite a bit to paint (don't do beach holidays - all that hot sand - yuk!) - which means that every so often I find myself painting a tree which I'm completely unfamiliar with. And in 2003, it was umbrella pines in Tuscany! And this book has an umbrella pine (pinus pinea) - and shows you how to paint it. Altogether it covers 24 different trees around the world eg American Elm; Olive; Sugar Maple; Cedar of Lebanon; Spinning Gum. Now given the diversity - if you don't travel, you may find it has limited appeal - but it's probably still worth trying to get from the library.
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Old 01-08-2005, 02:11 AM
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Re: Best Landscape books

I just ordered a few days ago from amazon " The Big Book of Painting Nature in Oil." so I'm glad to see it mentioned in this list. I had run into it in Barnes and Noble, and flipped through it. Many many examples of photos translated into an impressionistic style, essentially one such example per every 2 pages. Covers trees, skies, and water. Oddly, does not cover mountains. This book seems, from my cursory glance, very specific and nuts and bolts, very dense, very focused on specific effects and types of subjects in specific types of settings rather than on say, composition. Which is just what I was looking for.

There is a very similar book "The Big Book of Painting Nature in Watercolors" which seems to follow the same format, by a different author. It also seemed good to me, from my casual flip through it.

I work with acrylics, but unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be "The Big Book of Painting Nature in Acrylics," so I order the oil one.

I also have "Painting the Impressionist Landscape" which is more verbose and sprawling in it's coverage than the "Big Book of..." books. It has far fewer examples, but covered in more detail.

Not sure I'm qualified to judge or recommend these books, as I'm just a beginner, but gratified to see that others recommend books that I've chosen.
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Old 01-21-2005, 05:44 PM
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Re: Best Landscape books

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolArtiste
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.

DON'T TRUST THE BOOK REVIEWS ON AMAZON.COM!!!

CoolArtiste,

I believe that I understand exactly how you feel. So many of these books touted as "instruction" books, seem to deal mainly with emotional and touchy-feely sort of elements, rather than the instruction that so many artists truly desire.

When I buy a book on "how to paint in oils", I'd rather see represented in it, a few, basic, "how-to's" involving placing paint on a surface, and what may be going through the instructor's mind regarding that placing of paint, rather than just a bunch of photos of his art work, in an attempt to "show off" to a captive audience.

As you say, so many books claimed to be "instruction books" on how to paint in oils, often are found to more accurately represent the artist's "philosophy" of art, rather than an explanation of how he actually paints.

This is, without a doubt, the epitome of a poor instruction book. That is one reason that most of my preliminary learning of painting in oils was gathered from library books, rather than investments in "how to" books that later proved to be of the sort you are describing. I found that I could quickly browse each book at the library, and could thereby check each for such things as its being a book devoted to the art "philosophy" of the author, instead of a truly instructional book on how to do the actual painting.

Books on art philosophy are interesting to read, but generally after you have gained a bit of experience from the use of some solid "how to" books. One characteristic that I absolutely detest in any instructional book is the artist who "shows off" his "remarkable expertise", without dropping so much as a hint of how he does it, or how and why he determines to perform that which he's doing.

Those kinds of books are certainly out there. Some artists think they are good books, but those opinions generally emanate from artists who already knew how to do the painting before reading the book.

Bill
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Old 01-25-2005, 10:15 AM
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Re: Best Landscape books

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katherine T
Winning Formulas for Painting Fabulous Landscapes [[*]pointers fro developing and completing a painting [/list]Probably a good book for those who don't get to paint outside as much as they'd like and need to work from photos. I should imagine it's a book which would irritate those who don't like rules and be appreciated by those who like more structured guidance. I found it very helpful to be shown a wide range of different ways of tackling different situations likely to confront you in the field. More about the book and her paintings on her website on http://www.barbaranuss.com/


I bought this book too. The paintings are lovely, the info very helpful. It's not a technique book, though it does have demos, but for helping you work out a landscape, it is very good. Oil and watercolor demos.


Quote:
The Watercolour A to Z of Trees and Foliage ...Now given the diversity - if you don't travel, you may find it has limited appeal - but it's probably still worth trying to get from the library.

I agree totally here. I bought this too as a watercolor artist, for some new ideas. Only one of the demos had any appeal for this Midwest girl, but overall I found the one demo that was helpful very good and very thorough.

To add another to the list, Arnold Lowrey has some wonderful books out there. Unlike many watercolor books that while giving the step-by-step instructions obviously miss a few key points in between photos, Arnold's demos are very thorough and you see it all. Not very long, but the techniques are well demonstrated.

Chris
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Old 01-25-2005, 11:02 AM
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Re: Best Landscape books

There are basically three types of art books to help you improve.
Firstly, the ones concentrating on technique - how to paint trees, water , skies etc. This is helpful in learning your craft
The second are those that deal with compostion and design. Fine art is painting shapes of tonal value and colour with imagination anf skill. These help you to hone these ideas. The third is books of colour plates of paintings of artists. This widen your horizons and help you chose the artists who excite you and who you woulls like to emulate. All three are helpful but are only there to aid you in finding a way to sing with your own voice.
I go to many exhibitions and see paintings which are copies or of the style of other artists. This is OK fo the learning process and passing on the baton, which, every teacher worth his salt is honour bound to do.
Practice, practice and practice wasting, yes wasting acres of paper
Slowly you put away the first lot of books and delight in the second
As you find your own voice, where people will immediatey recognise your work, you become interested in the third type. This is always augmented by visits to good galleries.
Some books I have of the thirsdd type are books of paintings by
Howard Terpning - wonderfuk
Wdward Seago
John Singer Sargent
Hercules Brabazon Brabazon
John Yardley
Trevor Chamberlain
The list is endless
Art can be very frustrating . it#s not relaxing but it is very very interesting
Arnold
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Old 01-29-2005, 02:07 PM
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Re: Best Landscape books

I skimmed the thread - what about Painting the Landscape in Pastel by Albert Handell - has anyone read this - the reason I ask is he is doing a one week workshhop here this spring and I wonder if it would be a good one -the book or the workshop?

