Archive for category Subject: Buildings

Paris in Watercolour (Ready to Paint) || Geoff Kersey

Not everyone can or wants to take all their painting gear on holiday. Part of the problem is a non-painting partner: what do they do while you’re sat there sketching away?

These location-based additions to this deservedly popular series solve all those problems at the proverbial stroke. The sketch is already there and there’s help on hand to work it up into a finished painting of five major landmarks that’ll give you a nice souvenir without it triggering a memory of arguments over who gets to choose what we do today.

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How to Draw and Paint Fantasy Art Architecture || Rob Alexander

On a first flick-through, my initial impression of this is that it might be trying a bit too hard. I don’t get a sensation of a progression, but rather of a lot of rather small and slightly confusing illustrations. There’s no doubt that some of the pages are well laid-out and packed with good ideas, but I constantly seem to be tripping over a lot of small and very similar details, many of which are rather murky, and then pages of brushes and colours. I see there’s also a chapter on using computers. Like I said, there’s a difference between being packed with information and overloaded with it.

Some, indeed most, of this may well be down to the fact that I don’t really understand the language of fantasy art; I’m afraid it’s all geek to me, so I’m probably just not picking up the gems that may be on offer. However, if this were something more in my comfort zone, I can’t help thinking I’d still feel the same, so my advice would be to have a good look at it before you buy. If it’s for you, I’m sure you’d get a lot out of it, but if you feel the same way as me, that’s thirteen quid I’ve saved you.

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New York in Watercolour (Ready to Paint) || Geoff Kersey

Generally speaking, the Ready to Paint series has proved its worth with a huge variety of subjects and media. Here, you have tracings for five major New York landmarks – Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, The Flatiron Building, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty – that you can complete from the comfort of your armchair, either as a record of an actual visit or as an aspiring tourist. Writing this as I am when flights are grounded by volcanic ash, the book suddenly takes on a strong relevance, too.

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London in Watercolour (Ready to Paint) || Geoff Kersey

This addition to the Ready to Paint series gives you pre-printed tracings for 5 London landmarks – The London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, The Tower and Trafalgar Square – that should be on any tourist checklist. Whether you’re making a record of an actual visit or touring from your armchair, you can produce a convincing record for the album, wall or as a gift.

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Ireland: Ready to Paint || Terry Harrison

With its rich colour and widely varied landscape, Ireland is bordering on artistic overload. At first glance, the idea of reducing a whole country down to five paintings (you get the usual pre-printed tracings that come with this series) sounds like a definition of the absurd, but Terry has picked subjects that capture the essence of what Ireland has to offer: a mountain, a castle, a seascape, cliffs and a townscape detail.

What you finish up with is as much a good primer in many of the subjects you might want to tackle in any situation as it is a practice run at a location where you might well be wondering where to start. Just remember to stock up on that Emerald Green, to be sure.

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Watercolour Barns: Ready to Paint || Terry Harrison

This is very much the cousin of Terry’s recent Rustic Buildings & Barns, but offers the pre-drawn tracings that come as part of this series so that the basic structure of the painting is done for you and you’re free to concentrate on the work of getting the brushstrokes and the colours right. As a primer in painting buildings, it’s ideal.

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Venice in Acrylics: Ready to Paint || Wendy Jelbert

OK, now I’m beginning to get scared. This series has turned out much better than I’d expected and has gone down very well with painters in general. Much of its appeal lies in the excellent execution – done badly it would have been barely more than a glorified painting-by-numbers game, but the idea of being freed from the tyranny of the initial drawing has worked and that’s good. But tracings of a real place? Isn’t that cheating?

Well, maybe, but Venice is the Mecca for the artist and not everyone can get there, so the idea of an armchair guide does make sense. How you explain the resulting artwork on your wall is up to you; Wendy’s keeping schtum on that one.

