As you might expect, Peter is a member of the Pure Watercolour Society and this is a hymn to the medium.. Forewords by David Curtis and David Bellamy should leave you in no doubt about how good it is.
My first question on opening the book was: what is “pure” watercolour and how does it differ from any other kind? Peter helpfully enlightens us: “One may suspect that there is perhaps more to good painting than a huge toolkit, and it may be possible to take simple tools and use them well. This concept and approach to painting are at the heart of pure watercolour”. Put kindly, I take that to mean that simplicity is always best and that you should work with your imagination and media rather than your tools; they’re not what makes a painting, you do.
In the wrong hands, this could come across as a fundamentalist rant, but Peter lets his brushes do the talking and the work here is simply extraordinary. If he wasn’t such a good explainer and demonstrator, you could easily be put off by his virtuosity. As it is, follow his advice carefully and you’ll stand a very good chance of finishing this book a much better painter then when you started.
Watercolour is, as I think we all know, a very special medium. It’s one that does sometimes seem to have a mind of its own and is nowhere near as controllable as the opaque ones. The skill is to work with that and to learn ways of encouraging it to do what you want rather than trying to wrestle it into submission and merely working against it. Handle a wash sensitively, know when colours are going to bleed and blend and large sections will almost complete themselves.
Peter explains much about the properties of watercolour and the techniques you’ll need. He also demonstrates extensively and these paintings will show you how to produce some really quite advanced work.
It’s a bit of a tour de force.
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