Anyone?

Johnnie
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Old 02-02-2005, 03:59 PM
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Re: Best Landscape books

Quote:
Originally Posted by tURBOCAT
I skimmed the thread - what about Painting the Landscape in Pastel by Albert Handell - has anyone read this - the reason I ask is he is doing a one week workshhop here this spring and I wonder if it would be a good one -the book or the workshop?

Anyone?

Johnnie
Hi Johnnie,
I have Oil Painting Workshop & Intuitive Light by Handel. I have to say
I would jump at the chance of a workshop with him. But one caveat would
be that he is not for the dabbler. The books are pretty heavy serious stuff
that repay extended study.
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Old 02-12-2005, 09:51 AM
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Re: Best Landscape books

I see Norman Battershill hasnt been mentioned....his book "Painting Landscapes in Oil" is great.
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Old 02-12-2005, 11:51 AM
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Re: Best Landscape books

A great thread. I just discovered and read through it. Many great books mentioned for us to think about.

The initial question "What do you think the best landsape books are?" is an open one I think. With this in mind I'd like to mention a few of my favorites that are both inspirational and instructional. My library is fairly large and I started building it back in the late 60's, early 70's so I have many of the books mentioned here. That's when they were under $20 USD each.

Check the used book stores, that's where I've found books on Repin, Oil Painting Pure and Simple' Chamberlain/Ranson($5.00 2 years ago), and many others for next to nothing.

I enjoy the books of Hawthorne, Henri, Carlson, and the other inspirational books as much as the 'how to' books. I think that it's too much to ask a book to teach you how to paint. Someone here mentioned that it comes down to getting out there and using pads of paper or mile of canvas and I totally agree with that too. But a good book to me is one that either sparks my 'non visual' painters side and my 'visual' side. Henri and Hawthorne do that very well for the non visual, and large format books like those of Sargent and Sorolla's paintings take care of the visual nicely! Then there's the student side of me and that's where Strisik, Schmid, McPherson, Goerschner, Kreutz and Handell kick in.

#1 All time Inspirational and Instructional Book for me...probably the only one on my list that meets this criteria- I don't think it's been mentioned in the thread but I could have missed it.
'Richard Schmid Paints Landscapes' - Watson Guptill 1975, 144 pages. $16.95 at release. This isn't fair because the last time I saw one for sale it was listed at over $300.00.
Starts off with a talk about the 'language of painting'.
'Materials and Tools'- Covers grounds, how to make them with textural qualities that enhance the paint surface-Brushes-Knives-Paints, explains the reasoning behind each pigment used-Color-Composition-Edges-Perspective linear and aerial-Painting in overcast, direct sunlight, open shade and more.
'Demonstrations'- Covers 8 different methods for blocking in a landscape painting from life. EX-Impresionistic block in, Opaque and transparent block in, Full Value monochrome block in, Direct painting block in, Full color transparent block in and so on.
'Gallery'-his work.
This is one of the most comprehensive 'look' over the shoulder of a great painter books that I've seen. It's also filled with Schmid's insights into 'being and artist' and what that entails. Reading through the demos you feel like you're at a workshop listening to him speak...to you. Cannot praise it enough.


Others-
'A light touch' David Curtis - David &Charles publisher-1994
Instructional and full of great reproductions. Geared towards students who are out painting, not just beginning but a beginner would also gain a lot from it.

'Oils' Trevor Chamerlain' - Ron Ranson's painting school-publisher is ANAYA, 1993
Another book that is like standing at a workshop listening to the instructor lecture. Not so good on the demos, although theyre there, but seeing his work is like seeing a demo. Beautifully done. Again not a 'how to' for beginners, but one that anyone would get a lot out of.

'Painting Nature's Quiet Places'- Thomas Aquinas Daly-Watson Guptill 1985,
Daly's a watercolorist who works small intimate scenes that are delicate and scenes portayed at the early and late times of the day. He talks about technique, materials, and philosophy. But it's just a joy to look at and is thought provoking in terms of his outlook on nature.

The A.Handell books all ?5? of them are worth every penny to me. The new pastel landscape book is extremely well done and the technique that Albert uses is easily discerned because of the quality of the reproductions.

'Richard Earl Thompson - American Impresionist' A Prophetic Odyssey in Paint...Patricia J. Pierce...Richard-James Publications, San Francisco 1982.
This is a pictorial biography/coffee table portfolio of a painter who passed about 10 years ago. He attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago and worked as an illustrator for many years there working for Haddon Sundblom. Had a hand in designing the first Coca-Cola adds. He became a painter after working in Chicago and lived in Wisconsin in the winter and Florida in summer. Served as the first president of the now defunct 'Society of American Impressionism' back in the late 70's or early 80's. A great book about a very good painter with some of the finest reproductions in a book of this kind that you'll find. Can't help but be helped by a book like this one even though there's not one word of 'how to ' instruction in it.
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Old 02-12-2005, 11:58 AM
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Re: Best Landscape books

Marc, thanks for adding these books to the list, especially
'Painting Nature's Quiet Places'- Thomas Aquinas Daly-Watson Guptill 1985,
Daly's a watercolorist who works small intimate scenes that are delicate and scenes portayed at the early and late times of the day. He talks about technique, materials, and philosophy. But it's just a joy to look at and is thought provoking in terms of his outlook on nature.

Unfortunately, this one, too, is going for about USD100.00. I would so like to have this one in my library.
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