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YOU CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO HAVE IT,
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This review is from: Creative Painting: Still Life in Oils (Paperback)
At under £6, this must be the bargain of the year. I have not come across Ava publishing of Switzerland before, but a quick look at their website reveals that they have just been acquired by giants Bloomsbury, and that their MD is one Caroline Walmsley... I must therefore declare at once that this well-named lady is neither known to nor related to me ! More's the pity...
The bookjacket declares its avowed intention as "developing the skills of the amateur artist"; but its value lies deeper than that. Collected herein are the works of 22 well-regarded, prize-winning, professional artists from 9 countries (mostly the UK - including the odd Royal Academician - and the USA), who have written about their inspirations and their techniques. Their works are not only shown in full, but also in close-up detail, to assist in our understanding of their genesis. They cover every genre you could wish for, from ultra-photorealist at one end of the scale to abstract at the other, passing on the way through modern middle-of-the-road, impressionist, expressionist and cubist. In here we see echoes of Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian and Dutch old masters, showing only too clearly how the artists' allegiances and inspirations have influenced their work, and so giving relevance and added meaning to their words.
Although the book is devoted to oils, it is equally applicable to the painter in acrylics, of whom, amongst the ranks of amateurs, at least, there may be the greater number.
Perhaps to keep down costs as a gesture to its target audience, the book is on the small side; but the subject matter is of a kind which doesn't suffer unduly on this account, and is compensated for by the enlarged reproductions of details.
The editor is an art historian by profession, which probably helps to make this kind of book more appealing than if it had been edited by an artist. It contrasts favourably with another, similar book by another art historian, Simon Grant, "In my view", which gathers together essays by 78 contemporary artists on their inspiration - in most cases without, however, showing their works; which makes their words rather empty. And it costs more than twice as much.
I am off now to find more books from Ava publishing...