Top positive review
Twelve Excellent Portrait Painting Workshops In One Book
12 February 2017
This book delivered much more than I expected. I found the Introduction by Tai-Shan Schierenberg insightful, especially where Tai-Shan makes a very good attempt to answer the question, "What makes a good portrait?" In art, as in life, everything is subjective.
The sections on Equipment and Techniques were of less interest to me and not detailed enough to be of much benefit other than a simple overview, to any aspiring portrait artist. As each artist featured in the book lists their materials and equipment I am not sure this section was necessary.
The Portrait section is where we get into the heart and main purpose of this book. The artists included are Nick Lord - Acrylic, Aine Divine - Watercolour, Rosalie Watkins - Oil, David Thomas - Watercolour, Christian Hook - Oil and Acrylic, Alan McGowan - Oil, Bill Bone - Oil and Wax, Luis Morris - Oil, Ewan McClure - Oil, James Green - Linocut, Laura Quinn - Alkyd, and Kemi Onabule - Oil
Each sub-section contains a mini bio about the artist, a synopsis of what they personally consider makes a good portrait, their influences, and their style and technique, illustrated with a large image of their self-portrait submission to Sky Arts Portrait of the Year competition. Each artist then paints a second portrait which documents their individual technique and painting process from start to finish, which includes an overview of the portrait they are painting and lots of annotated photographs. It's almost as good as being in the room with the artist and watching a demonstration.
The artists featured have been carefully selected to represent different styles and mediums, from the clever and refreshing simplicity of James Green and his linocuts contrasting with Ewan McClure's old master style, and from Bill Bone's innovative dripped wax and pointillism through to what I imagine is everyone's personal favourite, Christian Hook's deconstructive abstraction.
At the end of the book is a glossary of key terms mentioned in the book.
If you only buy one art book this year, this should be it.