Writings on various aspects of painting, theoretical and practical. Click on the links to read online.


Concerning the “Mechanical Parts of Painting” and the Artistic Culture of 17th-Century France, by Donald Posner

The Aesthetic of the Sketch, by Nicole Myers, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

Tracing Shadows: Reflections on the Origins of Painting, by Hagi Kenaan

Tradition and the Individual Talent, by T.S. Eliot

Cezanne’s Doubt, by Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Eye and Mind, by Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Our Landscape: Paint It or Lose It, by Alain Botton

Seeing, by Annie Dillard (from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

The Technical Aspects of Degas’ Art, by Theodore Reff

Learning from Poussin, by Richard Wollheim from a conversation with Leon Kossof

Colour Study: A Brief Introduction to the Hensche Approach to Colour Study, compiled by G.T. Thurmond

Two Ways of Seeing a River, by Mark Twain

Formal Analysis, by Marjorie Munsterberg; Saylor Foundation

Pictorial Cues in Art and In Visual Perception, by David Melcher and Patrick Cavanaugh

The Painter of Modern Life, by Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)

Some Notes on Organic Form, by Denise Levertov (1965)


John Sargent, by Evan Charteris, 1927

The Art of Portrait Painting, by John Collier, 1905

Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Artists: Vol. 1: Corot, by Elbert Hubbard, 1902.

A Giacometti Portrait, by James Lord

The Training of the Memory in Art, by Lecoq de Boisbaudran, 1802-1897

The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Color, 1860, by Michel Eugene Chevreul, 1786-1889

Learning to Look, by Joshua Taylor

Free e-books from Art is Creation (


The Luminous Brush: Painting with Egg Tempera, by Altoon Sultan,

Composition, by Arthur Wesley Dow, 1857-1922

Methods & Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Masters, Sir Charles Eastlake

Distemper, by Jenna Hannum

Oil Painting Thoughts and Ideas (Blue Ridge Oil Colors)

Robert Gamblin: Navigating Color Space

The Painter in Oil, by Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst, 1898 (student of Bougereau)

The Painter’s Palette and How To Master It, by Bolton Brown, 1913

The Practice of Oil Painting, by Solomon J. Solomon, 1914

The Painter’s Palette: A Theory of Tone Relations, by Denman Ross, 1919 (Fairfield Porter’s teacher)

On Drawing and Painting, by Denman Ross


Notes on Color and Painting, by Ken Kewley

Norman Turner Writings

Edwin Dickinson, Interview with Dorothy Seckler, 1962

Fairfield Porter

Matisse on Art , (Matisse in his own words, from the book Matisse on Art, by Jack Flamm)

Between Earth & Sky, by Stuart Shils

How Do You Learn to be An Artist?, by Mercedes Matter

What Have We Made of the Landscape, by Rackstraw Downes

What the Sixties Meant to Me, by Rackstraw Downes

Words on Art, by Alan Feltus

Alberti On Painting (1435)

Joshua Reynolds: Discourses on Art (1769-90)

Painterly Representation, by Louis Finklestein

Robert D’Arista: Notes

The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh

The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci

The Reilly Papers

William Morris Hunt (1824-1879): Talks About Art


A Fable of Modern Art, by Dore Ashton

Laurus Nobilis: Chapters on Art and Life, by Violet Paget (Vernon Lee), 1856-1935


Art of the Western World

Voice of the Shuttle

Memoirs of the Early Italian Painters, by Anna Jameson, 1890

Women in the Fine Arts: From the Seventh Century B.C. to the Twentieth Century A.D., by Clara Erskine Clement, 1905


Lovis Corinth, 1858-1925

Memoirs of Madame Vigee-Lebrun, 1755-1842


The Unknown Masterpiece, by Honore Balzac

Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Marie Rilke


Observation and Invention: The Space of Desire.   Exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, January 21-April 6, 2014. Curated by Scott Noel.

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