Expressive Oil Painting: An Open Air Approach to Creative Landscapes

By | 30 March 10

Expressive Oil Painting: An Open Air Approach to Creative Landscapes,  by George Allen Durkee is a good, instructional book for oil painters.  Artists working with acrylics will learn great tips from it as well.

From the start, I was impressed.  Instead of using the usual photos of art supplies as he talks about what he paints with, Durkee actually painted pictures of his art supplies.

That’s pretty cool.

Then, he lost me when he talked about objects being based on one of four shapes, or a combination of them: A cube, cone, sphere or cylinder.

I’d seen my mother feel constrained by that approach; she’d learned it in art school (Mass. College of Art) many years ago, and… well, that’s one reason why she didn’t want me to go to an art college.  She didn’t want my creativity cramped by rules like that.  So, that section of the book was an instant turn-off for me.

However, Durkee’s artwork is refreshing.  His use of color is so free-thinking and vibrant, it’s almost at the fantasy level.

His tips and instructions are insightful and useful for landscape painters.  For example, on page 50 he said, “… as the flat plane of land recedes, you see it through a thicker layer of moist air,” and “… receding hills become lighter and cooler with distance.”

This is the kind of information that will help any landscape painter identify the areas that he (or she) can improve.

All in all, I like this book.  Though it’s not as exciting as some books I own, it’s a book I’ll refer to often, especially to develop my skills as a landscape painter.

art books review - 3.5 stars

Expressive Oil Painting: An Open Air Approach to Creative Landscapes by George Allen Durkee

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