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Oil Painting Techniques and Materials (Dover Art Instruction) Paperback – 1 Dec 1987

21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.; New edition edition (1 Dec. 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486255069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486255064
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. Rice on 13 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
For anyone who has come through the lottery of Art College education over the past few decades this book may answer some important questions about how to actually paint successfully in Oils. Without being pedantic the author shares his considerable experience as a painter, laying out in an ordered fashion methods and stages in development of painting. It is a practical book written for people who would like to be told straightforwardly how various masters have worked, their techniques, colours, methods.

This is the kind of book that speaks confidently and with a certain authority about the craft of painting, mainly prior to impressionism (but not wholly). Some might regard the style as pedantic and moribund. However I think that, for the time, the style of writing is warm and even humorous. You are free to take what you need from this useful volume without needing to feel compelled to agree with every statement Harold Speed makes. Many of his observations on the studio methods of artists such as Rubens, Gainsborough, Turner (and many more) are cogent and enlightening. Particularly useful is his understanding of Transparent and Opaque pigments, Warm and Cool colours and the descriptions of artists' palettes.

I find that I 'dip in' to this book often, sometimes just idly opening it at a random page and reading; and I'm always rewarded. And I often find that I can use some of his painting tips straight away.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ric Bower on 29 Dec. 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is very useful if you are interested in an academic/classical style of painting and take the precedent set by 17th century masters as your starting point. It is written by a painter,draughtsman and teacher of immense ability who made a living as an artist 100 years ago- The illustrations whilst not vibrant in print quality are very informative. A note of caution, It is not a book for amateurs who are not willing to wrestle with the serious issues of painting and the language he uses at times is outdated and therefore hard going. I also highly reccomend his companion book on drawing.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By blofeld on 6 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is old fashioned, verbose, sometimes pompous, and filled with only a few plates, many of which are not the best reproductions. It is however, excellent. Like his book on drawing it is not for beginners, and apropos the reviewer below, it is not for the talentless or the dilettante. However, if you are at a level where you are bored by the poor quality of the instruction in most contemporary art books and are interested in traditional techniques, then this book is very useful. As with all books on art instruction, simply reading it and not practicing it will not make you a better painter.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anne Tsang on 2 May 2010
Format: Paperback
this is one of the best books ive read in a long time. the first section on modern art is long winded and boring, i could not get through it even though i was determined to try. the opinions expressed it this section are common knowledge at this stage the kind of stuff you learn in school art history class. i would recommend starting this book in the second section because thats is where the practical painting instruction starts. speeds procedure for painting in oils is both brilliant and easy to follow, although you still need to be an experienced painter to get anything useful from it. he neglects to explain how to do many of the basic techniques that would stump a beginner, e.g. how to mix paints to arrive at an exact color. like all books on art this is not a "magic bullet" you cant just pick it up and be a great artist, it will take time and effort and by then your copy of this book will be worn and stained from the many times you review its contents.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Shaun Day on 23 April 2011
Format: Paperback
There is great information within this book. As ever, fans of Speed's writing will find it educational and inspiring. Well recommended for student's of painting who would learn the craft.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ernest Barton on 3 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not a painting manual in any normal sense - in many ways it is a Valediction and a memoir. But if you have got beyond the mechanics of mixing paint and slapping it on it is worth reading. He emphasises the one aspect of oil painting that makes it different to other media - the importance of getting it down in the most economical way. For some of the early exercises he emphasises they should be done with one brush - valuing long familiarity over specific purpose.

This is a man who knew Edward Burn Jones, but in technique he is nearer to John Singer Sargent and similarly influenced by Japanese art and impressionism. He comes across as a thoughtful likeable man and if some of his ideas about old master technique are now evidently erroneous this knowledge has only come about through a revolution in analytical equipment he and his generation knew nothing of.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mr. B. Gerrard on 31 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
I would highly recommend this book to any with some experience with oil painting. It's not a step by step, but more a philosophy and tips on painting. It makes a most interesting read, full of meat, not scanty packed with self evident ideas and with illustrations like some more modern books.
This book but for the cover is in black and white, the few plates of paintings and drawings are all black and white, but I imagine that one can obtain colour pics of each one by other means, if the examples in the book aren't up to the job for you...
This is a book you can read and reread, I highly recommend it.
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