The appearance of this book amply demonstrates the extent to which Anne Blockley has matured as an artist and also serves to emphasise the stature of the authoritative Artists’ Studio series from Harper Collins.
Books on texture tend to concentrate on knotty timber, weathered stone- and brick-work and craggy-featured characters. Where this one differs is that it is much more about the textures of everyday subjects and is also not so much about recording the appearance of texture as actually creating it within your work through the use of colour, contrast and granulation as well as many other effects.
Anne Blockley is very much her father’s daughter and you won’t fail to recognise where she learnt her craft, but she is by no means a clone and has a style which is recognisably her own and also recognisably not that of John Blockley, even when she (with some courage) takes on some of the landscapes that made him famous.
Anne’s work is not gentle, even when her subjects are the flowers and seed-heads that characterise a lot of her work. There’s a ruggedness that tells of life outdoors, rather than confined to the studio and her paintings are more interpretative than representational; she is closer to the former, though, than Shirley Trevena, whose Vibrant Watercolours precedes this in the series. As watercolour, this is a tour de force and is yet more proof that the medium is capable of a lot more than the demure dabblings of debutantes!
As with other volumes in the Artists’ Studio series, this isn’t a step-by-step how-to-do-it book, but rather a look at the way the artist works and a discussion, in their own words, of the way they approach both their subjects and their painting methods. If you want to get to grips with the essence of your subject and you’re prepared to roll your sleeves up, so to speak, this is a book you’ll find it hard to put down.
First published 2007