Archive for category Author: Keith Fenwick
This series stands or falls, perhaps more than any other, on the quality of its contributors. They don’t have to be great artists and they don’t necessarily have to be the cream of the authors, but what they must have is the ability to present worthwhile ideas simply and in bite-size chunks.
Keith Fenwick has been around on the demonstration circuit for a fair number of years and that’s a good a starting point as any for a book like this because, above all, you need to be able to put the idea across quickly and simply and then move on. If it was warfare, it’d be a fine quality in a sniper.
I actually think this is one of the best books in the series so far, because Keith has all the qualities it requires and he also homes in on things the beginner (and not-so-beginner), actually wants to know, such as how to rescue an ailing painting, how to get the effect of movement in water and how to handle both aerial and linear perspective (even if you’re not sure of the difference between them). There’s lots more, of course, and subjects include skies, clouds, trees, boats and more.
I usually say these books are something to dip into, but I think this one is worth more detailed study because there’s so much in it. Do I think Keith is the best artist who’s ever stalked the planet? No, to be honest, but he’s a heck of a teacher.
The thing about water is that, if it isn’t moving, it’s stagnant and the trick for the artist is to convey this sense of movement in a static medium. Mostly, it’s about the highlights: where to put them and how many to include. Once you’ve got the idea, it can become straightforward, but getting there is what takes time.
Even without the pre-drawn tracings that are the main feature of the Ready to Paint series, this rather excellent little guide would be the perfect primer in getting it right. Keith is an experienced artist and demonstrator and he knows exactly what to include to make sure you understand first time.
The book includes a good selection of types of water from fast to slow moving as well as settings and seasons so that you have a choice of context. Overall, it’s superb value.
Keith Fenwick is a popular and generous teacher who has an achievable style, giving his students that killer combination of “I want to paint that” as well as “I could paint that”.
This is not his first sally into print, but he does benefit here from a editor who has formed his text into a series of extended captions, giving the book a more accessible step by step rather than a discursive approach.
The In A Weekend concept is one which David & Charles have used extensively to considerable effect and what it does is to reduce things to a manageable level and put a timescale onto a project, rather than having it run open-ended for ever. The purist in you is probably by now screaming that art is a lifetime’s study and that you can’t possibly learn even a tiny fraction of it in a weekend. And you’re right, but this idea of something finite offers hope to the beginner who may just be wondering where on earth to start in such a massive subject, and that’s no bad thing.
So, leaving the cosmetics aside, is this, of itself, a good book on acrylic landscape painting? I’d have to say that it is. All the basic techniques you’re going to need are there and they’re put in a context where they’re practical rather than just theory: you’ll learn them in the course of a painting, not on a sketchpad. This approach gives you results quickly, but it needs a good teacher because the risk of failure and of discouragement is greater. Keith is too canny to let that happen, and that’s what really makes the book a success.
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