Archive for category Author: Wendy Tait

The Watercolour Sourcebook

This bind-up of the What To Paint series provides 60 transferrable outlines with basic instructions on completion. You get Landscapes from Terry Harrison, Flowers from Wendy Tait, Trees, Woodlands and Forests from Geoff Kersey and Hills and Mountains from Peter Woolley.

It’s a repeat of what’s gone before but, if you don’t have the original volumes, you get a lot of material for your £15. My only issue, as with all books with removable pages is that, when you’ve removed the outlines (which you’ll need to), you’re left with half an empty spine. You might think that inevitable sacrifice is worthwhile, though.

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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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Wendy Tait’s Watercolour Flowers || Wendy Tait

Well, can you guess what it is yet? If ever a book relied on your liking the author, this is it. Wendy does, of course, have an excellent reputation and track record in this area, so it’s probably a safe bet. At the very least, you’re going to open it and have a look.

So, what do you get? Well, a pretty thorough guide to flower painting, mainly at the impressionistic end of the scale – this isn’t botanical illustration, and you may heave a sigh of relief at that. Wendy’s flowers are not specimens, are usually in groups, sometimes mixed and often in context – if not a garden, then at least with some kind of setting. Section heads, picked at random from the demonstrations, include Developing The Foreground, Creating Supporting Areas and Balancing The Image and there’s barely anything on (say) details of petals. If this is your sort of flower painting, stop reading and buy the book now.

The subtitle is Fresh, effective and imaginative techniques and I wouldn’t disagree with that summary. It’s a comprehensive guide and full of ideas, techniques and inspiration.

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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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Flowers (Trace & Paint) || Wendy Jelbert, Michael Lakin, Fiona Peart, Wendy Tait

This is a bind-up of material that has previously appeared in four of the Ready to Paint series. Apart from the portmanteau price, which is pretty good value, the different here is that, instead of tracings, you get outlines pre-printed on plain paper that are really quite difficult to transfer. If it’s this aspect that you really want, then I’d recommend giving this a miss and shelling out for the original books. However, if you think you can dispense with the outlines, then the executions are very nicely done and you can certainly learn a lot about flower painting – I’ve recommended at least two of these before.

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Flowers in Watercolour (What to Paint) || Wendy Tait

Given that this is only the second title in this series, full marks to Wendy for subverting it already. Not so much because I always rather admire a rebel but because it means that the format is already being opened up and that can’t be a bad thing if it’s not to become formulaic.

It’s immediately apparent that the outlines which are (so far) a feature of the series are here really only a jumping-off point and that Wendy has introduced a great deal more subtlety than is possible in a fill-in-the-tracings approach. In fact what she provides, through a series of simple and simply explained examples, is one of the most thorough-going primers in flower painting around. There’s a good variety of flower types, some very handy notes on colour mixing for this style of painting and basic captions that tell you how the main elements of the composition were handled. Beyond that, it’s up to you, but Wendy provides so much of the basics that you should be able to fly solo without much difficulty.

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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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Watercolour Flowers: Ready To Paint || Wendy Tait

The Ready to Paint series comprises a number of painting projects, each described in some detail and including an outline sketch printed on tracing paper that allows the beginner to start with the basic drawing already done for them. Broadly speaking, this is a grown-up form of painting by numbers and, as a method of instruction, one has to have certain reservations. However, the fact remains that, if you’re let down by your drawing skills, then this allows you to progress to the stage of working with colour without falling at the first hurdle. It needs to be said that you will have, at some point, to acquire some skill in drawing as otherwise you’ll be condemned to copying forever.

As a basic introduction flower painting, even without the printed outlines, this can’t be faulted and Wendy Tait is an experienced and capable teacher who has the ability to take you far beyond the scope of the book. If you like the outlines idea (and it has quite an honourable history), this is the book for you. If you don’t, but you still want to paint flowers, buy the book anyway; just tear out the tracing paper pages and hide them behind the sofa.

Search Press 2008

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