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Figure Painting in Oil Hardcover – Import, 1973
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Top customer reviews
The author starts out with the typical chapter on materials and techniques, but this chapter differs from most other books in this genre by actually explaining how to use the tools and materials. There is section devoted to stretching your own canvasses, and an explanation of different ways to hold the brush, and why.
There is a section on basic anatomy, and on proportion, gesture and contour. This is missing in most books on figurative painting; it seems that the majority of authors assume that you've bought books specific to drawing skills. Even if you have bought books about drawing, there is useful information here that will be helpful; Graves applies what he demonstrates to painting, so the connection is easy to understand. He also breaks down the individual sections of the body-- head, torso, arms and legs-- and demonstrates features unique to each, as well as how to properly see and render them.
My favorite part of this book is the fact that Graves starts you off with monochrome painting exercises-- black, white and gray. The first real exercise is painting from a plaster cast, followed by demonstrations in black-and-white of nude females painted from the front, 3/4 view, side, and back. After this section, he does several demonstrations in color, starting with a warm-cool exercise and then progressing into demonstrations of various complexions. It finishes off with a surprisingly useful section on sketching with various mediums, including chalk, pencil, charcoal and paint.
Graves uses a simple palette and paints in a loose style, perfect for someone who is trying to learn the nuances of this very challenging subject.