Archive for category Author: Arnold Lowrey
I don’t normally review reissues, but Search Press have been making such a good job of them lately that these two are definitely worth a mention. Although they’re 10 years old (gold star for mentioning the original publication date on the title page), they’ve been completely re-edited and re-originated so that they have all the feel and quality of new books. Printing technology advances so quickly that what was cutting edge last week can look tired and a bit unsharp now. As regards design, it’s hard to put a finger on what’s different in modern terms, or even why it looks so much better, but these have a sparkle and vitality to them that belies their albeit modest age. Given how hard it is to unpick something that was perfectly good in the first place, this is an amazing job.
The approach is the same in both books: an introduction with an overview of the subject in hand, materials, equipment and basic techniques, leading on to a series of demonstrations that illustrate a variety of landscape subjects. As primers for those new to both the medium and to painting itself, the work is first class and definitely worth keeping in print. The fact that a book is older doesn’t mean it can’t have appeal to a whole new audience. I’d say, though, that even if you have the originals, these new versions are well worth a look.
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Watercolour Landscapes step-by-step || Geoff Kersey, Wendy Jelbert, Arnold Lowrey, Barry Herinman, Ray Campbell Smith and Joe Francis Dowden
This is another of Search Press’s bind-ups of previous material and I’m still not sure whether I’ve reviewed it before or not – or maybe in a slightly different guise. They’ve got very good at this latterly and, rather than obvious joins where one book ends and another begins, the whole thing is now seamless.
The material may not be new, but it’s still sound and the reproduction is as fresh as it ever was, so this isn’t resurrecting a corpse but bringing excellent material to a potential new audience at a very affordable price.
As well as some technical pieces on things like perspective and composition, demonstrations from popular authors cover trees, water, snow, buildings and so on (and on). If you have other books by these authors, you’d need to check for duplication but, equally, there’s so much here, you probably won’t be getting too much cross-over.
If you only have a small library and are on a budget into the bargain, you could do a great deal worse than invest in this.
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Handbook of Watercolour Tips and Techniques || Arnold Lowrey, Wendy Jelbert, Geoff Kersey, Barry Herniman
I don’t normally review bind-ups as I’ve usually covered the individual volumes previously. Sometimes, though, there’s a particular reason: the single books are no longer available, the anthology is particularly good value or maybe there’s some kind of health warning.
This one falls into the latter category. Be aware that this particular collection has appeared previously, but in a larger format. If you’ve already got a similar sounding book by the same four authors, don’t assume that this is more in the same vein, it’s the same thing.
I have to confess that the reason for issuing it in a half-size format eludes me and there doesn’t seem to have been any change of layout either, they’ve just shrunk the pages so that, unless you have 20:20 vision or some very strong reading glasses, you’re going to struggle with it. It’s also quite heavy and you need to break the spine in order to see the whole of each page properly. Even then, it’s a bit of a wrestle to get it to lie flat.
If you want Arnold Lowrey on starting to paint, Wendy Jelbert on working from sketch to painting, Geoff Kersey on perspective, depth and distance and Barry Herniman on mood and atmosphere, go for the full-size compilation, which appears to be still available. It’s a bit more, but it’s worth it.
Once again, this series hits the spot with an uncomplicated guide to painting those landscape elements that prevent your pictures from being just a flat horizon. Arnold paints in a fairly loose style that concentrates on portraying shapes and shading rather than intricate detail so that hills and mountains remain part of the landscape rather than subjects in themselves. As ever, the book features five detailed step by step demonstrations for which outline tracings are provided so that you don’t have to get bogged down in the initial drawing. If you don’t need these, however, the book stands up perfectly well and you’ll find many useful tips that will give your work substance and depth.
For more on this excellent series, follow the link below.
This substantial tome packs an enormous amount of information into its 376 pages and covers basic techniques, sketching, perspective and mood & atmosphere. As such, it’s a sound course which will admirably suit those who are at an early stage in learning to paint and provides pretty much all the information they will need in order to progress. It also takes a lot of the head-scratching out of deciding which books to buy and an investment of twenty quid here is not only a solid one, but should also save money in the long run.
If you’re already a committed book buyer, though, have a careful look at the contents because this is not new material, but rather a bind-up of 4 titles which have already appeared in the similarly-named Search Press series. If you’ve already got some of these, be careful you aren’t duplicating. At twenty pounds for four books that, separately, would cost you ten pounds each, though, you can’t fault it for value.
Quite a lot of though has gone into the selection of material and the ordering of it, beginning with Arnold Lowrey’s excellent beginner’s guide (Starting to Paint) that covers all of the basics and goes on to look at techniques for capturing a variety of subjects including landscapes, seascapes, buildings and figures. Wendy Jelbert then covers the use of a sketchbook to make notes for later studio work, Geoff Kersey looks at the tricky subject of perspective and makes it easy to understand. Finally, Barry Herniman handles mood and atmosphere and shows you how to interpret your subject and use colour and brushwork to portray it in two dimensions.
If you want an introduction to painting, either for yourself or as a gift, you won’t go far wrong with this.
Search Press 2007
When they first appeared, acrylics were going to be the answer to everything and no one was ever going to paint with anything else. For the professional artist, they offer the great attraction of fairly brilliant colours which immediately attract the eye, a variety of methods of application and quick drying times which means a “paint it today, sell it tomorrow” approach is possible.
After the initial rush of enthusiasm, the problems that these same qualities can cause for the amateur became apparent. That quick drying time became a millstone as paint literally dried in the brush and proved impossible to wash off. A lot of people lost a lot of brushes and acrylics became a dirty word. Fortunately, the manufacturers didn’t give up and modern slow-drying formulations and retarder mediums allow working practices which are similar to those familiar for oils and watercolour.
For the general painter, the main attraction of acrylics is their versatility. As happy in a thin wash as a thick impasto, they can be used on paper or canvas and, with wider colour ranges, can virtually supplant oils and gouache. In his introduction to this handy guide, Arnold Lowrey says that, having discovered the medium, he used nothing else for ten years.
With people coming back to acrylics, a number of painting guides have appeared in recent years and this is one of the best and most comprehensive. Its strength is that it’s not a guide to using acrylics, but to painting in acrylics – the medium itself is secondary to the creative process.
The book begins with the by-now familiar formula of a guide to materials and mixing and using colour. Just about every book does it and every author has, or believes they have, their own approach. A lot of people have said they really don’t need all this all over again and, if you leave it out, a lot more will complain that they can’t follow what the author is saying because they don’t know what brushes he uses. So, let’s just say that it’s done concisely here and that you can skip it if you want to. On the other hand, there might be something you hadn’t thought of before, so give it a glance, eh?
After a chapter on Getting Started, which deals with the business of acrylics, what they are and what you need to know that applies specifically to this medium, the book is made up of 6 demonstration paintings, each of which is fully explained and copiously illustrated with step-by-step photographs. Each one covers a different aspect of painting, from the watercolour techniques (thin washes) to impasto (the “oils” method) through to mixed techniques, glazing and the use of pastes and gels.
It’s in this approach that the book lives up to its title: it’s Painting with Acrylics, not Slapping Some Acrylics On a Bit Of Paper and Being Done With It. Good stuff.
Year published: 2006
List price: £9.99
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