Archive for category Series: Ready To Paint

Country Landscapes in Watercolour (Ready to Paint) || Terry Harrison

Gosh. I don’t know what to say about this, except that it’s only Terry’s fourth Ready to Paint – the man’s so prolific and his painting and writing style so lend themselves to the series that you’d swear there were more.

Anyway, if you like Terry’s style and you want the additional hand-holding of the pre-printed tracings and extended step-by-step demonstrations, this is the book for you. You get five absolutely classic Terry views, with fields, barns, streams and woodlands and the book is a perfect introduction to landscape painting.

I can’t say any more because, once again, Terry has absolutely got it nailed and you really won’t be disappointed.

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Tulips (Ready to Paint) || Fiona Peart

Fiona Peart has pulled off quite a coup here. There were hints in her previous book of touches of looseness that seemed to contradict the way you’d expect the Ready to Paint series to go and here she’s taken it almost to an extreme.

If you just paint a flower as a shape, it’s always going to look flat and unnatural. There are subtleties of shading that give form and substance and you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is beyond the scope of such a simple guide as this. However, Fiona has managed to include techniques such as wet-in-wet and granulation to produce results that belie their origin in pre-printed tracings.

I suspect that getting results that look like Fiona’s may be beyond the natural audience for these books, so I’d recommend this to anyone who has a basic grasp of flower painting and wants to take things to the next stage. By keeping it simple overall, there’s every chance she’s given you the key to some amazing work.

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Fairies (Ready to Paint) || Paul Bryn Davies

Paul Bryn Davies is one of Search Press’s most popular fantasy art authors, so he’s perfectly placed to offer this addition to the popular Ready to Paint series. The style doesn’t do anything for me, but the demonstrations are well laid-out and most are in some kind of context, rather than just being portraits in isolation. If this is your thing, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

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Mediterranean Landscapes in Watercolour (Ready to Paint) || Geoff Kersey

Once again, this consistently strong series goes for the location approach, offering something that, if nothing else, is guaranteed to appeal to the armchair traveller. As ever, though, there’s more and, if you want a guide to painting landscapes that are more than just a broad canvas, you’ll be hard put to find better. Geoff paints five nicely varied scenes including a quiet village corner, a Tuscan farm and an idealised beach. There are tracings for all of them and the usual highly detailed set of demonstrations.

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Dragons (Ready to Paint) || Marc Potts

Fantasy art seems to pervade everything, or at least every series that Search Press manages to come up with, so I suppose it’s inevitable that the Ready to Paint series, with its pre-printed tracings and more than usually detailed step by step demonstrations would get round to it eventually. It even has its own logo, in a font that can only have sprung from someone’s fevered imagination. I doubt it’s been used elsewhere, so nice to see all that work not going to waste.

So far, so unfair and, now I’ve had my fun, I can say that if you want to paint dragons but are having a hard time with the drawing and the shapes, this is the book you’ve been looking for. Given the popularity of fantasy art, my guess is that it’ll have quite a wide appeal and I don’t think it’ll disappoint, either. Although the title doesn’t specify it, Marc has used acrylics throughout.

Buy it on Amazon

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Coastal Landscapes in Watercolour (Ready to Paint) || Tony Cowlishaw

Tony Cowlishaw is a new author to me, but a worthwhile find. He has a soft, delicate touch that eschews (here at least) strong colours and his style should gain him many fans. With the usual tracings and step-by-step demonstrations, the book features five typical, not to say iconic, English coastal scenes and is an excellent primer in painting this kind of subject.

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Roses in Watercolour (Ready to Paint) || Janet Whittle

Some quite surprising developments have been taking place in this series of late. While it started off pretty much on-message with simple guides to straightforward subjects, some genuine little masterclasses have started appearing and this is definitely one of those.

This is amazing, not because the series is going off-message, but because it turns out to be possible to do it in a format that you’d think would always tend towards the elementary. You still have the pre-drawn tracings, but all of Janet’s final results here have the feeling of being freehand work. In truth, you couldn’t paint a convincing flower portrait without an initial sketch, but there’s absolutely no sense here of that having been filled in, which is really rather remarkable.

I’m not sure I’d recommend this to a beginner in flower painting, but if you’re looking to develop skills and you want a bit of help getting the shapes right so that you can concentrate on the colours and shading, then this book is unique. In fact, even if you don’t use the tracings at all, Janet still has a huge amount to tell you.

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Vibrant Flowers in Watercolour || Fiona Peart

Please, you’re spoiling me; two books by Fiona Peart in one batch! Seriously, though, Fiona is rapidly colonising the market in good, clear flower painting books and this is one of the best, even though it’s masquerading as one for the complete beginner.

I must say that I’m particularly impressed by the way she’s managed to introduce some quite loose touches into a format (the pre-drawn tracings) that you’d instinctively think would preclude them. At this point, I’d normally be telling you that I’m not sure what a vibrant painting is, even if I do think I know one when I see one. Here, however, it’s clear: it’s those loose touches combined with a willingness to use quite bright (and yet not inappropriate) colours that bring light and vivacity to the results.

As with the book on Mackintosh Flowers, there’s a huge amount here that should please and instruct even the most experienced flower painter and the book is a positive triumph.

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Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Watercolour Flowers (Ready to Paint) || Fiona Peart

Charles Rennie Mackintosh is one of the most iconic designers of the twentieth century and his style falls somewhere between Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts, taking the best of both and distilling them into something simple, elegant and timeless.

As such, any book that looks at his flower painting is going to have a lot to teach you about bringing those qualities to a subject that positively cries out for them. Using the pre-drawn tracings that are the bedrock of this series, Fiona Peart includes five classic images ranging from single blooms and stems to varied arrangements.

This isn’t a book just (even?) for the beginner. If you feel anything but confident with your flower painting, give it a go. The approach is elementary, but the results are anything but that.

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Venice in Watercolour (Ready to Paint) || Joe Francis Dowden

Whether to publish a series of books on painting in specific places has been the subject of often quite anguished discussions over the years. On the one hand, people go on holiday and the idea of a guide to where to look, what to paint and what materials to take looks like the proverbial no-brainer. On the other hand, books on painting on holiday sell like stale cakes.

So it’s quite amusing to find that the Ready to Paint series has developed a branch that takes this idea one step further, with its pre-printed tracings of classic subjects in a variety of cities. But then again, with all that done for you, do you really need to spring for the air ticket as well? The real purpose here, it seems to me, is that you can paint the Grand Canal at sunset in the comfort of your own living room, and get make a decent fist of it at the same time. I mean, what’s not to like? (That was a rhetorical question, please don’t write in.)

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