Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Refuge at Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

A Refuge at Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky is the next novel set at Highland Hall by this author.  It is the spring of 1915 and war has broken out all over the world especially the world that affects the Ramsey family.  Kate and Dr. Jonathan Foster are planning their next baby as well as raising 8 orphan children.  Kate's sister, Penny, has left Highland Hall to join them in London and help raise the children.  Jon is getting busier and busier in the war effort and Kate is relying on Penny more and more with the household duties as well as childcare.   When Jon brings Alex to the tea that Kate and Penny are helping put on for the soldier Penny wonders if he might be the one.  Penny has just had her heart broken by her last suitor and doesn't think she is ready for a new love but feels herself drawn to the quiet and kind young man.  Alex for his part is a young pilot trying to prove his worth in the army as well as lead the new fight in the sky to defend England and the world from the dangerous new Zeppelins that enemy is using against them in this war.  Kate and Penny decide after the London bombings that they must return home to Highland Hall with their large family in order to be more safe while Jon is gone away to the war.

It is hard for us now to imagine a time when airplanes were a new thing in war or otherwise.  We have gotten used to using them for everyday transportation now.  This novel takes the reader back in time to when the world was first torn apart by world wide war.  It is said that life was simpler back then but in many many ways much tougher to live.  Get acquainted with the lives of the Ramsey's family in this book.  I enjoyed meeting the family and learning some of the happenings of World War I.  I think that this novel would be good reading for any woman or older girl.

I received this book from Multnomah Books for this review.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting by Suzanne Brooker

The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting by Suzanne Brooker is a book walking through how to translate what you see in nature to what you paint with oils onto canvas.  She shows through pictures and words how to use the differing brushes/knives for painting the different techniques.  She also is not afraid to tell brands to buy for the best techniques as well as how to use up some of the lower quality paint that you may already have on hand.  This may be one of the most valuable information tidbits in the book.  Beginners can spend so much trying to save money when buying a more expensive product that works better would be cheaper.  Thank you for not trying to not hurt manufacturers feelings Ms. Brooker.   We beginners need that much help.  The author walks the reader through techniques for painting sky, terrain, trees and water in order to paint them more lifelike and less one dimensional.  The author has pictures in the book showing a photograph then shows the progress of putting it on canvas.  She also tells how not to try to make it just like the photo but to make it better and states that photos also have their drawbacks that can be improved on in the painting.  She uses her own illustrations but also uses other artist illustrations to show the techniques that she is trying to teach.  The book is absolutely filled with pictures to simplify the teaching of the technique including how to hold the brush in your hand.  This is a book to read from beginning to end however since she builds one chapter onto the former chapter.  It may sound like this is a book for beginners to read from the former chapter but I truly believe that the reader should have taken at least a few face to face classes in order to make this book the most usable and readable if for no other reason to be used to the terminology, tools and products of painters. 
I really liked this book and as a beginner (who has taken a few classes) I could easily read and put to use the techniques. This book is easy to understand without being childlike.  I think that this book would be useful for most beginners and the techniques shown would improve the work of any skilled artist as well.  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.