Books on single subjects in oils are rare, but here are two at once, with Crowood also publishing Eileen Clark’s on mountains.
The approach here is broadly similar, with plenty of discussion and examples accompanied by some short demonstrations. There is a good variety of both subject matter and painting styles. James’s own work is relatively loose so, if you don’t want to be carefully working on every brick, heave a sigh of relief right here. Building types range from domestic to grand structures, both at home and around the world and there are useful chapters on sketching, perspective, colour and light.
This is a book that takes its readers as well as its subject seriously and, although there is the obligatory chapter on materials and equipment, it is by no means over-long and you’re quickly into the meat of painting, which is what you want. There’s nothing wrong in assuming that your readers have a level of competence gained from classes, experience or other books and then simply concentrating on the subject in hand, which James does with admirable thoroughness.
There are plenty of illustrations and the reproduction throughout is generally good, although a few of the images are softer that I would ideally like. Fortunately, James’s style is such that this does not render them unusable and you should feel that you have been well-served overall on this front.
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