What Painting Is

What Painting Is❮PDF / Epub❯ ✅ What Painting Is Author James Elkins – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk Unlike many books on painting that usually talk about art or painters, James Elkins' compelling and original work focuses on alchemy, for like the alchemist, the painter seeks to transform and be tran Unlike many books on painting that usually talk about art or painters, James Elkins' What Painting ePUB ô compelling and original work focuses on alchemy, for like the alchemist, the painter seeks to transform and be transformed by the mediumIn What Painting Is, James Elkins communicates the experience of painting beyond the traditional vocabulary of art history Alchemy provides a magical language to explore what it is a painter really does in her or his studiothe smells, the mess, the struggle to control the uncontrollable, the special knowledge only painters hold of how colours will mix, and how they will lookWritten from the perspective of a painterturnedart historian, What Painting Is is like nothing you have ever read about art. What Painting Is,by James Elkins, is kind of odd. The book is all about one metaphor, explored in great detail. Elkins wants us to understand that painting and alchemy are the same. I must admit that he gets off to a great start. He's an art history academic who was once a practicing artist, and he is inspiring in his ability to describe the obsessive, seductive, overwhelming fascination of playing with colored mud. From the Introduction:

According to the Library of Congress there are over 7,400 books on the history and criticism of painting, enough for several lifetimes of reading. Another 1,500 books cover painters' techniques—most of them popular artists' manuals describing how color wheels work, or how to paint birds and flowers. In all that torrent of words I have found less than a half-dozen books that address paint itself, and try to explain why it has such a powerful attraction before it is trained to mimic some object, before the painting is framed, hung, sold, exhibited and interpreted. But I know how strong the attraction of paint can be, and how wrong people are who assume painters merely put up with paint as a way to make pictures. I was a painter before I trained to be an art historian, and I know from experience how utterly hypnotic the act of painting can be, and how completely it can overwhelm the mind with its smells and colors, and by the rhythmic motions of the brush.

Reading that made me really want to find out what he had to say. Unfortunately, the book would have been better as an essay—i.e., shorter. In Chapter 1 Elkins takes his single metaphor and pushes it, hard. Then you get to chapter two, and he keeps going. For the rest of the book. It doesn't take too long before the metaphor starts to get strained. We learn a lot about the different processes of classical alchemy and the bizarre ways that alchemists thought about them. For each process, Elkins comes up with a (usually) strained comparison to how painters work with their materials. If I happened to be deeply interested in the practice of alchemy (both historical and modern) as well as painting, I'm sure that I would have had lots of eureka moments as I read this. But even though I am fascinated by painting and sort of interested in wierd and arcane bits of history, Elkins lost me somewhere around the middle of the book as it became clear that his metaphor was all he had. It's just not enough to justify a whole book. And what's really painful is that I'm sure Elkins felt like he was leaving a lot out. This is an interesting and quirky essay, stretched into a short-ish book, that wishes it was a really long book, with a whole lot more footnotes. In other words, Elkins is even more of an art geek than I am. I'm impressed by that, but I can't recommend the book unless you are one of the seven other people who share these two interests with Elkins. If you are, and you didn't know this book existed, then you're going to love it. I found myself skipping around in this book for the parts that interested me. For those who don't know me well, I'll explain
I never do that. I like to enjoy a book's progression from beginning to end. I like to see the author develop their ideas and expand on them. I figure that's the reason they wrote it that way, in the order they chose to write it. So, to say that I did what I did, is not high praise. That said, he has some interesting and thought provoking things to say about painting, and about alchemy. Just a bit too much about alchemy and not enough about painting for me to think that this book merits the title that was chosen for it. Perhaps, How Alchemy Is Like Painting, or some such title. I might go back to it someday, I might not, but I'll probably never get through it from the beginning to the end like a proper reader.

Times change and people too. I regret this earlier review because after all I've gone back to this book several times since. Leaving my previous review nonetheless as a reminder of the peregrinations of the human mind. A must for painters. It has changed my view of painting and art making. I picked up this book in the middle of an arduous film painting job. The kind that stretches out for months and ends up involving little more than ageing props in shades of brown and black. I’ve finally finished it in the Scandinavian wilderness, many months later.

I don’t know what I expected, but in retrospect I should have used the hour of alertness after work for painting rather than reading about it. Perhaps it was my constantly resurfacing arrogance; I read more than any of my co-workers and sometimes I catch myself hoping that eventually this will make me a better artist than them.

But nothing makes a good painter but painting.

Elkins even mentions this once or twice which makes the whole point of this meandering academic book a little bit moot.

