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Realistic Painting Workshop: Creative Methods for Painting from Life.

REALISTIC PAINTING WORKSHOP: Creative Methods for Painting from Life, by Dan Carrel. Quarry Books, $24.99.

Dan Carrel has a fresh perspective and an unusual method of beginning a realistic work: He believes in first applying a random, multicolored, overall "chaos." He's fervent about his unique approach, asserting that it's a "no-fail" system.

Carrel also maintains that his book is not a traditional technique-based one, although he does include stamping, rubbings, and painting techniques such as dry-brush and glazing.

Another element of the author's philosophy is to incorporate games and playfulness, making learning fun (something that educators and childcare providers already try to do, no doubt). Carrel trusts that everyone has the potential to be an artist. In the first section, he does some cheerleading and discusses the dual nature of the brain. He also provides detailed directions on how to shut down your inner critic.

Chapter Two, which examines fractals and chaos, is not for younger minds to grasp. The author attempts to help people become "visually aware of the patterns in [a] complex world." The two basic tenets are layering and shading.

Some of the wording in tip boxes, scattered throughout the book, is ambiguous or verbose at times: "Brown is always just around the corner." "Remember that the chaos, whether random or adjusted, is a specific painting tool used for highly textured and complex images." But practical advice abounds, as well as games you can play with others and exercises you can use. The book concludes with a gallery of acrylic landscape paintings that were done with texture stamping, layers of glazes, and pattern recognition. Readers will appreciate the fabulous photos in this spiral-bound book, which sports a durable, paper-laminated cover. It's a bargain online.--P.G.

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Author:Guhin, Paula
Publication:Arts & Activities
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2016
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