This is at once a paean to the merits of gouache as well as a well-structured guide to its use in botanical painting that manages not to get caught between the two prongs of its message.
Often dismissed as “body colour” or “poster paint”, gouache is the poor relation of the water-based media, yet there is no reason for it to be taken any less seriously than acrylic, which does much the same thing. Classroom associations don’t help, something which acrylic’s late arrival on the scene has largely saved it from.
The materials and techniques sections that open the book are commendably brief and mainly confine themselves to the specifics of the subject matter in hand. The main meat is in the step-by-step projects, which are pitched more towards the capable painter than the complete beginner. There are enough stages for you to see what’s going on, but without illustrating every brushstroke, and the captions are much more detailed than is often the case, explaining both the why as well of the what in the picture. A final section looks at in situ working, which is invaluable for serious botanical artists who may wish to avoid the use of photographs. The less-committed may enjoy this, but also not feel the need to memorise it!
There has been a huge number of books on painting flowers, and maybe more on botanical painting that you think is strictly necessary, but this fills a neat and identifiable niche, demonstrating a serious application for an often-overlooked medium.
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