Lessons in Classical Painting – Juliette Aristides

Title: Lessons in Classical Painting

Author: Juliette Aristides

Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications

Year: 2016

Number of Pages: 237

Available at: Amazon

Book Description

Juliette Arustudesm, a master contemporary artist and author of this informative and beautifully designed book, breaks down the process into its essential components. Through step by step lessons and stunning examples of painting from old masters to her peers, Juliette showcases traditional and fundamental techniques and principles in an easily understandable and accessible way, combined with her personal experiences and inspirational quotes, this book is perfect for beginners or more experienced artists, whatever the skill level.

About the author

Juliette Aristides is the co-founder of the DaVinci Initiative, which operates to bring and promote skill-based art instruction into public education. She is also the director of the Aristides Classical Atelier at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, Washington. Exhibition her artworks nationally in solo and group shows, her work can be seen at the Art Renewal Center Living Masters Gallery online and the John Pence Gallery in San Francisco. You can visit her website at www.AristidesArts.com


Below is a list of contents in this book and my short summary of each section:


Short introduction of Juliette’s past and her art journey.


Juliette talks about her view on painting and a short summary of the book.

Chapter 1 – Value Pattern: An Arrangement in Gray

Importance of poster studies and values in painting and its composition. Teaches you how to create value shapes.

Lessons: Learn how to mix a value scale and create a value poster study. How to create a tonal underpainting.

Chapter 2 – Form Painting: The Senses of Touch and Sight Combined

Teaches you the basic terminologies of light and shadows, the importance of good lighting on your subjects, different type of edges and how they can affect your painting. Also talks about how to use simple geometric shapes to understand more complicated form.

Lessons: Step by step value painting of a sphere and cast painting.

Chapter 3 – Temperature: Unlocking the Secrets of Color

Teaches the concept of warm and cool colours, how they can interact and affect each other. Talks about the practice of painting from life, a short history of colour palettes and introduce us to limited colour palettes. Teaches us how to adopt and extend a palette depending on the subjects we’re painting. Explains why it is important to make master copies from the old masters.

Lessons: A painting focusing on warm and cool colours. A painting using a limited palette. A painting using techniques that creates the ‘Trompe L’Oeil’ effect. A master copy painting process.

Chapter 4 – Color: The Palette of Nature

Teaches the basic terminologies of colours, such as hue, value, chroma, temperature. Talks about the colour wheel and how to mix various colour schemes and their application. A short introduction to understanding paint names.

Lessons: A painting using a full-colour palette with intense coloured objects. A flower painting using a colour wash underpainting technique. A figure painting from life.


A note of encouragement

My review

I enjoyed reading through this book, Juliette explains concepts in a very easy to understand way and in certain parts of the book she goes into the more philosophical areas of art and the process of painting. I also really like her writing style, unlike other strictly instructional drawing or painting books, this book is very informative yet intriguing to read, I found myself looking forward to continuing reading this book. I usually read through art books once first, then I’ll read it the second time and try out the exercises in them. The classes contain step by step painting processes by Juliette and other artists to show different techniques or ideas taught in the book. This is one of those art books that make me really want to try out the exercises in them. I will be going through them during my free time and I will update my progress on another post once I’ve gone through them.  The book also contains many paintings from various paintings to further illustrated points talked about in the book.

Interested? Get the book now!

If you’re interested in Lessons in Classical Painting, you may also be interested in its companion book Lessons in Classical Drawing.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this review. If you buy the book using the links I’ve provided I get a small commission which helps me keep making reviews like this.

Here are some of my other book reviews that you may be interested in:


10 Responses

  1. I really love this book, I got it 2 years ago. This book is my go to studio book for sure! I really love the eloquent writing of the style of the author. Brilliant artworks sprawl throughout the pages together with quotes to inspire and also encourage. The author, Juliette Aristides, gives the reading several different projects to go about painting throughout the book, and each one building on the last. It’s a very lovely book.

    1. Thankyou! I like her writing style very much, can’t wait to go through the exercises and read some of her other books too!

  2. Juliette Aristides is a very good writer as well as a visual artist. It present people aspiring to become artists, that fundamental skill and some tools needed to them to become professional in painting in the atelier style. Its a very resourceful book and there are many things to be learnt in it, she added some inspirational quotes and examples of technical issues through her own 24-25 years of experience. Its a very educating post, I love it.

  3. This post is very interesting for me because I have to admit I have never been a fan of the abstract art movement and there was a time when for some reason it became even more popular than classical or what I call real painting, these realistic painting are full of life and feeling, I would simply love to learn how to paint like this and I would love to read Juliette Aristides book, thank you for sharing this post. 

  4. This Book can be a good choice for those who are interested in Painting.Unfortunately I am not into Painting nor have I talent and ability to pursue this amazing Art(so sad!), However since I am looking for tools and books in this regard to give them as gift to my nephew for her birthday, today I came across this blog and am so glad to read your nice post. I will definitely go for it and of course will share your review to all my friends. Thank You

  5. Very short and sweet review on the book. I have been looking for many reviews on the book and some are to long to read but yours really makes it quick and easy to read. Painting is something I do in my spare time and this book is somewhat a way to express my art in a different way. Not only with a picture but with a feel an meaning to it.

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