Travels With Watercolour || Lucy Willis

On the face of it, a painting guide aimed at the traveller sounds like a wonderful idea, a natural, a sure fire winner. After all, everyone goes on holiday and when a painter goes on holiday, they must want to paint. Surely? Well, it’s been tried and the remainder shops have been filled with them, their decaying corpses and whitening bones hanging around as an awful warning to others. It’s a desert no traveller enters willingly. No, I don’t know why they don’t work, but I suspect that most people either travel with a non-painting partner who doesn’t want to sit around all day watching paint dry, or simply want to go and do what they normally do, but just do it abroad. Or they go with an organised party and don’t need a book about it.

This one was different, a fact that is amply demonstrated by the fact that what we’re looking at here is a paperback reissue. The publisher is prepared to come back and have another go at it, and it was indeed very popular first time round. So what’s different? Well, I think the first thing, the one that stands out and screams at you is that it’s one of only two books by Lucy Willis, who is a popular, if not prolific author who has a loose, attractive style and whose handling of light is second to none. The other fact is that it’s not really an instruction manual at all, but rather a discussion of how she paints, giving as examples works from around the world, including a good selection from the UK so that there’s plenty to feel at home with.

If you’re one of Lucy’s fans, you’ll want this book – you probably already have the hardback. If you haven’t come across her, make the effort to find out more because she has a very clean, uncluttered style of painting that’s instantly attractive and will give you many ideas. You don’t have to be a seasoned traveller with one of those extended passports for all your many visas to enjoy this book. Even if you never get much further than your favourite armchair, it has a lot for you.

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