This series of introductory booklets has been throwing up some surprises of late and is in a little danger of suffering an identity crisis. The implication of the head title is that it’s aimed at the beginner, but recent additions have tended to be a little more advanced, while at the same time keeping the spirit of the simple approach. I don’t think that’s a bad thing necessarily, but there might be some confusion over who the target audience is and it could be in danger of being overlooked by the casual browser.
Tim Fisher paints in the oil style of the medium, frequently in quite a heavy impasto, a fact that’s worth knowing if that’s not your thing. The meat of the book is a series of three demonstrations, of increasing complexity, that showcase nicely what you can achieve, but this is only half of it. The rest comprises an introduction to materials that the more experienced will want to skip and some quite useful notes on tone, colour and colour mixing. There’s also a solid section on getting started which includes notes on sketching and composition.
All this is quite basic and, although the demonstrations are simply explained and comprehensively illustrated you can’t help feeling they’re quite a long way beyond the scope of anyone reading the book’s first half. It’s not that everything here isn’t massively useful, I’m just not sure that it’s useful to the same set of people. On the other hand, if you want to learn to paint flowers in acrylics (and a subject-based book in the medium is to be welcomed), this is for you.