This isn’t the first book on painting from photographs, but it is certainly one of the best. In his introduction, Geoff is careful to say that it is not about photography itself and that, indeed the photos illustrated may not even be the best. They are, however, representative of the sort of thing you may find in your own collection. Some may have been taken with an idea of using them as a snapshot sketch, some are a quick record of a scene or a place taken, well, just because. Others may be wrongly lit or too complicated to make a good painting.
I think it’s also fair to say that this is not a book about how to paint, insomuch as there’s an assumption that you know the basics, or have other guides. What you get is much more useful than that: a guide to how to make a successful painting from a photograph. Any photograph. What to include, what to leave out, how to change the lighting or move elements of the composition. The nearest you get to conventional instruction is a note of the palette used, which is very handy as photographs can be misleading (or even simply too dark) in this area.
There are twenty-five demonstrations in all, which also tells you that there are not masses of step-by-step details, just the salient points. Subjects cover landscapes, waterscapes, buildings, people, large vistas and intimate corners. Just about everything, in fact. Bit of a masterclass, actually.
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