Terry Harrison’s Sea & Sky In Watercolour

Terry Harrison’s rather excellent little series on the various elements of landscape painting is beginning to resemble a partwork and you can’t help wondering when the publisher is going to stick them all together in one volume and call it “Terry Harrison’s Complete Guide to Landscape Painting”. I know I would. That said, there’s no reason to hold off and not buy the individual volumes as they appear and if they appeal. If any one of the subjects isn’t for you, well then, that’s 48 pages you haven’t bought unnecessarily.

Truth to tell, Terry probably isn’t the greatest painter in the world and I don’t think it’s likely that, in a hundred years’ time, galleries will be competing to buy examples of his work. That, however, isn’t to belittle him in any way, because it’s not what he sets out to be. Terry is, in very many ways, a born teacher (and the people whose work will be on those gallery walls will probably have taught you nothing during the lifetimes) and he’s also a very generous one, holding back very little from the reader. Like his other books, this one is filled with step-by-step demonstrations that show you exactly how to paint rocks, boats, waves, clouds and more in all the detail you could possibly want. If you have trouble painting boats that look as though they actually sit in the water and aren’t floating health-hazards, this book is worth it’s modest cover price for that alone.

I intimated that Terry has his drawbacks and there are one or two completed paintings where, frankly, I think the perspective is a bit suspect. I’m not sure that the publisher should have let him get away with a whole page illustration where the sea is running downhill towards the shore. Maybe it’s a minor niggle, because the demonstration itself is fully up to standard and has all the usual helpful details. It’s just that, if it grates, well . . . it grates and might detract from the rest of the book, which is a pity.

Overall, a worthwhile purchase that will tell you a lot for your money and increase your knowledge not inconsiderably.

First published 2007

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