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The Oil Painting Course You've Always Wanted: Guided Lessons for Beginners and Experienced Artists [Paperback]

Kathleen Staiger
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

July 1 2006
Everything you always wanted to know about oil painting...but were afraid to ask. Or maybe you weren’t afraid—maybe you just didn’t know what to ask or where to start. In The Oil Painting Course You’ve Always Wanted, author Kathleen Staiger presents crystal clear, step-by-step lessons that build to reinforce learning. Brush control, creating the illusion of three dimensions, foolproof color mixing, still-life painting, landscapes, and portraits—every topic is covered in clear text, diagrams, illustrations, exercises, and demonstrations. Staiger has taught oil painting for more than thirty-five years; many of her students are now exhibiting and selling their paintings. Everyone from beginning hobby painters, to art students, to BFA graduates has questions about oil painting. Here at last are the answers!

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About the Author

Kathleen Staiger has taught painting and drawing at every level for more than thirty-five years. A graduate of Hofstra University with masters degrees in art and literature, she is currently on the faculty of the Vero Beach Museum of Art in Florida, where she lives.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

How does an artist translate what she or he sees into a painting? It isn't as simple as plunking down two apples or looking out the window and then copying what you see.
This lesson is all about what goes into making an interesting painting. It will show you how to effectively arrange your subject, how to accurately sketch the subject onto the canvas, and how to successfully develop and finish the painting. Our subject will be a simple still life.
This lesson is divided into four parts. In the first part you will learn how to make your painting interesting and then apply what you learn to the arrangement of your chosen fruit or vegetables. In the second part you will learn how to draw your objects accurately onto the canvas. In the third part you will be guided in the painting of your still life; we will use what you have learned about color and shading in the previous lessons to paint fruit that looks as if you could pick it off the canvas.In the final part I will demonstrate standard painting procedures and paint a still life. 


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This chapter will give you some information and pointers about the supplies you will need. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're a serious beginner, get this book! March 31 2009
Format:Paperback
Before buying this book I borrowed it from the library to see if it was any good. I loved it so much I had to renew it four times! I'm a graphic designer, but never painted in oils before. Since using this book I've gained a tremendous amount of confidence in my painting. Staiger's step-by-step instructions are thorough and easy to follow. The assignments start at the very basics and take you all the way up to portrait painting. The colour mixing sections of this book are invaluable. I no longer waste expensive paint searching for the right colours. This book is a must for any beginner.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  62 reviews
125 of 126 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Substantive Dec 12 2006
By Brian Asquith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Staiger has compiled a wealth of information of use to the beginner in oil painting. Pretty much all the basic considerations of what constitutes a successful painting are covered.

She opens with a good overview of the materials required: paints, brushes, supports, easels and a useful piece on mediums and cleaners. Staiger appears to acknowledge that of her audience some are merely curious as to what oil painting entails through to the serious beginner looking for a good foundation of knowledge. Hence economy is apparent with a minimal range of brushes being recommended along with using good student grade paints (Winsor & Newton - Grumbacher), along with old tuna-fish cans for holding the medium. This is followed by:

i) A fairly comprehensive and easy to understand section on rendering 3D form on a 2D canvas.

ii) 20 pages on colour and colour mixing (a further 4 pages on mixing greens appears later in the landscape section).

iii) The previous chapters are brought to a conclusion with an exercise in painting a cylinder and a sphere.

iv) Painting the Still Life is next (30 pages of info), covering issues such as composition, sketching, painting.

v) Landscapes (40 pages): linear and aerial perspective, a landscape palette, components of a landscape - sky, water, trees, grass, sand, dirt, and concludes with a landscape painting exercise.

vi) Painting Portraits - drawing the head and correct placement of features, mixing skin tones, finishing with a portrait painting exercise.

Overall there is a lot of information here that should benefit the beginner. The book is also aimed at Experienced painters although I'm not sure that there is anything major that an Experienced oil painter shouldn't already know.

