Oils. Quickly. Really? You’ll forgive my cynicism because you probably share it, but also my curiosity because this is Hazel Soan and she doesn’t make wild claims. You may also conclude that any book by her has a head start and is going to contain more wise words than most others. And you’d be right.
Let’s deal with the “quick” bit. This is not a lengthy tome. Its 112 pages are quite small, so you could really call it 56. There also aren’t very many words, so it’s hardly enough even to scratch the surface, is it? Well, yes it is. The simple fact is that this is a distillation of a very considerable amount of wisdom. Let’s pick a topic at random, in this case reflections:
“Reflections are a great subject because they offer repetition of a shape or colour, which makes for interesting composition. In water, the repetition is above and below the waterline. The condition of water is shown in a painting by the character and nature of the brushstrokes. Some examples are shown here.”
Yes, there’s a lot more you can say, but the essence of it’s here, beautifully distilled. And don’t forget the “Examples shown”. This is a book that teaches from its illustrations and the text is merely the lead-in that tells you what you should be looking for, not what you’re looking at. All-in-all, it’s a polished and accomplished performance – just what you’d expect from Hazel – that offers so much sound advice that it’s worth a look even if you have no interest in oil painting. You even get a penny change from a tenner, which makes it the most amazing value.
The Society for All Artists have produced a DVD that goes with it and that’s worth seeking out too.
Click the picture to view on Amazon