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4.6 out of 5 stars
Guide to Landscape Painting (Dover Art Instruction)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2011
Don't discount this book because of its age or dull looking cover - it is a thorough stripped down and original analysis of every aspect of landscape painting, covered in detail. A great grounding in the subject.

The obvious let down is the illustrations and it's a shame it hasn't be done with these reinstated in colour or updated. However they are adequate for understanding the themes of the book and they shouldn't put you off.

The language sometimes reads a little stilted, but if you are serious about landscape painting, this book will amaze, surprise and reward your attention. I believe the very practical theories and ideas expounded and discussed will stay with you for life
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2015
I first read this book while staying with a friend in San Diego - and it kept me up half the night! I was allowed to read it on the strict understanding that it didn't go home with me!

My reason for reading it was because I'd read about 'Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting' for years in internet art forums - it's regarded as the absolute standard for traditional instruction on landscape painting. When I came to read for myself I quickly began to understand why people raved about it - and lamented when I had to leave because I'd never seen it for sale in an art bookshop in England.

Which is where the wonders of the Internet and Amazon comes in - I was able to order a copy for myself and it's now prominent in my collection of books about landscape painting.

One thing - you need to understand this book was written a long time ago. I think it was first published in 1929 - and in those days the language used for art instruction was rather different. This is also not a big picture book - it only includes monochrome illustrations and there's not a lot of those. Which means that this book will come as quite a big shock to the system for those who are only used to modern art instruction books.

That doesn't make any of its content any less valid - you just have to adjust to a different approach to instruction and a different way of saying things.

Plus keep reminding yourself of two facts:
1) Having fewer illustrations means that there are MORE words covering MORE topics. This is emphatically not a dumbed down book! It's excellent in its coverage of topics relevant to landscape painting
2) This is a book which has stayed popular for the last 85 years because it's a very good instruction book which people keep buying!
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on 23 August 1998
John Carlson is unique among artists in his ability to teach painting as masterfully as he did it himself. This book offers a deeper understanding of the subject than any other I have ever read. All things discussed within its pages seem perfectly logical and understandable and yet entirely new in the way they are presented. Master painter, master teacher, Carlson engages his audience completely and imparts his understanding fully. To read his philosophy of art alone is well worth the price. A must have book for the experienced painter and beginning student alike.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2013
I wish I'd known about this book at art college, I think it would have changed what I did significantly. Everything is demystified in plain (American) English, it's very clear and decent illustrations. I bought the Kindle version ( my first one) and will be doing that more.

If you are a landscape painting student, it's a must. It is a forerunner of "Mastering Composition" which says the same stuff almost and in colour with a DVD included. Get them both.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2011
Although this book was written some years ago it has some wonderful bits of information. I would encourage any budding landscape artist to read it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2012
Probably one of the most cogent works ever written on landscape painting. Very mannered writing style, so hard going and best digested in smallish chunks. A classic that should be on the shelves of all serious aspirants. A key reference work, up there with Richard Schmidt.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 December 2013
Although all the illustrations are in black and white and the book is written in the quaint style of the time in which it first appeared it is full of excellent advice and insights which are very difficult to come by in more modern publications. Not really for beginners but excellent for consolidating knowledge if you are at an intermediate or advanced level of oil painting. Inspirational and motivational are the two words which seem to adequately describe the overall effect of this timeless book!
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I was recommended this book on an art course run by the Federation of Canadian Artists. One of the instructors, Michael Workman, recommended this book, and I must say that my painting has improved no end as a result of reading it. Not only that, but I can now 'see' better - as in I no longer look at a sky and see that it is bright blue, but actually notice the lightening of colour at the horizon etc... It has also helped me distinguish tones better and given me renewed enthusiasm.
Not everything is still relevant. For example, the glazing medium the author recommends in this book uses ingredients I have not been able to obtain, at least not in England, but then there have been a lot of new products on the market since the book was published, and today it is easy to buy a glazing medium already mixed and ready to go. Thus I don't think small issues such as this should put you off.
I bought the Kindle version, which displays very well on the Fire, but the photos are not in colour anyway, so even with a different type of Kindle, you will not be held back. I can thoroughly recommend it, especially on a Kindle, which makes it easy to highlight passages without trashing the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2012
Thought provoking book covering the approach and mechanics of Landscape Painting with many B&W examples of sketches and reproductions of finished paintings describing thoroughly how the relevant and related parts of a landscape fuse and work together.
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on 17 April 2014
Reads like an art college lecture. Full of personal insight but marred by early 20th century language and phraseology. No colour illustrations - just black and white - although I didn't find this a problem.

This is a good book for a would-be artist who is already experienced in the practical technicalities of painting. You will not find any paint mixing recipes or 'how to' direction. But you will find guidance in the problem areas of producing art.
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