Art Students League of New York on Painting

Art is an important part of life.  An artist is able to express images and ideas that have no verbal equivalent. In the same way artists vary in their styles. We perceive the world differently and through art we can share our perception of the world. Throughout the Art Students League of New York on Painting by James L. McElhinney we are given different perspectives on painting. The book is broken up into three sections. The first section is titled: Lessons and Demos. I enjoyed the multitude of paintings that were included in this book. In some portions of the book they showed the visual development of a painting alongside the painters thought process in each stage. I found this helpful. As an artist I like to be able to learn from other artists. I felt that these sections caused me to think more about my own style and why I proceed the way I do. It also gave me inspiration for new ways to experiment with my own art.

In the section second entitled: Advice and Philosophies, we are given even more paintings and stories from artists. Each of these artists has their own unique bits of advice to offer. The advice is more than a one sentence tidbit. The artists explain with some depth their view on the importance of that advice which is then followed by visual examples.  One quote I particularly enjoyed was

“Encouraging my students to bring sketchbooks to any museum of their choice, I direct them to explore individual paintings through a measured process of drawing, not just to reproduce the image but to decode the riddles of design that underpin them. Drawing gives painting its bones, pigments and resins its flesh and blood, but composition gives it higher intelligence.” – James McElhinney

The final section contains a series of interviews. This is a lovely book to have on the coffee table. There is no need to sit and read this in one sitting as it would render one unable to fully absorb in all the beauty and ideas. Rather it is a wonderful book to be read in short snippets for inspiration.


Disclaimer: “I received this book free from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.”


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