This is an interesting bind-up, as the publisher has chosen to attempt a comprehensive manual on flower painting by taking complementary sections from several previous books.
On balance, I’d say that it works. I tend to be wary of this sort of approach because, all too often, it looks like a scissors and paste job, and shoe-horning together stuff that was never intended to be more than a chapter requires time and skill. I’m therefore pleased to say that this seems to have been overcome and that it’s not at all easy to see the joins.
One of the reasons, I think, is that there’s been no attempt at democracy – all the authors are not equally represented so, if you think you’re getting four for the price of one, you’re not. This is a book that stands on its own and is all the better for that.
Having more than one author can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you get the best approach for each section; on the other, you get a lack of continuity. Flicking quickly through, however, doesn’t reveal any great changes of style and I suspect that this again comes down to the choice of material and perhaps also to the production – maybe the colours were more markedly different in the original books (I can’t say for sure), but they have a consistency here.
As for what you get, the book is mostly a series of exercises and demonstrations. For once, I could maybe have wished for a little more on materials and basic techniques at the beginning – this is meant to be for the beginner, after all.