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GO TO YOUR ROOM !

I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I am now focusing on my own development ( Going to MY room!) and sharing what I have learned and continue to learn. I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Recommended Books on Composition

John F Carlson
I knew I wouldn't get away without posting a list of the books I mentioned in the demo. Had a number of the demo participants asking today - I do enjoy getting your comments and questions . 

There are books devoted to composition - some are heavy and frankly overkill.  I will not include them. I will include those that are on composition that do a good job and are a joy to read. 

Many of the books are more general in nature but have a section on composition that, in my opinion, is good and that the over all content of the book is good. Most are based on oils-  not acrylics - but the medium has no bearing on the content. The last is a recent watercolor book and is a very good book for plein air and composition in any medium. You can get complete info and ratings on any of these books from Amazon. 

The two I mentioned in the demo are "golden oldies" and really " must haves" for the serious developing  artists. Carlson's is available and very inexpensive. You won't be impressed until you start reading it. When you do be sure to Google for images of his paintings in colour to go along with the book which is black and white. 

The other jem is Edgar Payes. You might have trouble finding it. It keeps going out of print but his daughter has had at least two re printings. I found two in a used book store. 


  • Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting.  John F.  Carlson,  1929
  • Composition of Outdoor Painting.  Edgar A. Payne, 1941

Recent books I like for their content on composition:
  • Mastering Composition. Ian Roberts, 2007 (includes good DVD on composition)
  • Landscape Painting. Mitchell Albala, 2009
  • The Simple Secret to Better Painting. Greg Albert, 2003
  • Oil Paintings with Light and Colour. Kevin MacPherson, 1997
  • Landscape Painting Inside and Out. Kevin MacPherson, 2006
  • Powerful Watercolor Landscapes. Catherine Gill, 2011 (watercolour but great book for all landscape mediums)
Because the demo was acrylics a few good acrylic landscape books I like are:
  • Acrylic Landscape Painting Techniques. Hugh Greer,  2002
  • Water Media Painting. Stephen Quiller  2008
  • Acrylic Painting Techniques. Stephen Quiller , 1994
  • The Acrylic Painters Book of Style and Techniques. Rachel Rubin Wolf, ed. 1997
  • Colour Choices – Making Color Sense out of Color Theory. Stephen Quiller, 1989
  • Capturing Light in Acrylics. John Hammond, 2004
  • Free Expression in Acrylics. John Hammond, 2008
  • Acrylics the Watercolour Alternative. Charles Harrington, 2005
  • Acrylic Painting Techniques. Earl Killeen, 1995

Enjoy. 


1 comment:

  1. Thanks Brian for taking the time to put this list together. I have some titles (and definitely agree with your recommending them); will now begin treating myself to some of the others you note. Thx again for your demo session at Opus.

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