I had not read anything by Juliette Aristedes, but ran across her book “Classical Painting Atelier: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Studio Practice” in a bookstore while on a business trip this week. As the title suggests, it is oriented toward the kinds of information presented in a modern classical painting school, generally known as an atelier, after the 19th century system of professional French art instruction.
I don’t personally find Aristedes’ work to be particularly compelling, but this is a very nice book. She mixes instruction on art history, methods, procedures, and historical teaching methods with suggested exercises and excellent reproductions of paintings by great masters of the past. Additionally, she provides brief profiles of modern artists who use classical painting methods, such as Jacob Collins, Daniel Sprick, Steven Assael, Andrew Wyeth, and Tony Ryder. Aristedes has a broad education in art and a gift for lucid, thoughtful explanation. Her focus is far less on materials and methods (although these subjects are touched on) than on composition, use of color, selection of subject matter, and other issues related to bringing an artistic vision to effective fruition.