Brian Keeler's work has a poster-like quality, which I happen to find attractive. Browsing through his book on arrival, many of the illustrations, especially those in the panoramic format, evoked a nostalgic recollection of those works of art one used to find decorating the compartments of passenger trains, more years ago than I care to admit, extolling the virtues of Britain's many scenic places. The book's cover could well have graced the cover of one of the thick, old-fashioned railway timetables of those days. Taste in art is a very personal thing, and whilst some may find this style anathema, others will share my view.
The author is an unashamed colourist, and earns multiple brownie-points from me on that score alone. Whilst again a personal thing, I find it depressing the way in which certain artists take all those bright pigments and turn them into dull, dark works which need a spotlight for proper viewing. I like gaiety on my walls - there's enough gloom in the world without creating more. This artist, by contrast, is determined to create joy.
Although an American publication, some of the landscapes of upstate NY and Pennsylvania could well have been painted in this country, complete with black and white cows. His subject-matter is wide and varied, however, embracing coastal and rural landscapes, town and cityscapes, woodlands and waterfalls, nocturnes. and even a few from Venice, Rome and Tuscany. Within the limits of such a volume, the advice given is comprehensive, sensible and well-organised, and the book's layout and design is pretty much impeccable, being, for once, pleasing devoid of extravegant gimmicks.
Altogether a refreshing new addition to the wealth of how-to-do-it works on painting, for newcomers and collectors alike,
and although devoted to oil and pastels, of equal value to the acrylic painter. Some watercolourists might even find it helpful...