How to Paint Like the Old Masters, by Joseph Sheppard

PDF Ebook How to Paint Like the Old Masters, by Joseph Sheppard

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How to Paint Like the Old Masters, by Joseph Sheppard

How to Paint Like the Old Masters, by Joseph Sheppard

How to Paint Like the Old Masters, by Joseph Sheppard

PDF Ebook How to Paint Like the Old Masters, by Joseph Sheppard

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How to Paint Like the Old Masters, by Joseph Sheppard

Generations of artists have learned from How to Paint Like the Old Masters, the classic volume that explores the techniques used by the great artists of the 16th and 17th centuries. Now Watson-Guptill proudly presents the 25th Anniversary Edition. Each chapter is devoted to a different Old Master—Dürer, Titian, Veronese, Caravaggio, Vermeer, Hals, Rubens, and Rembrandt—and is divided into two sections. The first part describes the artist’s techniques and discusses how artists can incorporate these methods within their own personal style. The second part is a full-color demonstration. Author Joseph Sheppard traces the artist’s working sequence, colors and mediums, surfaces and tools, as he creates a new painting. With today’s resurgence of interest in Old Master techniques, this unique, practical, and inspiring book is sure to teach countless artists exactly How to Paint Like the Old Masters.

  • Sales Rank: #86582 in Books
  • Brand: WATSON-GUPTILL
  • Published on: 1983-09-01
  • Released on: 1983-09-01
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 12.10″ h x .50″ w x 9.10″ l, 1.47 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 144 pages

About the Author
Joseph Sheppard has been painting for more than fifty years. His work is featured in many museum and private collections, including the Butler Institute and the Baltimore Museum of Art. He lives in Baltimore.

Most helpful customer reviews

94 of 96 people found the following review helpful.
A Fascinating Look at Possibilities
By A Customer
Mr. Sheppard has turned his considerable talent and experience to recreating the materials and techniques that may have been used by the Old Masters of oil painting–Rubens, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, and Titian , to name a few. Rather than apply thick paint on the canvas, the Masters developed their works slowly, over a period of weeks or months, applying layer upon layer of translucent glazes to a gray or brown underpaining. The result is color that is more luminous and vibrant than paint straight from the tube. Mr. Sheppard also provides directions for recreating the Masters’ painting medium, a mixture of oil and varnish with the consistency of jelly. I myself did not have the patience (nor, given the obvious health risks in using the powdered lead and high temperatures the recipe requires, the inclination) to create this medium at home, but I am told it is available commercially. Mr. Sheppard is also thoughtful enough to provide recipes for substitute mediums, for those of us of a less adventurous spirit. As for the techniques themselves, there is no denying the author’s pure talent, and his prose is bot engaging and informative, but make no mistake: this is not a book intended for the beginner. The reader can see the progression of each painting in a series of illustrations, but several crucial steps are completed in the space of a paragraph, and only a practiced eye can see precisely how the author has completed each step. I was also disappointed that Sheppard has chosen to create one or, at most, two paintings in the style of each Master. His Titian nude, for example, fairly glows on the page, and his sole Rembrandt recreation, that of an old man, rivals and perhaps exceeds many of Rembrandt’s own paintings. I would relish the opportunity to see him create more. Still, in exploring the possibilities of the Old Masters (no records of their actual materials or techniques truly exist, so Sheppard has made at best an exceptionally educated guess), I realized the possibilities that can be achieved in my own painting, with patience, practice, and diligence. At the very least, check the book out of the library, get a fresh canvas, and explore the possibilities yourself. You will take something with you.

92 of 95 people found the following review helpful.
A well meaning author offers an introduction…
By Robert D. Williams
I bought this book two years ago when I was studying for my B.F.A. in Studio Art with a concentration in painting. Fascinated with the Old Masters, as well as Odd Nerdrum’s contemporary work that echoes the likes of Caravaggio and Rembrandt, I sought information beyond what my Professors could offer on the Master’s techniques. I was disappointed to find that Sheppard’s book was, literally, the only one I found that even addressed painting in a classical manner. While Sheppard doesn’t come close to answering the mysteries of the Masters, he demonstrates his virtuosity with paint in every example. His instructions, while NOT for the beginning painter, are not difficult for the careful student to follow. I found the advice practical and useful. I recommend this book to any painter with ambitions to develop richly colored paintings in the manner of the Masters. The Old Masters are best studied in museums in person. I also suggest a great book like Ernst Van de Wetering’s “Rembrandt: The Painter at Work”, which includes stunning close-ups to study.

