Terry Harrison is a popular teacher and demonstrator and I don’t think it’s unfair to him to say that he has a polished act that comes across well. I don’t mean that there is anything false; simply that demonstrating is a form of theatre and, if the performance (for want of a better word) is lacklustre, the audience’s chances of learning anything are diminished. What you want is a speaker who can make important point clearly and simply, doesn’t mumble and over-speak and, at the end, produces a painting that looks worth all the effort.
To achieve this requires two main aspects. The first is a painting that the artist can reproduce pretty much with their eyes shut, as painting and talking at the same time is not easy. The second is a clear script which enunciates the important points clearly and concisely so that you really can follow, understand and, above all, remember, that little trick they have with the sky.
So, to cut to the chase, the one thing a good demonstrator has is a block of tips that they can pepper throughout a demonstration, and I’m sure everyone there just wishes they’d write them down in a book. The fact that a lot of them don’t is that they want you to have them back for more pearls of their wisdom. Write a book and haven’t you just given everything away at once? Well, yes, so there has to be something more and my guess is that this little tome will probably get Terry more bookings than he’d have had without it. It should also be said that he’s a generous teacher, which is one of the reasons he’s so popular.
What you get here for less than a tenner is 140 tips (it says so on the cover) covering everything from techniques such as mixing colour, washes and wet-in-wet to subjects like flowers, boats and skies. There are plenty of step-by-step demonstrations and the book is spiral bound so that it lies flat and you can keep it open while both your hands are occupied with painting (or even cooking, cleaning or worming the whippet, if that’s what takes your fancy). It’s fair to say that this is not a book for the advanced painter, but it has much to say both to the raw beginner and the intermediate painter who may be starting to struggle with certain aspects of their technique. Terry is a great simplifier and this is a perfect way of cutting through any mystique that may have building up and stopping you seeing the wood (literally) for the trees.
Search Press 2008