Archive for category Author: Jeremy Ford

The Art of Gouache || Jeremy Ford

Gouache is often regarded as the poor relation of “proper” watercolour. Being opaque, it is more forgiving and less challenging, although, for that matter, so are oils and acrylics. It’s not a newcomer to the scene, being the cousin of tempera, which has a long and honourable tradition. Where it mainly suffers is from its schoolroom connotation and memories of that awful (and almost always unmanageable) powdered stuff many of us remember, which also used poor pigments that couldn’t, even by the most fevered imagination, be called “artist quality”.

Properly-constituted, though, gouache can be a thing of beauty and has qualities that set it apart from any other medium. Understand its properties and you can produce images with a strongly graphic content that can take their place alongside the best of anything else.

Just as they did with Oil Pastels, Search Press have set out to rescue a Cinderella medium and, in Jeremy Ford, they’ve found an author who’s prepared not merely to look at the medium, but to champion and challenge it. A substantial book with plenty of illustrations, examples, lessons, exercises and demonstrations, this is as thorough and comprehensive a guide as you could wish for. Jeremy not only discusses materials and techniques, but looks at just about every way gouache can be used, from straightforward representation to poster-style and to images that look almost photographic. Subjects include landscapes, flowers, people and animals and there’s plenty of instruction as well as discussion of what you might want to do and how to tackle it.

There’s a fair chance that any reader will find some parts more to their taste than others but, as I said, this is a very thorough guide, so that’s to be expected. If you want to explore the medium as much as possible, I don’t think you’re going to find many (if any) omissions. For me, gouache is at its best when it’s not pretending to be anything else and moves towards graphic art, even if only slightly. There are some illustrations I can’t help thinking would work better with transparent watercolour, but that’s helpful in itself. If you agree, you’ll be glad Jeremy at least gave it a try.

If you want to learn about gouache, this should keep you satisfied for a very long time.

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Painting Pastel Landscapes || Jeremy Ford

There’s arguably not a lot to be said about this. The title tells you what it’s about and there are no surprises, unless you count just how much variety there is. Jeremy Ford has established himself as an engaging and generous teacher and the book is full of good advice that’s well presented.

It’s a book for the beginner, or those at least in the early stages of their artistic career and everything is explained clearly and in detail. Even the technical section at the beginning is more comprehensive than some and the clearly and extensively illustrated sections on basic mark-making, blending and underpainting are worth the cover price in themselves. Demonstrations include winter and summer scenes, skies, trees and water as well as technical aspects such as perspective and horizons.

It’s not the first book on painting landscapes in pastels, but it is one of the most accessible and comprehensive.

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Watercolours: How to Paint || Jeremy Ford

This new series from Search Press concentrates on the absolute basics and assumes very little prior knowledge on the part of the reader. It’s one stage on from those omnibus “how to paint everything in every medium” books that are – or claim to be – an even more elementary introduction for the general reader. Some of them are good, but a lot are aimed at people who know someone who “wants to paint” and assume that a fat, suspiciously inexpensive, tome is the way forward. That the recipient probably never gets further than the first 20 or so pages and one half-completed watercolour means that their real value is never really tested.

I’m sorry, we seem to have got a bit off-topic there and I should add there are some really quite good big fat introductions around that are the ideal starting point for someone who’s reasonably serious but hasn’t got as far as deciding which is their medium yet.

But, back to our sheep [revenons à nos moutons, as they say sur le continent]. If you’ve got as far as browsing this series on the shelves, you’ve also got as far as making a decision on which medium you’re going to pursue and that’s the first rung up the ladder. So, we’ll assume that you know what a brush is and what paints are, but that you don’t really have much experience in using them. And this is where this series comes in. There’s a very good section on materials and media that will show you the basics of colour mixing and brushstrokes and then a series of 3 fairly straightforward demonstration paintings that will get you started.

64 pages isn’t enough to offer an exhaustive study, but the point is not to bog you down, but to give you something to achieve reasonably quickly so that you can move on with a sense of something already achieved.

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