Wednesday, December 09, 2015


Publisher Description.

Art Students' League Of New York On Painting by James L. McElhinney is a book that I have wanted to read since the day it was released, and after finishing it, now I know why.

I am a professional photorealist painter who studied at the League under Peter Homitzky in the late 1980's, so when I noticed his name as one of the instructors in this gem of a book, I was even more eager to immerse myself in the text and reproductions of various paintings therein.

Looking at the Table Of Contents, I also saw that one of my favorite realist artists named Frederick Brosen was also included.  I immediately read both of those chapters and enjoyed every word tremendously.

The book is divided into 3 sections:

Part 1 - Lessons and Demos
Part 2 - Advice and Philosophies
Part 3 - Interviews

Each section contains different writings from various League instructors with a little bit of biographical information and their history as artists as well as their ruminations about how, what and why they teach at the League.

I found the reproductions in the book of the instructors and their students paintings to be of the highest quality, which is very important to me in any book about art.

I enjoyed the first part of the book the best because at the end of each instructors section there was a part called "A Lesson In Print", which really shed light on how they go about teaching their students and what their creative process is regarding their own artwork.

Parts 2 and 3 were less instructional and more candidly written with a more personal vision into the instructors artistic journeys that ultimately brought them to the League.  I enjoyed reading the 3 interviews that closed out the book due to the fact that the questions posed were all open-ended which allowed for the personalities of these teachers to shine through.

In conclusion, I must say that some of the work presented by the instructors and students were not my taste, but I appreciated their vision and technical abilities nonetheless.

I have to mention a few instructors who are in this wonderful book besides Brosen and Homitzky who really struck a chord with me due to the sheer power of their work and mastery of their skill depicting  realism, to which I must admit I am quite biased.

1)  Ephram Rubenstein and all students who studied under him.  Very reminiscent of Edward Hopper.

2)  Thomas Torak and his students.  Very much like John Singer Sargent with powerfully expressive brushwork.

3)  Sharon Sprung and her students.  Her paintings have poetry and magic in them.

4)  Costa Vavagiakis and his students.  You can almost see into the soul of the subjects in his portraits.

I highly recommend this informative book to anyone who is interested in studying painting or to anyone in general who has a thirst for great art.

I look forward to re-reading this book in the future and hope to gain additional insights as I go back to it over time.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review"


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