I notice that I had reservations about the reproduction in Anna’s previous book. I’m pleased to say that the same does not apply here and this is, indeed, an absolute delight.
The basis of the book is a series of natural subjects: birds, animals, flowers, leaves and fruit and, in each of the demonstrations, Anna shows you how to build up colour and details in layers. An added feature is the oversize final illustration which allows you to see the brushwork in considerable detail; this is where the quality of reproduction really counts. Any unsharpness here would render the book useless.
This is one of Search Press’s larger format offerings and they’ve made good use of the real estate by providing space on the pages and allowing quite a lot of white paper. The result is an overall feeling of lightness that’s enhanced by the rather surprising number of pictures of the author painting in a sunlit garden. Are these absolutely necessary: unequivocally, no. Do they intrude or detract from the content: again, no. In fact, I think they actually add to the overall experience by providing a warmth and lightness and a sense of Anna’s presence in the text.
The sense I get from the book is of a pleasant afternoon spent with a congenial companion and teacher. There are the demonstrations I’ve mentioned already, but also more general advice on technique, composition, form, structure and style – how naturalistic do you want to be?
In this respect, the book is absolutely sound and, although I’ve made quite a lot of the overall experience, the quality of the instruction, which is what ultimately matters, is of the best.
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