Fiona’s in her element with this intriguing and exciting book. I’m glad to have finally laid my hands on a finished copy. The first proofs I saw were quite low-resolution and didn’t do justice in any way to what are some very subtle images that exploit the possibilities of pencils, colour sticks, ink, watercolour, acrylic and gouache to the full.
There’s a very nice progression from the properties of the various materials – you do need to know what to use when – and experimenting with them. Fiona then moves quickly on to “the creative journey”, which shows you how to use various materials for pictorial effect. What I particularly like about the book is the fact that there are no technical exercises that are there just for their own sake; everything finishes up in a painting that captures the elements of the scene and has you thinking, “you’re right, no other medium could have done that.” If you’re familiar with the lavender fields at Snowshill in the Cotswolds, you’ll know how, although they demand representation, they’re really tricky to capture convincingly. “For this panoramic painting, bold pigment was drawn onto the paper, then sprayed with clean water and left to settle into the surface.” The result is an assault of colour, exactly as you get in life, but with little attempt at detail. It’s exactly the way to go about it, I now know.
The book is full of ideas, projects, hints and tips, demonstrations and simple wisdom. It’s a real feast of painting and of imagination and should open up a world of possibilities.
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