First, a word of caution: if you already have Brian’s first book, Beyond Realism, this is the same thing, but in paperback and with a new title and cover illustration. I’ve trawled the blurb and the copyright page and I can find no mention of this and that’s naughty.
Beyond Realism first appeared in 2001 and was the first really effective book on non-representational painting. One or two had appeared before (one from the same publisher actually managed to reproduce the back-cover illustration upside down, thus confirming the perpetual joke about abstraction), but they were never really aimed at the practical end of the market assuming, along with most of us, that abstracts weren’t something that were going to interest the amateur painter.
And weren’t we all wrong? Demand was huge and the first edition sold out quickly and paved the way for a regular supply of books on the subject, with sales remaining refreshingly buoyant. So has this one stood the test of time? Well, it’s all there and Brian provides demonstrations of a variety of landscapes and waterscapes that move from distorted reality to pure abstraction and he explains both the theoretical approach and the practical techniques you need. If the book has a weakness, it’s the page design which doesn’t always make the demonstrations easy to follow, but this is something you’ll overcome after a short while and the book remains one of the best introductions to this style of painting.