The Watercolour A-Z Of Trees & Foliage || Adelene Fletcher

A renowned and popular teacher in the Surrey and Hampshire areas, Adelene Fletcher’s acclaim spread wider when she stared to appear in print.

This, her fourth book, is now available in paperback and was the successor to her excellent Watercolour Flower Painter’s A-Z. Not all that many books appear on painting trees and one of the best was Adrian Hill’s little drawing guide published by Blandford Press many years ago. The volume in question, although larger and more ambitious, is a worthy successor to that little gem.

One of the problems facing anyone planning a book of this type is that most artists don’t want to paint specific trees in the way that they might a flower. What they really want is to incorporate trees in the population of a landscape and have them look realistic and at the same time not to be too fussy and overworked. The trouble is that, although this is an art in itself, there isn’t really a book in it. Most books on landscape will have a go at trees, but the authors usually confines themselves to one general type and that’s all very well, but you do need a bit of variety or someone will think you’ve gone out and bought a rubber stamp!

I think that what makes this book work, in the end, is the fact that each example never extends beyond a double-page spread. That’s plenty for someone who isn’t making a lifetime’s study of an individual tree and it provides enough space to cover the basic shape in leaf and some foliage and flower or fruit details and a colour chart. Each section is completed with a further spread showing the species illustrated in a full-size painting, which will more than satisfy those who do want a little more detail.

The book covers 24 species, but you will find that some will be more familiar than others. The book is designed to have a market in the UK and the USA so each will have to look at some more exotic collections to be able to find every variety covered. This also means that you need to know which are your own native species or some of your woodlands might look a little, well, specialist, if an arboriculturalist starts looking to closely.

If you have even a passing interest in trees and you care about how you paint them, there’s much in this book of value and interest.

First published in paperback 2006

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