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Beneath the Surface: The Making of Paintings
by Philippa Abrahams
192 pages
Publisher: Frances Lincoln: November 2008
ISBN: 071122756X
Hardcover, $45.00

One can't help but warm to an author who finds delight in spending a twenty-hour day painting in that most demanding grand medium, fresco, or who admits to finding a possible solution to the lost art of creating the tiny realistic gems in 16th-century miniature portraits through an accident in the kitchen. Anyone who appreciates the workings of things, how the humble facts of physicality of pigments and the construction of brushes, the slaking of lime and the touch of a silverpoint pen, form the underpinnings of the art we see--in plain view, and yet unappreciated for what they are--will enjoy this book. Abrahams begins with the materials of drawing, that necessary foundation, and moves through painting media and methods ancient and modern, from the manuscript illumination of the Middle Ages to contemporary acrylics. Lavishly illustrated with examples of in-progress demonstration by the author.

--Katherine R. Lieber

Katherine R. Lieber has edited ArtScope.net's Visual Arts reviews since 1998. Ms. Lieber is Editor and Associate Producer for ArtScope.net.

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