I’ve been aware of Jenny Wheatley’s work for almost as long as I’ve been involved with art publishing, so it comes as something of a shock to realise that this is her first book. As such, I think it’s reasonable to describe it as “long-awaited” and it’s to be hoped that it will achieve the success of the other overlooked artists that Batsford have started bringing to a wider audience.
Jenny has an assured style that relies heavily on colour, using often quite muted washes over a background tone. It’s one of those styles that’s so idiosyncratic that it’s hardly to be recommended that the amateur should try to copy it and this is, indeed, certainly not an instruction manual. However, if you’re intrigued by some truly original work and want to know more about how Jenny approaches her subjects, that’s exactly what you’ll get here. For those who want to explore further, as well as the quite detailed discussions of Jenny’s working methods, there are also several step-by-step demonstrations that show exactly how she builds up her multi-layered images.
As his name now appears on the cover, it’s worth mentioning the input of Robin Capon, who has been behind a lot of the Batsford output of recent years and provides the words that go with the pictures. It’s down to him that so many people whose talents are mainly in the visual field have turned out to be quite so articulate when it comes to be putting pen to paper.
All in all, this is a book which is going to fascinate the serious student of watercolour.