Archive for category Author: Sharon Finmark

Learn Drawing Quickly || Sharon Finmark

Like its Oils counterpart, this isn’t really so much about drawing for those who have far better things to do, than about getting things down quickly and without fuss. If you use drawing as a means of taking notes and recording a scene that may disintegrate quickly, this is an invaluable skill. It’s also handy if you’re out with a companion who doesn’t want to stand around for hours while you get every detail just right.

Sharon has a loose, pleasant style that lends itself admirably to this approach and she covers an excellent variety of subjects as well as drawing styles. Buildings, people, street scenes, flowers and landscapes are shown in pen, pencil, charcoal, wash and pastel. The small pages are not a hindrance as the illustrations are given plenty of space and the text is kept to the form of concise notes.

There’s much to like here and a pleasantly fresh look and feel to both the content and the production that should appeal to readers of any level of skill.

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500 Acrylic Mixes || Sharon Finmark

This is in the same format as its companion on watercolour, which appeared last year. Once again, Sharon has provided a work which is much more than just a list of colours, but one which shows you how they are used in practice as well as when to use them.

Pretty well all of what I said before applies here so, rather than repeat myself, please just click the link to read it.


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600 Watercolour Mixes || Sharon Finmark

Books on colour mixing are both ridiculously easy and ridiculously hard to review. On the one hand, you can see at a glance whether they’re any good but, on the other, you rack your brains trying to work out how you’ve arrived at your conclusion. And, into the bargain, there have been dozens in the past few years and, let’s be honest, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. It really is like watching paint dry!

So, I’m not going to be excited about another one, am I? Except that I am, and I can tell you exactly why. For a start, this is by Sharon Finmark, not maybe the most prolific author, but a presence on the scene and someone I associate with the art rather than the mechanics of painting. In fact, what on earth’s she doing getting into colour blobs? And that’s where it gets interesting because, although there are plenty of said blobs, they don’t look like blobs. Hang on, what do I mean? Yes, what do I mean? Well, they look like something you might try out on a piece of practice paper as you go along, rather than a painstakingly constructed grid done to prove – well, ultimately to prove nothing. The other strange thing is that, although the title implies a heavy tome, this is quite a small book and only has 176 pages. I’m going to take their word for it that there are 600 mixes here, which is a lot, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

It gets better because the book is peppered with practical painting stuff like Overlaying in practice, Wet-in-wet in practice, Colour, light and shade. The usual approach is to organise everything by colour and then relate any token illustrations to that, as if anyone says, “I know, I fancy a bit of Payne’s Grey mixed with Cerulean Blue today”. Of course you don’t, you look at the sky and mutter, “Wow, I’ll have a bit of that, now, what colours do I need? A bit of wet-in-wet, mix on the palette or on the paper?” That’s the challenge of painting; it’s the finished result, the visual interpretation, the mastery of technique. Not the ruddy colour mixing, that’s just a means to an end.

So, here’s what this is. It’s a book about painting that comes at it via the practicalities of making up the hue and shade you want. It is, if you like, coming at its avowed subject backwards, which is entirely the right way to do it. If you have any other colour mixing books, throw them away and buy this, it’ll be the best favour you ever did yourself.

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