Watercolour In Bloom: Painting The Spring And Summer Garden || Mary Backer

OK, this isn’t the best book of flower painting I’ve ever seen. Some of the compositions are a little contrived (though, as pictures for the art buyer as opposed to practitioner, I’d suspect they’re very attractive) and some of the flower details are strangely flat and almost two-dimensional. Somewhere, the recession just doesn’t quite work.

However, taken overall, as a piece, the book is hard to fault. With 15 demonstrations of flower-types most painters will have encountered (and, because this is an American book, that’s a point worth noting), there’s something for everyone and plenty to get your teeth into. The demonstrations also run to 3 or 4 pages each, which gives plenty of room for step by step details and explanations. Before the individual flower lessons, Anne offers a lot of detailed information on techniques including washes, glazing, backgrounds and so on.

Because of the slightly quirky nature of some of the illustrations, I’d hesitate to recommend this as a book for the beginner and, because of the amount of basic instruction, the more experienced painter might find it a little too elementary. Does this mean it falls between two stools, then? Well, it might, but I also think that it’s a book you’re either going to love or ignore. Try to find it in a shop, have a good look through and then decide which camp you fall into.

North Light 2007


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