I do think he’s captured some of the endless thoughts that flow trough you while really in the zone. Even if his thoughts are 200% more intelligent than mine. I enjoyed reading about the alchemy of paints, but the whole book could have been a booklet and still contained the same salient information.
There are passages where he talks about painting that get me so excited. Then he'll go for 20 pages breaking down the history of Alchemy and I get a glaze over looked in my eyes. Then he'll bring it back to painting, and it's as if someone yanked on a hook that i forgot was in my mouth. If you can get through the alchemy the parts on painting are like poetry. What Painting Is is James Elkins' excellent effort to explore the practice of Oil Painting by using analogies from Alchemical practices of the past. He shows these analogies primarily through a discussion of substances and how they occupy the mind of both painter and alchemist.

This is a heady, but not overly intellectual exploration which painters, art historians, and art lovers alike will find to be enjoyable and thought-provoking. I would also recommend this book to the spouses and lovers of artists, as it may help them to understand a bit of what it's like to live with an artist's obsessions and maybe to better understand the odd beings they've fallen in love with.

Elkins includes many references to contemporary and original alchemical documents in his chapter notes.

This is my third time reading this book and each time, I've found more to contemplate. I'm about to set up a new painting studio here in France, and I am extra inspired to get to work and let the substances occupy my mind. This is a conceptual swamp where qualities are tangled with substances, and properties with states. The alchemists debated the nature of qualities; sometimes they thought of them as clothes that could be taken off, leaving the pure body' of the object, and other times they thought qualities were the body itself

the moral I draw from these debates
. is that where alchemy and painting are concerned, there is no reason to distinguish substances, qualities, principles, and even elements. What matters in any specific instance is what is occupying the mind: a certain oil varnish may be engaging because it is unusually viscous, in which case a quality counts as a substance
.substances occupy the mind as concepts and and concepts occupy the mind as substances. pgs 112-113 Been a while since I read it but as a professional painter, this is the only book I know that succeeds in many new ways to describe the appeal and mystery that working with the magic sticky substance of oil paint really has. It attempts no less than to find out and explain the driving force behind of what all oil painting really is about. The struggle, the love-hate relationship with the medium are described beautifully. There is also a rich history of the substances. All painters will love this book. This is what great painting is really about, and you thought it was the subject matter ? Its about the process and the result. This book turns me on.
I think Ill have to read it again. Makes me want to run to the studio. Has made me more observant about looking at painting- things I've taken for granted in my own practice and being more conscious in looking at other's work. Some parts are a little dry, but worth it. My favorite book of all time. There is no other book, person, lecture, class, artist, etc. who has been able to put the true experiences of a painter into perfect words. The chapter on the studio is especially worthy of praise.

What Painting Is PDF/EPUB ☆ What Painting  ePUB
    What Painting Is PDF/EPUB ☆ What Painting ePUB of painting beyond the traditional vocabulary of art history Alchemy provides a magical language to explore what it is a painter really does in her or his studiothe smells, the mess, the struggle to control the uncontrollable, the special knowledge only painters hold of how colours will mix, and how they will lookWritten from the perspective of a painterturnedart historian, What Painting Is is like nothing you have ever read about art. What Painting Is,by James Elkins, is kind of odd. The book is all about one metaphor, explored in great detail. Elkins wants us to understand that painting and alchemy are the same. I must admit that he gets off to a great start. He's an art history academic who was once a practicing artist, and he is inspiring in his ability to describe the obsessive, seductive, overwhelming fascination of playing with colored mud. From the Introduction:

    According to the Library of Congress there are over 7,400 books on the history and criticism of painting, enough for several lifetimes of reading. Another 1,500 books cover painters' techniques—most of them popular artists' manuals describing how color wheels work, or how to paint birds and flowers. In all that torrent of words I have found less than a half-dozen books that address paint itself, and try to explain why it has such a powerful attraction before it is trained to mimic some object, before the painting is framed, hung, sold, exhibited and interpreted. But I know how strong the attraction of paint can be, and how wrong people are who assume painters merely put up with paint as a way to make pictures. I was a painter before I trained to be an art historian, and I know from experience how utterly hypnotic the act of painting can be, and how completely it can overwhelm the mind with its smells and colors, and by the rhythmic motions of the brush.

