Classical Painting Atelier by Juliette Aristides
The author provides an excellent view of the traditional atelier painting approach as it is applied in a growing number of American art schools. Well written, constructed in an easily accessible way, the book flows well, with only one or two more detailed areas that can be confusing (probably more because I was not that interested in them, than they were poorly presented).
A short introductory chapter establishes the context for the work. I found it religously and culturally centred on the American perspective (no suprise as I’m not an American so the perspective does tend to jar a little).But this does not detract from the work, it just guided me to set some commentary aside as a I would when reading Ruskin.
Part One of the book covers historical and contemporary studio practice, moving quickly through an overview of the progression of skill development in a moodern atelier. This part ends with a one page description of the structure of the book, I found this to be well placed as it makes up to some extent for the lack of a teacher being physically present.
Part Two discusses Timeless Principles. This section while interesting, was rather dry and complex, particularly in the opening stage. Much of it is essential reading and should not be brushed over. For a rank beginner I would suggest reading this section lightly and going back to it as you move forward through the book.
Part Three discusses Timeless Practices. I found this Part a bit summary, being too short and written in too mmuch brevity. I would think however that a beginner would be well served by this section of the book.
Part Four is a discussion of Master works. This is a very broad brush section, half the space is devoted to images and the discussion of each work is therefore quite short. As an overview (and little more can be expected from a book of only 240 pages and a vast number of images) this is an excellent work. The book appears to be intended to guide the reader towards enrolling at an atelier, which is a right and proper thing to do if the reader is interested in developing strongly as a representational artist.
I do recommend this book as part of a program of reading and practice.