Most helpful positive review
113 of 115 people found the following review helpful
Better than Lois Griffel!
on June 9, 2005
I love this book! It is full of good solid practical suggestions that result in a better painting. His color-isolator - a piece of cardboard painted with blocks of white, gray, and black, with a peep hole through each color block - is a fantastic idea. I also liked his use of the wooden pear to show shadows, planes, and color. He placed a yellow-green wooden pear on different colored backgrounds, and took photos. The photos are the key - one can SEE how a shadow actually can can take on different hues depending on its surroundings. No guessing. Lois Griffel has a similar study in her book, using paintings of a cube, but there is no way to see how in the world she came up with using some of the colors that she did because it's all just shown through paintings.
MacPherson also gives good practical advice on laying out the foundation for the art work - setting up the underlying "bones" of the painting.
MacPherson advocates using a very limited palette, and mixing those colors to get the colors you need. The idea is to tie everything together visually. I tried using a very basic palette, and am very pleased with the results. I use acrylics, but the same general principles apply. It forces one to learn to mix colors, and also unifies the painting. MacPherson is also correct when he urges the reader to try to paint an hour every day - practice makes perfect. If one REALLY wants to, one can find the time.... Maybe outside in the daylight is not always possible, but the daily routine and discipline is well worth the effort.
Lois Griffel's book is full of beautiful paintings, and tons of narrative, but little basic practical advice. (I also got irritated with Lois' claim that she paints what she SEES, because her paintings are loaded with colors that are not in the original photos. Like gobs and gobs and gobs of rose and magenta everywhere. She does create beautiful paintings, but please - don't tell me that they are a reflection of reality...) Lois' message is that she is much more clever than the rest of us, and maybe she is. Kevin MacPherson's message is YES, you can DO this! I like his message much better.
If you can only buy one book,go for Kevin MacPHERSON!