Tessa Spanton SWA Artist, tutor, writer


Welcome to my blog.
This is where I write about some of the things that inspire my work,
news of exhibitions and works in progress

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Oil Painting Books


Recently I read a post on Katherine Tyrells’s blog ‘Making a Mark’ asking readers ‘Which are the best books about oil painting?’ I was interested in the responses so I went and rummaged through my bookshelves to see what I had found useful.

100 Great Oil Painting Tips

Helen Douglas Cooper pub Batsford 1995

I find this a user friendly and practical little book that packs a lot of information between its covers. The tips come with useful illustrations making it easy to flip through and find the information without wading through acres of verbiage.

I think it would be useful for a complete beginner and for artists experienced in other media, the mystery of fat over lean is explained and how to transport a wet canvas.

To make it 101 great tips I would have added one about alkyds.

However Helen has produced several books since then including 100 Keys to Oil Painting so it may have been included in one of these.

This book is out of print but available second hand online.

Inspired by Light Ken Howard pub David and Charles

Mmmm and I am inspired by watching Ken Howard painting. This is one of my favourite books to return to again and again. I would suggest seeing the DVDs first.


Inspired by Light, Painting in Oils

A Vision of Venice in Oil

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJKG4siWPac trailer for Variations on a Theme

Oils Masterclass Learning from professional artists at work. Sally Bulgin Pub Harper Collins

This book starts with a chapter on techniques and materials then follows a series of 8 masterclasses with different artists.

I like the aim of this book which is to give insights into the range of different ways of painting in oils and inspiration for developing ones own visual language. It is not a ‘How to’ book in the sense of following a prescribed ‘step by step’ approach. Ken Howard works in oils and watercolours and in his masterclass the merging of techniques from both is discussed in the way he portrays light in oils.

Oils by Trevor Chamberlain ( Ron Ranson’s Painting School)

A good choice for beginners and improvers, the first section deals with the basics. Each area covered is followed up with ideas for practice. The second section looks at the elements of a painting again with plenty of examples of Trevor’s work and more practical tasks.

I have been painting with watercolours for around 25 years as well as acrylics and I paint on silk. In more recent years I have been to several inspiring and useful demonstrations and workshops in oil painting. William Davies past president of the Wapping Group inspired me at a local art group demonstration when he painted an exquisite little impressionist oil of a Venice scene. Workshops with Stuart Stanley and Stephen Hawkins were helpful and got me to start using a box of oil paints that I had been given on a town twinning visit to Gagny in France.


Katherine Tyrrell said...

Many thanks for your thoughtful contribution

Erika Price said...

Great selection - thanks for the recommendations! I love Ken Howards books & tutorials :) Erika Price Jewelry