Developing Your Watercolours || David Bellamy

This was the sequel to David’s immensely successful Watercolour Landscape Course and, unlike too many follow-ups, it shows that he still had plenty to say.

David is an enthusiastic teacher who clearly wants to bring out the best in his students – rather than just show them how clever he is – and also a well-organised one. There is nothing haphazard about the presentation here or in what went before, no sense that the author painted a series of more or less random demonstrations and then let the editor shoehorn them into a series of rather generalistic chapter headings.

The basic layout follows that of the Watercolour Landscape Course and the presentation, with its highlights, breakouts and checklists, means that the central message, the narrative, remains clear and uncluttered. David starts by saying that he’s assuming a basic level of ability; he’s not repeating himself here. The book deals with subjects such as painting on location, using photographs, composition, lighting and colour and David also includes tips on exhibiting, with the clear implication that, if you work with him, you should be able to finish up with something worth showing. Throughout, there are projects and demonstrations which allow David to give free rein to his own abilities and specialisations and show what he does best and is most known for. If you’re an enthusiast for David’s work, you stand a good chance of picking up something of how he achieves it here.

As with its predecessor, this is a book which has withstood the test of time and retains a freshness which is born of its clarity of approach and David’s enthusiasm and skill.

Collins reissued 2004

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