There are big changes happening now in the world, although in most cases the new forms and expressions are just beginning to emerge. The global response to climate change is creating a new awareness that many of the ways of living we have taken for granted are ultimately destructive to our well being. Besides the obvious changes seen in electric cars and solar power, there are more subtle changes such as ethically sourced worker-friendly vegan shoes and clothing now becoming popular in Europe. Part of this “wave” of new awareness can be seen in the art world, where artists are becoming aware the materials they use may not match their expressed belief in the well being of other people and planet earth. This new book by Kimberly Brooks is directly in line with the idea that the materials we use in creativity and painting reflect the ethical stance we have in the world. Simply stated, it is contradictory to paint beautiful affirmations of life when we are using toxic chemicals and pigments coming from mines where workers are abused.
The New Oil Painting does not claim to be a technical summary of methods and materials used by famous historical painters and great masters. Instead, it takes a straightforward approach to the basics of solvent-free painting, assuming the reader wants to start painting immediately. The book does not veer off into a dogmatic hard-line approach where ranges of materials are off limits to any artist. Instead, the author shares her experiences and opinions with substances, based on years of experimentation, by including a “but also consider” with most of her observations. Her fundamental premise is that you can begin to paint safely and effectively today, using oil and paint from the tube.
Without a doubt, Kimberly Brooks’ New Oil Painting, is the first of a series of publications and opinions that take artists away from the toxic and destructive practices of the past, and into a new creative era where the way we paint reflects the way we wish to bring new life, hope and beauty into a world where issues of health, ethical consumption, and global change are the central challenges of survival.