"In any exhibition of amateur work . . . it is not at all unusual to find many charming water-colour drawings, but . . . it is very rarely that the work in the oil medium is anything but dull, dead, and lacking in all vitality and charm." &; Harold Speed. Such provocative assertions are characteristic of this stimulating and informative guide, written in a highly personal and unique style by a noted painter and teacher. Brimming with pertinent insights into the technical aspects and painting in oils, it is also designed to help students perfect powers of observation and expression. Harold Speed has distilled years of painting and pedagogical experience into an expert instructional program covering painting technique, painting from life, materials (paints, varnishes, oils and mediums, grounds, etc.), a painter's training, and more. Especially instructive is his extensive and perceptive discussion of form, tone, and color, and a fascinating series of detailed "Notes" analyzing the painting styles of Velasquez, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Franz Hals, and Rembrandt.
Nearly 70 photographs and drawings illustrate the text, among them prehistoric cave paintings, diagrams of tonal values, stages of portrait painting, and reproductions of masterpieces by Giotto, Vermeer, Ingres, Rembrandt, Titian, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Hals, Giorgione, Poussin, Corot, Veronese, and other luminaries. In addition to these pictorial pleasures, the author further leavens the lessons with thought-provoking opinion.