Joe Dowden is widely renowned as a teacher and demonstrator and his experience flows out of every page of this book. Subtitled “how to paint 50 beautiful landscapes in watercolour”, it’s a quick canter through just about every type of subject you could wish for. At this pace, there isn’t time to hang around for long and each one only gets a single double-page spread; if it’s a detailed, structured course you’re looking for, then this probably isn’t it. Nonetheless, Joe packs a lot into a small space and he is adept at picking on the key points, explaining and illustrating them clearly.
Joe’s work may not reek with originality, but there’s a comfort about it, a sense of place and of reality – you can believe that every one of these locations does actually exist – and that provides a painting that the viewer, too, can believe in. Painting is, as much as anything else, about presentation and Joe gets this right every time.
This is a book which is mostly going to appeal to those who have acquired some basic painting skills and are wanting to progress with landscapes and it offers quick results that can only help build confidence. Most people in this position are going to feel quite happy if they can paint like Joe (and this is not to put either them, or him, down); he has an achievable style that you feel you can work towards and, by not getting bogged down in detail, he’ll keep you with him all the way.
David & Charles 2007