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Tips from a Vermont artist

Reading through Sketching Outdoors in Spring (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, $11.75, ages 12 and up) is a little like prowling around the Vermont countryside with its artist-author Jim Arnosky, peering over his shoulder as he sits down to draw whatever catches his attention, and listening to him talk about it as he works. It's very refreshing. Mr. Arnosky has put into print some of the joy and inspiration he gets from his natural surroundings, along with occasional practical artistic advice.

His drawings are accurate and pleasing, as is his text.

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What specific practical use urban or western readers might make of it is difficult to assess, however, since their surroundings and opportunities are so different from the New England scenes described here.

A few of his drawing tips might prove handy, but there are better books available with wider applicability for teaching young artists how to draw from nature.

However, Arnosky goes out in all weather with the simplest possible drawing kit, which ought to encourage his readers to do the same.

They will undoubtedly have their rewards, just as he does - if not in as excellent drawings, at least in fun, challenge, and awareness of the world that is going on around them.

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