The exercises are somewhat rudimentary in terms of the painting style (hence the 4 stars). I'd much prefer the exercises push the painter somewhat, possibly even have two exercises per subject matter - one to get across the rudiments followed by a second adding to it showing you various tricks, flourishes etc., that can give your painting that little "extra", elevating your work from the standard twee style that poliferates.

Watson-Guptill have produced another book worthy of place in the beginner artist's library. You might want to consider buying Brian Gorst's "The Complete Oil Painter" (also by WG) that compliments Staiger's book well.
86 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oil painting can be tricky - this book helps control oils Nov. 24 2007
By Carolyn J. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I got this book from the library. I always knew I could draw, and I always wanted to oil paint. I have a lot of books on oil painting, but I still struggle. Oil paints are tricky, sort of like playing the violin: you have to learn to control them before you start creating with them.

Now, it IS for beginners, but it also says for "experienced" because she shows you tricks that maybe you didn't cover in other classes.

She incorporates drawing lessons with the painting lessons. If you can't draw and shade a sphere, how are you going to understand a bush? She doesn't just have list of brushes, but she has exercises on how to blend paint with them. Each exercise in the book builds on the next.

It is true that you are not going to paint a masterpiece with this book, but I do think you will say, "Oh, that's the problem", and then you can move forward with your own talent.

She has one whole page on Taming Thalo Green, which no one else has in their books. She has a shading lesson in primary colors, and in secondary colors. She tells you how to dull a color without changing the value (mix it's exact complimentary in the same value, then add it). She explains glazing and scumbling. All the exercises are simple, so that if you are talented or not, you can do them. For example, she doesn't have you glaze a portrait like Rembrandt, but an apple.

As she gets to harder things, she introduces more drawing. For example, when she gets to landscape, she talks about drawing perspective, as well as atmospheric perspective. In landscapes, she explains the tricks for trees and rocks (do the darks first). When she gets to portraits, then she talks about drawing the face. I don't think her portraits are all that hot, but she shows the steps then you can do them too, and infuse your talent.

You will not create a masterpiece with this book, but you will have tools to create your own masterpiece because you won't be stumped with atmospheric perspective, how to do trees, how to make a shadow, etc. Just like you can't play the violin if you don't know where the notes are and how to get a good sound out of the bow, you can't oil paint if you don't know things like how Alizarin Crimson is going to behave differently from Cadmium Red Light. She will help you with this.

She has taught beginning oil painting for 30 years, so she anticipates your problems and questions. Oil will not longer be something to fight with, but something that will do your bidding.
50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly good! March 22 2007
By Cynthia Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I would encourage anyone interested in purchasing art books to go to your local library and check some out before you purchase. That is what I did and that is why I bought this wonderful book. Her presentations are very clear and easy to understand. She has carefully constructed lessons, just as if you were taking a class. I like the structure. I like the fact that there is a whole lesson spent learning to use the brush to achieve different techniques. Each lesson takes me about 2-3 hours to complete, but when I am done I feel I have actually made some progress. The lessons build on previous lessons so you actually can see progress from week-to-week. Finally I am sticking to a schedule and actually painting instead of just thinking about it. The practice is what brings the improvement. Her book just makes it easier.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book Jan. 5 2007
By G. C. Majka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I'm a begining painter and I felt this book helped me get off to a good start. It helped me learn the mixing of colors (which I refer to often when using the greens) I liked the practice exercises which helped me to visualize the highlights and shading. The first landscape I did was the step-by-step in the book and it turned out ok for my first. I would recommend this book!!
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seeing the light Nov. 9 2006
By Roger Beech - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book happened to be the Oil Painting Course I had wanted.

So many books and instructors talk in generalities, and say "mix the colour till it's right", but this book describes what colours are, what we are trying to do, and how to achieve it.

And again with shapes, still life, landscape and up to portrait.

Theory is presented, excersizes are given, we are led through a "paint along", and then encouraged to blossom.

If you wish to learn alone, or want to have explained what your instructor really meant to say, this book is excellent.
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