It’s nice to see that this well-conceived series is at last branching out from watercolour.
I don’t think it’s being unfair to Charles Evans to say that his work is probably not going to find its way onto too many walls other than his own and that he’s unlikely to be troubling the fine art dealers much. In the present context, though, that isn’t the point. Charles is a competent painter and many aspiring amateurs would be well pleased to be able to emulate him. He is also very good at explaining what he does, the mark of someone who has had to learn their craft rather than having acquired it instinctively. There’s an old adage that says that “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach”. This is a calumny against teachers because doing and teaching are completely different skills and the greatest practitioners or minds often make the worst teachers because they’ve never had to try to understand what it is they do. The best teacher has a reasonable amount of ability, but has had to work to build on that and, as a result, knows the processes and pitfalls faced by a learner.
Anyway, that little rant out of the way, what do you get here? Well, the by now familiar Ready to Paint layout with five pre-drawn images you can trace onto your own paper and then complete by following the very detailed step-by-step instructions that accompany them. Yes, it’s an advanced form of painting by numbers, but it frees the beginner from the tyranny of the blank page and allows them to concentrate on the use of paint rather than also having to shape the image at the same time. Does it work? Well, the success of the books does rather suggest that it does. Successful results tend to breed confidence and enthusiasm and it’s better to have a bit of hand-holding at this early stage than to plod on against discouragement and unsatisfactory work. Of course you should try to break away from the pre-drawn sketch as soon as you can, but when and how is up to you.