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Nymphs and Satyr, by William Bouguereau (Detail)
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A Word from the Chairman of the Art Renewal Center

The Painter in Oil has become one of the most sought after books on technique and the science of painting. Around the western world, as artists desperately try to reconstruct the knowledge of how to paint great traditional works, this book has been a beacon of light through the stormy seas of a 20th century art world that dismissed all training, craftsmanship and human subject matter. A student of William Bouguereau, Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst was in the unique place at the right time to capture for posterity the methods of this greatest master of the human form in all of art history. We are very proud here at the Art Renewal Center to offer this rare treatise free of charge to the world through the technology of the internet.
- Fred Ross, Chairman, Art Renewal Center



CHAPTER I: GENERAL OBSERVATIONS

There is a false implication in the saying that "a poor workman blames his tools." It is not true that a good workman can do good work with bad tools. On the contrary, the good workman sees to it that he has good tools, and makes it a part of his good workmanship that they are in good condition.


CHAPTER II: CANVASES AND PANELS

You should have plenty of canvas on hand, and it would be well if you had it all stretched ready to use. Many a good day's work is lost because of the time wasted in getting a canvas ready. It is not necessary to have many kinds or sizes. It is better in fact to settle on one kind of surface which suits you, and to have a few practical sizes of stretchers which will pack together well, and work always on these. You will find that by getting accustomed to these sizes you work more freely on them. You can pack them better, and you can frame them more conveniently, because one frame will always do for many pictures. Perhaps there is no one piece of advice which I can give you which will be of more practical use outside of the principles of painting, than this of keeping to a few well-chosen sizes of canvas, and the keeping of a number of each always on hand.

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Stretchers.



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Double-pointed
Tack.




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Canvas Pliers.
CHAPTER III: EASELS

The important thing in an easel is that it should be steady and firm; that it should hold the canvas without trembling; and so that it will not fall as you paint out towards the edges. You often paint with a heavy hand, and you must not have to hold on to your picture with one hand and paint with the other. Nothing is more annoying than a poor easel, and nothing will give you more solid satisfaction, than the result of a little generosity in paying for a good one. The ideal thing for the studio is, of course, the great "screw easel," which is heavy, safe, convenient, and expensive. We would like to have one, but we can't afford it, so we won't speak of it. The next best thing is an ordinary easel which doesn't cost a great deal, but which is firm and solid and practical. Don't get one of various three-legged folding easels which cost about seventy-five cents or a dollar. They tumble down too often and too easily. The wear and tear on the temper they cause is more than they are worth. It is true that they fold up out of the way. But they fold up when you don't expect them to; and you ought to be able to afford room enough for an easel anyway, if you paint at all.

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Easel.


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Easel.


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Sketching Easel.


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Sketching Easel.
CHAPTER IV: BRUSHES

An old brush that has been properly cared for is generally better than a new one. It seems to have accommodated itself to your way of painting, and falls in with your peculiarities. It is astonishing how attached you get to your favorite brushes, and how loath you are to finally give them up. What if you have no others to take their places?

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Red Sable.
Round.




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Red Sable.



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Red Sable.
Flat.




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Round Bristle.



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Flat Bristle.



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Flat Pointed.



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Fan.