Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice
by Mitchell Albala
Now in its fourth printing ”Landscape Painting” is a top 20 seller at publisher Watson-Guptill and has been on Bookscan’s list of top 50 selling art books. It is the #1 selling landscape book at Amazon.com (where reader reviews give it a 5-star rating). The book has received excellent reviews and has been called “a new classic of landscape art.” It graces the bookshelves at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The National Gallery, Seattle Art Museum and The Frye Art Museum.
“Yours is better than all of them”
Don Demers / 2011
“In my opinion it is the absolutely finest book I’ve ever read on landscape painting! That list includes Edgar Payne, Andrew Loomis, John Carlson and Birge Harrison. Yours is better than all of them. I could go on as to why I believe this, but I just want to let you know how much I think of your work and I’ll be recommending it to everyone of my students in the future.”
“My paintings are now regularly accepted into juried shows!”
Makarand Dehejia / 2013
I am a great fan of your book and am constantly surprised that art teachers around the globe are not able to explain the fundamentals of landscape as well as you do. I read parts of your book every night and am happy to report that my paintings are now regularly accepted into juried shows! All credit belongs to you.
“The product of an intelligent, broadly experienced teacher”
Steve Frick Fine Art / 2012
I have read lots of books on painting. A lot of them focus on the writer’s own style, and at worst they touch on narcissistic self-promotion. Albala’s book is the product of an intelligent, broadly experienced and talented artist and teacher. It put to words many things I have thought about, but never saw written; plus it opened a lot of new doors for me and had a positive influence on my path as a painter (and helped my teaching).
“A real page turner”
Artists & Illustrators Magazine / 2010
This glorious practical book will soon have you pining for the great outdoors, come rain, shine or even blizzard. As a seasoned landscape artist, American author Mitchell Albala sees his subject both as a constant challenge and an alluring prospect. Every aspect of landscape painting is picked apart with neat observations, while his enthusiasm keeps things brisk and interesting — unusually for a practical book, this is a real page turner … So whether you are a seasoned view painter or an inquisitive novice looking for a change of subject, this is a beautiful, must-have guide.
“A new classic of landscape art”
Katherine Tyrrell / makingamark.com / January 6, 2010
Read the full review at MakingaMark.com
This book will become a new classic of landscape art. It’s an in-depth guide produced by somebody who is an experienced educator and an excellent communicator. It deserves a place on the bookshelf of everybody who takes landscape art seriously — whether they paint plein air or in the studio. If I was to try and write a book about landscape painting then this would be the one I’d wish I’d written.”
“Photographers can learn a great deal from brush-wielding artists”
Outdoor Photography / October 2010
What? A landscape painting book in a photography magazine! There are probably few of us who regularly delve into painting literature in search of inspiration for our photography techniques, but the obvious parallels between the two disciplines means that photographers can learn a great deal from brush-wielding artists. Just as they have to struggle to discern light, form and composition, then photographers, too, have to work with the same basic ingredients in order to come up with a compelling image. In this beautifully designed, clearly-written book, Albala takes us through the fundamentals of the painting process, from selecting a good site and perspective, and the secrets of good composition, to how to use light and colour. Of course, this is all done from the painter’s viewpoint but I would be surprised if there was any outdoor photographer out there who would not gain some fresh insight from glimpsing the world from behind an easel. – Steve Watkins
“A book that takes you as seriously as you take your subject”
ArtBookReview.net / February 1, 2010
Read the full review at ArtBookReview.net
“If you’re a landscape painter and you want a book that takes you as seriously as you take your subject, look no further.”
“The best to date since Carlson’s classic Guide to Landscape Painting”
Dinah Snipes Steveni / August 2010
I, like several other reviewers, feel that Albala’s book is the best one published to date since the classic Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting . Albala strikes a position distilling the didactic forcefulness of Carlson and marries it to a humanist liberal arts tradition. The stunning examples taken from a myriad of plein air painters will have you ringing up your paint-buddy in anticipation of once again trying to capture the light!”
“How much faster my progress would have been had I had the advantgae of your wisdom 18 years ago.”
Gerry Conley / September 2010
Your decades of learning as a painter really show; it is as though you had collected all your “A Ha!” moments and were now sharing them. It is an understanding that normally only comes to a student of landscape painting through many years of field work and hundreds of paintings and countless hours of study. Your book offers a short cut. As I read these gems, remembering them like rungs on the ladder of experience that had cut my feet, I wondered how much faster my progress would have been had I had the advantgae of you wisdom 18 years ago.”
“Willing to share knowledge in a very organized and structured way”
Amazon Reader / March 2011
There are many texts that are written by notable artists that don’t cover a fraction of what Mr. Albala is willing to share. This is not a self-promotional romp light in substance or a picture book disguised as an instructional art book; the author knows the topic, has decades of experience, and is willing to share that knowledge in a very organized, structured way.
Terry Shock, October 2010
I just wanted to thank you for making a brilliant book on landscape painting. I will be a true classic. The information is precise — and it’s all in there! We still have the classics such as Carlson’s, Payne, Schmidt and others, but this would be the first book I would go to. It contains a lifetime of information andwill save me 100′s-1000′s on workshops.”
“Easy enough for beginners while an experienced painter gets fresh insights”
Janeen Schissler / June 2010
I’ve been painting for 30 years. I’ve read hundreds of books and yours is one of the best landscape books I’ve read. I’ve already learned so much. Your book is easy enough for a beginner to understand while an experienced painter gets fresh insights into some basic value and composition. Great job.