The five demonstrations will give you a good selection of the classic Venice scenes, including the Rialto bridge, the Grand Canal and the inevitable gondola. If you want to paint Venice and your travelling is all done firmly from your armchair, look no further, the world is coming to you. If I have a quibble, it’s that the finished results look, frankly, a bit amateurish and not totally up to Wendy’s usual standard, which is a shame, because there’s a market for the definitive Venice book and I’m just not sure this is it. Pity.

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Rustic Buildings & Barns in Watercolour || Terry Harrison

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Terry Harrison is not the greatest painter in the world. What he is, however, is an excellent and generous teacher who has a great gift for explaining what he does in terms that the aspiring painter can understand and learn from. He is also amazingly versatile and there a few subjects that he doesn’t turn his hand to with pretty much complete success.

Buildings are a popular subject, partly because they appear in almost every landscape, but also because of their huge variety and the opportunities they present for colour and texture. A well executed building can make a painting. There’s a nice pace to this book, with detailed step-by-step demonstrations interspersed with complete paintings that are there to emphasise the point being made in that particular context. There are also buildings of every type and a lot of information on how to capture brick, stone and woodwork as well as the many texture these throw up. From what sounds like quite a limited subject, Terry has conjured up one of his best and most varied books. Maybe that’s what he is: a magician and he paints pictures that, in truth, just make you feel good about the world.

There’s one more thing. Tucked away on pages 90 and 91 is a gem so valuable it’s worth the price of the book on its own. It’s called Adding Life and it’s two pages of animals and people that will show you better than anything else I’ve seen how to populate your paintings. It’s brilliant in its simplicity.

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Watercolour Doors & Windows: Ready to Paint || Wendy Jelbert

This series just gets better and better and is branching out into areas that others don’t touch.

Having given us what is one of the best guides to painting trees there is, we now have this on those little details that can make a building, even one that’s really only in the background, believable. The thing about a window is that it’s not just a square hole in a wall. It has depth, which gives it shadows and the glass reflects in quite specific ways, which often turn out to be quite a complicated graduation of hues of Payne’s Gray. Doors are the same, except that, even closed, they have to give a hint that they lead somewhere. If you don’t give your openings character, your building will look flat, deserted and dead.

On top of that, doors and windows have all kinds of furniture – shutters, hinges, porches – often with flowers growing round them – and frames of brick and stone work. There’s a lot to get right and Wendy is well known for doing just that.

The Ready to Paint series is based on a set of very detailed step-by-step projects for each of which there is a pre-printed tracing that frees you from the need to get the drawing right before you can start and allows you to concentrate on the use of colours. It’s not a substitute for good draughtsmanship of course, but it does mean you don’t have to be learning two things at once. If you’re beyond the stage of what amounts to advanced painting by numbers, don’t dismiss this little book, though, because it contains a wealth of information that goes quite a long way beyond what it initially sets out to do.

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Drawing & Painting Buildings || Jonathan Newey

It’s good to find a book on painting buildings that isn’t by Richard Taylor. Not, I should say at once, that there’s anything wrong with Richard; far from it, his many books on the subject are so good that he has, until now, pretty much defined and cornered the market. Rather, it’s good to find a new author who stands comparison with him.

This is nothing if not thorough and it’s well thought-out, with step-by-step demonstrations as well as detail sketches and completed paintings that are analysed. In contrast to a lot of recent art books, where the text tends to be confined to extended captions, this is much more fully written and is one to read through as much as it is to look at. The less-text approach works well and the argument in its favour is that it allows the pictures themselves to do the talking. Some readers, however, nay find that they want more detail in the explanations and they’ll get them here because, for each of the exercises featured, Jonathan explains both the intention and approach as well as the techniques used.

There’s a generous variety of building types and locations, including houses, castles, bridges and churches – even new buildings – and a handy section on architectural detail which deals with carvings, windows, bricks, tiles and all those little things that give a building character.

This is a very comprehensive look at just about every aspect of painting buildings and one which should sustain you for along time to come.

Crowood Press 2008

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