Book review – Landscape Painting by Norbert Wolf

I am a beginner when it comes to the history of art and so, looking for a comprehensible and fully illustrated book, I was delighted to find this 2017 edition published by Taschen in its Basic Art Series 2.0. The book is concise and the writing fluent and easy to read. Of its ninety five pages, almost every one has a full colour and often full page illustration of the painting under discussion. And if ever a book needed digitising, this is it because high quality as these plates are, the ability to zoom in on detail would be a … Continue reading Book review – Landscape Painting by Norbert Wolf

Book review: Secret knowledge – rediscovering the lost techniques of the old masters. David Hockney

This review was first posted to Goodreads on May 11th, 2020. I can rate this before getting anywhere near the last page because it’s a parallel of two BBC documentaries made in 2001 that details Hockney’s theory that many of the old masters used contemporaneously new technology as drawing and painting aids. The camera lucida for instance that allows for an image to be visible within a lens positioned over paper and that the artist can see to ‘trace’, and later the camera obscura that uses a larger lens to project an image onto a canvas or wood support in … Continue reading Book review: Secret knowledge – rediscovering the lost techniques of the old masters. David Hockney

Book review: Beginning Drawing Atelier – an instructional sketchbook by Juliette Aristides

  This is a work book – guidelines, exercises, drawings to copy and a page next to each to do that. I have never copied other people’s work or tried for the photorealism some artists specialise in making so this was quite a challenge. Add to that the realisation not long ago that lefthanders make their marks in entirely the opposite direction to righthanders and I could see this was not going to be easy. Fortunately, the quality of the images to be copied – there are two da Vinci’s! – makes it clear that perfection is really not the … Continue reading Book review: Beginning Drawing Atelier – an instructional sketchbook by Juliette Aristides

Book review: What are you looking at? Will Gompertz

For someone like me, doing a degree in art but having neither background nor interest in art history (actually, history of any sort if I’m being honest), this book is perfect. I have it on Audible and within a very short time, also bought it in paperback (to flick through) and for Kindle (for the links and notes facility). Gompertz, who I knew only as a film and theatre critic (who was not inclined to be pompous or obfuscating about it), writes with a refreshing lack of reverence for the art history schtick that so turns me off; and while … Continue reading Book review: What are you looking at? Will Gompertz

The Story of Painting – Sister Wendy Beckett

This is not a book for reading, it’s a reference book to keep to hand. Years ago, I saw Sister Wendy’s documentary series on TV and this book is an elaborated version of that. At the time I saw her as unexpectedly (for a nun, and that’s a judgment I probably wouldn’t make now) robust in her approach to the subject matter of many paintings and also the lifestyles of some of the artists. But watching them again as a refresher and I can see that she wasn’t entirely innocent of passing judgement herself. Some women in the pictures have … Continue reading The Story of Painting – Sister Wendy Beckett