Archive for category Author: Richard Bolton

Watercolour Painting Step-by-Step || Jackie Barrass, Richard Bolton, Ray Campbell Smith, Frank Halliday, William Newton, Wendy Tait, Bryan A Thatcher

This is a reissue of an earlier compilation, which I was convinced I had reviewed before, but don’t seem to have. It originated as a bind-up of Search press’s Leisure Arts series and makes available lessons from what was a very serviceable series from quite a long time ago.

Although I had reservations about the reproduction in its acrylic counterpart, and some of it here isn’t quite up to modern standards, it’s not too bad and not quite the stumbling block I found it in the other volume. At a shade under £10, it’s enormously good value and I think you could overlook any shortcomings simply in favour of the wealth and variety of material you get for your money.

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Handbook of Watercolour Landscapes Tips & Techniques || Richard Bolton, Geoff Kersey, Joe Francis Dowden & Janet Whittle

This is a reissue of a book that first appeared as a compilation in 2009 and as individual volumes between 2002 and 2006.

The difference is that it’s now a much smaller format. That doesn’t mean that the design has been changed, or the page count increased. No, it’s just been shrunk so that some of the illustrations are now postage stamp-sized. Why do publishers do this? What is the attraction of a book you have to squint to see? I’ll grant that the standard of reproduction is such that most of the pictures will stand this, but what was wrong with the A4-ish format?

It’s also a bit of an oddball contents-wise. Richard Bolton on Landscapes and Nature is on message and I’ll buy Geoff Kersey’s Skies, but Joe Dowden is exclusively water, and not really with –scapes in there either, and Janet Whittle’s Flowers and Plants are of themselves and without any setting.

At full-size, I’d also maybe buy the £12.99 price tag, but at half that, it looks a tad expensive. I suspect that it’s a book that’ll get bought as a gift. I really can’t see anyone buying it for themselves.

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Watercolour Flower Painting Step-by-Step || Wendy Tait, Jackie Barrass, Richard Bolton & Ann Mortimer

This is an interesting bind-up, as the publisher has chosen to attempt a comprehensive manual on flower painting by taking complementary sections from several previous books.

On balance, I’d say that it works. I tend to be wary of this sort of approach because, all too often, it looks like a scissors and paste job, and shoe-horning together stuff that was never intended to be more than a chapter requires time and skill. I’m therefore pleased to say that this seems to have been overcome and that it’s not at all easy to see the joins.

One of the reasons, I think, is that there’s been no attempt at democracy – all the authors are not equally represented so, if you think you’re getting four for the price of one, you’re not. This is a book that stands on its own and is all the better for that.

Having more than one author can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you get the best approach for each section; on the other, you get a lack of continuity. Flicking quickly through, however, doesn’t reveal any great changes of style and I suspect that this again comes down to the choice of material and perhaps also to the production – maybe the colours were more markedly different in the original books (I can’t say for sure), but they have a consistency here.

As for what you get, the book is mostly a series of exercises and demonstrations. For once, I could maybe have wished for a little more on materials and basic techniques at the beginning – this is meant to be for the beginner, after all.

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Watercolour Landscapes Tips & Techniques

This is another of Search Press’s bind-ups of several titles from the same series. Once again, if you haven’t already got most of the titles included, it’s very good value.

For the record, what you get is:

Painting Landscapes & Nature by Richard Bolton
Painting Skies by Geoff Kersey
Painting Water by Joe Francis Dowden
Painting Flowers & Plants by Janet Whittle

The Tips and Techniques series is aimed at artists who already have a little experience and features specific topics and subjects for them to develop their style and technique. There are step-by-step demonstrations as well as analyses of completed paintings and the whole is nicely balanced.

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Watercolour Painting Step-by-Step

This is one of those bind-ups of smaller titles that Search Press does from time to time and does rather well. It’s not at all obvious that this is a collection of books which have previously appeared in the Leisure Arts series and material which would normally repeat from one to the other has been removed so that, for example, you only get one introduction to materials, not several authors saying virtually the same thing. I’d tell you how many different books you get for your money if I could but, frankly, I can’t spot the joins. At £12.99, they’re excellent value for money as long as you don’t already have a comprehensive collection of the originals.

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