Complete Course books have always been a bit of a mixed blessing, especially in the more specialised market which tends to demand something a bit more tailored to specific styles or subjects. There a lot of similar complete beginners’ guides which are a slightly different category but nevertheless offer a useful introduction, allowing the reader to experience as many different styles of painting as possible before deciding what suits them best.
However, when you get a complete course from John Raynes, you sit up and take notice. John is a respected painter and an experienced author and his many books have been well received and are valuable additions to the canon of practical art literature. He has a fairly loose style which may not appeal to everyone – and I think would specifically not be hugely helpful to a beginner – but it’s one which conceals a great degree of artifice and technical ability and he can be absolutely precise on detail when he needs to be.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this as something for a beginner but, if you’ve got a bit of experience – or even, it has to be said, a lot of experience – and you’re looking for the elusive next stage, John has much to tell you., both about the practice of handling paint as well as the treatment of a wide variety of subject matter.
First published in 2004, this is a welcome reissue in paperback.
Batsford reissued 2008