    Reading that made me really want to find out what he had to say. Unfortunately, the book would have been better as an essay—i.e., shorter. In Chapter 1 Elkins takes his single metaphor and pushes it, hard. Then you get to chapter two, and he keeps going. For the rest of the book. It doesn't take too long before the metaphor starts to get strained. We learn a lot about the different processes of classical alchemy and the bizarre ways that alchemists thought about them. For each process, Elkins comes up with a (usually) strained comparison to how painters work with their materials. If I happened to be deeply interested in the practice of alchemy (both historical and modern) as well as painting, I'm sure that I would have had lots of eureka moments as I read this. But even though I am fascinated by painting and sort of interested in wierd and arcane bits of history, Elkins lost me somewhere around the middle of the book as it became clear that his metaphor was all he had. It's just not enough to justify a whole book. And what's really painful is that I'm sure Elkins felt like he was leaving a lot out. This is an interesting and quirky essay, stretched into a short-ish book, that wishes it was a really long book, with a whole lot more footnotes. In other words, Elkins is even more of an art geek than I am. I'm impressed by that, but I can't recommend the book unless you are one of the seven other people who share these two interests with Elkins. If you are, and you didn't know this book existed, then you're going to love it. I found myself skipping around in this book for the parts that interested me. For those who don't know me well, I'll explain
    I never do that. I like to enjoy a book's progression from beginning to end. I like to see the author develop their ideas and expand on them. I figure that's the reason they wrote it that way, in the order they chose to write it. So, to say that I did what I did, is not high praise. That said, he has some interesting and thought provoking things to say about painting, and about alchemy. Just a bit too much about alchemy and not enough about painting for me to think that this book merits the title that was chosen for it. Perhaps, How Alchemy Is Like Painting, or some such title. I might go back to it someday, I might not, but I'll probably never get through it from the beginning to the end like a proper reader.

    Times change and people too. I regret this earlier review because after all I've gone back to this book several times since. Leaving my previous review nonetheless as a reminder of the peregrinations of the human mind. A must for painters. It has changed my view of painting and art making. I picked up this book in the middle of an arduous film painting job. The kind that stretches out for months and ends up involving little more than ageing props in shades of brown and black. I’ve finally finished it in the Scandinavian wilderness, many months later.

    I don’t know what I expected, but in retrospect I should have used the hour of alertness after work for painting rather than reading about it. Perhaps it was my constantly resurfacing arrogance; I read more than any of my co-workers and sometimes I catch myself hoping that eventually this will make me a better artist than them.

    But nothing makes a good painter but painting.

    Elkins even mentions this once or twice which makes the whole point of this meandering academic book a little bit moot.

    I do think he’s captured some of the endless thoughts that flow trough you while really in the zone. Even if his thoughts are 200% more intelligent than mine. I enjoyed reading about the alchemy of paints, but the whole book could have been a booklet and still contained the same salient information.
    There are passages where he talks about painting that get me so excited. Then he'll go for 20 pages breaking down the history of Alchemy and I get a glaze over looked in my eyes. Then he'll bring it back to painting, and it's as if someone yanked on a hook that i forgot was in my mouth. If you can get through the alchemy the parts on painting are like poetry. What Painting Is is James Elkins' excellent effort to explore the practice of Oil Painting by using analogies from Alchemical practices of the past. He shows these analogies primarily through a discussion of substances and how they occupy the mind of both painter and alchemist.

    This is a heady, but not overly intellectual exploration which painters, art historians, and art lovers alike will find to be enjoyable and thought-provoking. I would also recommend this book to the spouses and lovers of artists, as it may help them to understand a bit of what it's like to live with an artist's obsessions and maybe to better understand the odd beings they've fallen in love with.

    Elkins includes many references to contemporary and original alchemical documents in his chapter notes.

    This is my third time reading this book and each time, I've found more to contemplate. I'm about to set up a new painting studio here in France, and I am extra inspired to get to work and let the substances occupy my mind. This is a conceptual swamp where qualities are tangled with substances, and properties with states. The alchemists debated the nature of qualities; sometimes they thought of them as clothes that could be taken off, leaving the pure body' of the object, and other times they thought qualities were the body itself

    the moral I draw from these debates
    . is that where alchemy and painting are concerned, there is no reason to distinguish substances, qualities, principles, and even elements. What matters in any specific instance is what is occupying the mind: a certain oil varnish may be engaging because it is unusually viscous, in which case a quality counts as a substance
    .substances occupy the mind as concepts and and concepts occupy the mind as substances. pgs 112-113 Been a while since I read it but as a professional painter, this is the only book I know that succeeds in many new ways to describe the appeal and mystery that working with the magic sticky substance of oil paint really has. It attempts no less than to find out and explain the driving force behind of what all oil painting really is about. The struggle, the love-hate relationship with the medium are described beautifully. There is also a rich history of the substances. All painters will love this book. This is what great painting is really about, and you thought it was the subject matter ? Its about the process and the result. This book turns me on.
    I think Ill have to read it again. Makes me want to run to the studio. Has made me more observant about looking at painting- things I've taken for granted in my own practice and being more conscious in looking at other's work. Some parts are a little dry, but worth it. My favorite book of all time. There is no other book, person, lecture, class, artist, etc. who has been able to put the true experiences of a painter into perfect words. The chapter on the studio is especially worthy of praise. "/>
  • Paperback
  • 256 pages
  • What Painting Is
  • James Elkins
  • English
  • 13 October 2018
  • 9780415926621