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful.
Excellent but might not be the whole story
By Brian Asquith
The first thing that struck me as I browsed the book is the woeful quality of many of the images, with some being out of focus. This problem is also apparent in the other two books by Watson Guptill that I think compliment this one well. Kreutz “Problem Solving for Beginners” and Cateura “Oil Painting Secrets from a Master”. If you are looking to paint in a realistic style in the vein of Caravaggio, Rembrandt etc. then you will find plenty of information in these three books.

However all three deal with technique and for me the ability to discern the brushstrokes is a critical part of the learning exercise i.e. is the artist using impasto or thinned paint? With these images it’s impossible to tell. Hopefully WG will revisit each of these books and bring the images up to scratch.

Joseph Sheppard provides “how to’s” allowing the reader to emulate the techniques of: Durer, Titian, Veronese, Caravaggio, Rubens, Hals, Rembrandt and Vermeer. Information on how to create specific paint mediums used by that particular artist, mixing paints, painting surfaces etc. He makes no claims that any of the information offered is absolute. As well as conducting his own studies on how to achieve a certain painterly effect he has also drawn on technical information published by the various “art experts” (listed in the bibliography).

Results of recent studies of old master paintings indicating that the current thinking on techniques might be wrong. The old masters would typically have a team of apprentices working alongside them, mixing paint, painting parts of the painting that the master was probably too bored to bother with (as well as good training for the apprentice) etc. The Master/Apprentice setup allowed for a continuous stream of knowledge being passed along the generations. However as oil paint technology advanced, in particular the ability to buy premixed paints off the shelf, the painter no longer needed a team of apprentices. He could pretty much get by on his own. Hence there was no longer anyone for the painter to pass on his knowledge to. This resulted in a considerable amount of technical knowledge being lost. (A good example is the recent theory promulgated by David Hockney that the old masters were able to paint such realistic paintings as they used rudimentary projection techniques to place a guide image on the canvas, overwhich they painted. No one knows if he is right or wrong).

From the 1800’s on, technical experts such as Charles Eastlake (“Methods and Materials of Painting”) and Max Doerner (“The Materials of the Artist”) began to impart their wisdom on how the old master paintings were created. But the techniques thay had available were very rudimentary, more often than not being a case of the expert trying to reproduce a certain style and looking at the painting surface close up. The experts proferred their theories and techniques, often with much aplomb leaving no room for doubt. Unfortunately they were often quite off the mark – they could emulate a style somewhat but never 100%. There are too many variables involved even for a discerning eye. It has only been with recent advances in scientific analysis, chemical and visual, that a truer understanding of the old master technique is finally being determined. Van Wettering’s excellent “Rembrandt – the painter at work” book details the findings of extensive research carried out on a number of paintings considered to have been painted by Rembrandt. The book is 340 pages, and they still haven’t got all the answers. But what they have done is to throw in to doubt the theories and techniques of the 19th/20th C experts.

There is a welter of information in this book, but if you are trying to perfectly replicate a certain old master painterly technique, and failing to do so, then be warned the experts might not be such experts afterall.

All said and done, I do recommend this book for the wealth of information it contains. Numerous recipes for mediums, varnishes, mixing paints, painting surface etc., along with a well presented demonstration of each painters technique. This book might not quite get you to a 100% replication of the desired technique but it will certainly get you close. And as science uncovers more knowledge about the “real” techniques they can be applied here accordingly.

It is not a book for beginners – a rudimentary understanding of the oil painting process is reqd at minimum. Beginners might want to check out Brian Gorst’s “The Complete Oil Painters” also.

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