Art Students League of New York on Painting || James L McElhinny

This new volume follows on from The Visual Language of Drawing that appeared a few years ago and drew on the work of a well-established institution to provide a variety of views and approaches to its subject.

This, unsurprisingly, follows the same formula. It’s subtitle, Lessons and Meditations on Mediums, Styles and Methods, might lead you to think it’s a bit abstract and academic, but you’d only be partly right. It’s more discussions than meditations and the thoughts of the instructors of the ASL are worth reading. While we’re deconstructing titles, the word Lessons doesn’t mean that there’s overt instruction here: it’s more of a seminar. If you want your books to get you painting with one hand while you read and follow exercises with the other, this won’t cut it. If, though, you enjoy reading about the practice of painting, you might well find the book hard to put down.

The essays that comprise the content are quite long, hugely varied and thoroughly illustrated – the quality of these is excellent, both in terms of the work presented and the reproduction. Above all, it’s not dull. You might find that the views of artists you’ve never heard of are harder to get to grips with but, equally, you might value the fresh viewpoints that brings. Money paid, choice taken.

Click the picture to view on Amazon

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