Are you interested in learning how to paint in a realistic fashion, but not slavishly photo-realistic? Julie Hanson's new book Fire and Light, published by Schiffer, is gorgeous, encouraging, and very very contemporary in feel.
Julie wanted to develop a more immediate approach to oil painting, one that replaced traditional tonal underpaintings with what she calls "temperature painting." She shows you how to build a double primary palette (a warm and a cool) of the three primaries, and how to create your earth tones and neutrals from it as well as your secondaries and tertiaries.
The first half of the book covers basic skills with oil paints and how to use color to build form. There are helpful charts for those who work with watercolor or acrylics...yes, we can do this style too!
Part two of the book takes you step-by-step through temperature painting and shows you many many examples of both Julie's and her students' work. Very inspiring indeed. Although I don't do any realistic painting myself, I ended up reading every word and learning an awful lot more than I expected to. If you are interested in realism...don't delay getting a hold of this book!