Archive for category Series: Ready To Paint

Irises in Watercolour (Ready to Paint) || Julie King

When it comes to flower painting, there’s an advantage to concentrating, initially at least, on a single species and it reduces the choice of shapes and colours that the subject otherwise presents. However, I fear that this book may be going to fall between those who don’t want to paint irises and those who don’t want to be restricted by a single species, which is a shame.

On the whole, this is nicely done and there’s a great deal you can learn in terms of shading and detail work, as irises are complex flowers that repay a great deal of study. I do slightly worry, though, that the finished paintings look just a little flat, suggesting a lack of modelling which is one of the things you’d want to be learning.


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Renoir (Ready to Paint) || Noel Gregory

The Ready to Paint the Masters series has so far left me cold, but I can see a definite merit in this one as Noel Gregory has chosen to interpret the originals rather than copy them slavishly. In the process, he manages to tell you much more about the way Renoir worked and it’s an exercise worth following as the Impressionists laid the foundation for so much of the modern approach to painting. It’s to them that we owe looseness and interpretation and the abandonment of the studied formality that had built up prior to their arrival.

For this book, Noel uses acrylics rather than oils, but in impasto, so the net effect is similar and this is not an exercise in working in another medium, but simply the convenience of what’s available now. The interpretation comes rather from allowing for all the history that has come between then and now, and not trying to paint like an Old Master. If it was a radio, it would have a retro case and modern DAB innards; a bit of a mule, but none the worse for that.

As I sometimes do, I’m going to sit on the fence on this one. I’m not going to tell you to rush out and buy it, but I do think it’s worth a look as you might be pleasantly surprised.

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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.

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