“A beautiful guide for any artist”
Omaha World Herald / December 2009
Anyone inclined to create his own landscapes and nature images with paint can’t go wrong with this how-to book, which covers everything from choosing materials to finding inspiration. But this is no dry textbook; it’s a beautiful guide for any artist.
“The most brilliant art-instruction book I have every seen”
John Cline, May, 2010
Things are beginning to look up for me and I have decided that what I really want to paint was what I started out wanting to paint as a teenager: the landscape. My stumbling-block, however, was a multitude of unanswered technical questions, which I had either been unable to verbalize or my teachers were unable to answer. But in your book, I have found my questions both verbalized and answered. It is almost as if you had been able to get inside my head. Your book is the most brilliant art-instruction book I have every seen … I’ll be referring all of my students to your wonderful book, and I’ll be using it in the classroom as well.”
“I have about 30 books on painting and this is the best by far”
Mary, August, 2010
This book is fantastic. I have about 30 books on painting and this is the best by far. Mr. Albala writes with clarity and insight … Ideas I thought I had a handle on were made crystal clear. By page 30 I had more than my money’s worth. If you buy one painting book this year make sure it this one. I love this Book!
“An overview of landscape painting that is unexcelled”
Brett Busang / March 2010
I’ve read dozens of “how-to” books over the years and yours is one of the very best. A rather common failing of such books is the “core talent” the artist/demonstrator uses, which rarely passes muster. In addition to the crystalline clarity — and supreme usefulness — of your demonstrations, you’ve provided your readers with an overview of landscape painting that is, in my experience, unexcelled. Thanks very much for such a tribute to these voices — as well as grounding us in a supple, but sensible, mode of “seeing.”
“I have never before been so impressed with a book”
Marilyn Glidewell / March 2010
“I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your new book. I could hardly believe it when I first saw it in Barnes & Noble. It stood out — way and above all the other art technique books. I have never before been so impressed with a book that I felt compelled to write to the author. But, this book is exceptional. Everything about it is well done. I feel like I’ve found invaluable information that will help me be a better artist.”
“One of the best books on painting, not just landscape painting”
Rico LeBrun / November 2009
One of the best books on painting, not just landscape painting … You can tell this is a book written by an educator with 20+ years of experience; he is able to distill fairly complex ideas into understandable concepts. For those of you who are intermediate to advanced painters, you will find yourself alternately confirming long held unspoken thoughts and finding practical solutions to the unique problems presented by painting the landscape subject. For beginners, this is a book you will read many times and continue to gain insight as you gain experience. This book is not only a “how-to” (step one, step two, etc.) but a why do. Physically the book is beautiful. In an act of humility, his examples in the book are mostly from 36 other artists, many of whom are new to me. (I look forward to finding out more about some of these artists.) We see Chatham and Shils, a couple of modern day masters as well as Payne and Pinkham. Fantastic selection. We also get a nice selection of Mitchell’s paintings, which are wonderful. The reproductions are top notch. It has been quite a while since I have seen such a book full of so much.
Addendum: It has been mentioned that this is a book for beginners. That being the case, if one were to understand and implement successfully all that is in this book, you would be well beyond a beginner.
“Best Landscape Painting Instruction Ever!”
S. Scarpa / February 5, 2010
Not only is Mitchell is a great artist, he is a generous and wonderful teacher. This book addresses all of the concerns for the landscape painter at ALL levels. There is much information discussed in this book that I have never read or heard discussed anywhere else and he communicateds it clearly. He gives other gifted artists a boost by using their work to illustrate the concepts in this book. Most artists who write art instruction books only use their own work and perhaps some old masters for this purpose. I haven’t read every book on this topic, but so far I would say that this is the BEST BOOK EVER!
Inky Thumb / Jan. 2010
This book is a blessing for the beginning, intermediate, and even advanced painter. It is thoughtful and considered. The writing style is one reason I enjoy turning to it for guidance — Albala wastes no words relating essential information, while imparting a calm, pointed knowledge. I am sure to re-read this book many times: not the case with the half dozen other contemporary “how-to” painting books that seemed rather thrown together and which I’ve wound up reading less than half of. Albala’s use of his own and other artist’s work is both inspiring and deeply instructive. Each photo is married to a caption that explains why he is using this work to illustrate the sectioned concept. These are high quality examples.
“Finally some hope for progress …”
P. Sagely / March, 2010
This book was written by someone who obviously has been teaching oil painting for some time. The writing style, the organization and the informational content is exceptional. I am a novice oil painter who has struggled with various aspects of this medium — especially in a plein air setting using the direct alla prima method. Most of my oil painting education has come from reading many, many books — yet there remained signficant impediments to my learning curve. Well, finally some hope for progress as this book addressed my particular issues like no other. It was almost as if Albala watched me struggle in one of his classes and then wrote sections of the book just for me. Even some of his sidebar helpful tips — so seemingly simple at first glance — have helped me immensely. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to become a better oil painter in particular and a better artist in general.
“A new classic in landscape painting”
Wayne Knowles, Painter / December 2009
Mitchell Albala has written a new classic in books dealing with landscape painting. I’d place it along side Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting, Composition of Outdoor Painting by Edgar Payne, Alla Prima by Richard Schmid and The Art Spirit by Robert Henri. It’s a wonderful accomplishment.
“A well conceived discussion and approach for the landscape artist”
Suzanne Burnell, Painter / December 2009
This book provides a comprehensive and thorough approach to landscape painting. For any painter wanting to improve his/her skills, this book provides a well conceived discussion and approach for the landscape artist. There are plenty of examples, demonstrations, photographs with practical and clear writing. I also loved the beauty of the book — its layout, inspirational quotes and phenomenal paintings. I’m going to enjoy this book for a long time!