Classical Painting Atelier

I recently received Juliette Aristides new book, Classical Painting Atelier. Juliette taught with Jacob Collins at the National Academy in New York, and then became a founding member of the Water Street Studio. She currently runs her own atelier (ăt'l-yā'), Aristides Classical Atelier in Seattle, and has proven herself a driving force in the resurgence of the classical movement.

As best I can describe, this book is not a "how-to paint" book, but more of a how to learn how to paint. There are many short lessons throughout the book that walk you through some of the key projects you would encounter in an atelier (cast drawings, master copies, monochromatic painting . . .), but other than that, the book simply outlines principles and concepts that an artist should study. Improving your work through composition, value, color, and just hard work.

The Introduction and first section were my favorites, as it gave a history of the atelier and Juliette's personal opinions and feelings about education and the need to turn back to classical/representational art. The Composition chapter was the most detailed I have seen (although I can honestly say I haven't studied much more than the basics). She applies both mathematics and harmonies into how the masters composed their masterpieces. She also overlays these principles onto the paintings that used them. I am not a strong believer in some of these principles but I will definitely focus more on my compositions and always have it in mind while I create a new work.

Overall, a very valuable resource for my personal library. Juliette has also written a previous book, Classical Drawing Atelier, which I have now put on my book wish list.

For a more detailed review of the book, visit the Art Renewal Center