Rendering the visual effect of texture effectively is one of the most important skills an artist can have. Just as a landscape has depth and recession or a single object such as a flower has a three-dimensional structure, so all subjects have surface detail that goes toward defining their character and the way they appear. Without texture, anything painted will look flat and lifeless.
A lot of books on texture have tended to concentrate on the dramatic or on texture for its own sake: weathered wood or metal, lined faces, peeling paint, that kind of thing. What Tony Paul does is to look at the textures of everyday items, things which, initially, you might say had no texture at all or are painted using techniques where the detail of the texture is not recorded in any detail. He shows how, even in a simple line and wash, there can be a difference between a vibrant rendition and something that is flat and lifeless. Generally, however, the theme is that the effect of texture, rather than necessarily the detail of it, needs to be caught in things like clothing, skin tones, flowers and even landscapes.
The book is divided in eight sections, each covering texture in a different type of subject. The first chapter is a general introduction to painting techniques. This is well done and worth going through even if you are an experienced painter, although the basics are covered very similarly in most other books. Following chapters then cover landscapes, still life, portraits, marine subject, buildings and animals, with a final look at textures in abstract art where a literal added dimension can be brought in.
Overall, this is a thorough look at a subject which is often over-looked or over-egged. All the main media are covered and the illustrations are by a variety of contemporary painters as well as Tony Paul himself.
Year published: 2005
List price: £14.99