Landscape Painting, by Mitchell Albala – book review

Full title of book:  Landscape Painting, Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice, by Mitchell Albala.

If you’re in the need for instructions on how to paint landscapes then this book may be for you.  Why I recommend Mitchell Albalas’ book is that he got to the point without my having to claw through a lot of verbiage (one or two pages per subject [couple of paragraphs at most]).  Keeping it concise, Mitchell purposefully used each word and as an artist I had to consider what he was getting at and how I would apply the information.  Albala provided and reviewed examples of paintings to illustrate each topic, this allowed me to grasp the subject more fully – perfect.

By nature I approach things more from a logical perspective first and then the creative side kicks in.  As an artist I have to understand what I’m doing and why, once that understanding takes hold I can go ahead apply a given painting technique.  This book is perfect for my style of learning.

Overall the book is great.  Three chaptersI found excellent and have applied consistently to my paintings since, were:

  1. Site Selection:  Spatial Cues, and Crosslight vs. Flat Light (perfect photo illustration on concept)
  2. Composition:  Balance, Variation, and Foreground Analysis (sound advice for how to make a good painting, that much better)
  3. Light and Color:  Harmony, Unification and the “Envelope of Light” (excellent discussion!)

I have only one drawback with this book, and it’s a minor one.  This  is an artists’ “go-to” and thus will be picked up and re-visited several times, there is a good possibility the book is going to see some paint.  The price is a bit expensive for that reason . . . dimensions are 11 x 9 with a quality hardcover (gorgeous, but not reasonable packaging considering how and where it will be used).  Softcover would have been a better choice for the artist.  But, considering the value of several topics I got from the book I’m not getting rid of my copy any time soon – the book has more than paid for itself.

The book is an excellent resource and one that I’ll refer too often.  Mitchell Albala has helped me improve my paintings in the short time I’ve had the book.

About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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2 Responses to Landscape Painting, by Mitchell Albala – book review

  1. exiledprospero says:

    Probably a good book for photographers too.

    • Mary says:

      You’re right, plus there is a section in the back of the book on taking and painting from photographs which provided a lot of good information.

      It’s a great book. He had a chapter devoted to underpainting that I’ll be exploring at a later date for my oil pastels and will write something in the blog about it.

      Happy New Years! Mary

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