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Maybe a little advanced for the absolute beginner. I am an art teacher and bought it for use with my students. It's quite technical but nevertheless very well laid out in a staggered manner. It is perhaps suitable for those who are not simply happy with being hobby painters and wish to learn more technical things like proper colour theory.
Staiger has compiled a wealth of information of use to the beginner in oil painting. Pretty much all the basic considerations of what constitutes a successful painting are covered.
She opens with a good overview of the materials required: paints, brushes, supports, easels and a useful piece on mediums and cleaners. Staiger appears to acknowledge that of her audience some are merely curious as to what oil painting entails through to the serious beginner looking for a good foundation of knowledge. Hence economy is apparent with a minimal range of brushes being recommended along with using good student grade paints (Winsor & Newton - Grumbacher), along with old tuna-fish cans for holding the medium. This is followed by:
i) A fairly comprehensive and easy to understand section on rendering 3D form on a 2D canvas.
ii) 20 pages on colour and colour mixing (a further 4 pages on mixing greens appears later in the landscape section).
iii) The previous chapters are brought to a conclusion with an exercise in painting a cylinder and a sphere.
iv) Painting the Still Life is next (30 pages of info), covering issues such as composition, sketching, painting.
v) Landscapes (40 pages): linear and aerial perspective, a landscape palette, components of a landscape - sky, water, trees, grass, sand, dirt, and concludes with a landscape painting exercise.
vi) Painting Portraits - drawing the head and correct placement of features, mixing skin tones, finishing with a portrait painting exercise.
Overall there is a lot of information here that should benefit the beginner. The book is also aimed at Experienced painters although I'm not sure that there is anything major that an Experienced oil painter shouldn't already know.
The exercises are somewhat rudimentary in terms of the painting style (hence the 4 stars). I'd much prefer the exercises push the painter somewhat, possibly even have two exercises per subject matter - one to get across the rudiments followed by a second adding to it showing you various tricks, flourishes etc., that can give your painting that little "extra", elevating your work from the standard twee style that poliferates.
Watson-Guptill have produced another book worthy of place in the beginner artist's library. You might want to consider buying Brian Gorst's "The Complete Oil Painter" (also by WG) that compliments Staiger's book well.
This book has helped me to keep learning the basics of oil painting. I took a course through a local Continuing Ed. It left me wanting to continue my learning process, but with no local option. I am only a few chapters into this but I have liked the lessons and will continue with it. Thanks for a great resourse for those of us with out access to good classes and teachers.
Borrowed this from my local library and worked through some early exercises, but had to keep taking it back and after borrowing it about 5 times over 2 years I decided to keep it in my collection so I can work through at leisure, as a mum to four primary schoolers my intention to paint is often overridden by the family demands...so now I have it when I have the opportunity and it is simple and helpful in developing the skill of oil painting.