Archive for category Subject: Mountains
The latest instalment in this user-friendly series is a worthy addition to the canon. Matthew Palmer is an intelligent and sympathetic tutor who carries his abilities lightly. There’s nothing too ambitious and he is happy to take a back seat and let the student work at their own pace. There’s no grandstanding or showmanship, just solid, honest instructions and demonstrations that produce solid, worthwhile results.
It’s a Yes from me.
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The What to Paint series is the grown-up cousin of Ready to Paint and includes larger drawings that need to be assembled and traced down. For me, the problem is that when you’ve taken those pages out of the book, you’ve removed half of it and weakened the spine. On the other hand, this is something to use, not keep on the shelf, so maybe that doesn’t matter. The series is maturing nicely and remains popular, so clearly plenty of people don’t share my reservations.
Peter Woolley includes an excellent variety of material and none of the 24 paintings could be said to be in any way similar, ranging from misty views to craggy hillsides and from snowy peaks to tranquil farmland scenes. Each painting is accompanied by the finished work, a note of the palette and breakouts of the important details. There are no step-by-step instructions and the main idea is that you work on your own with only a light guiding hand. The outline gets the whole issue of drawing out of the way, leaving you to concentrate on the colour, tone and shading.
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Well, here’s a thing. Somehow, when I first heard about it, I assumed this was going to be a much larger book than it is but, if it had been, it would have been too much of a re-hash of many of David’s previous books.
So, having got over the slight shock of how he’s managed to concertina the subjects he’s best known for into a mere 80 pages, has David managed to do himself justice? A quick flick through gives a strong sense of a return to form and style. David’s previous book, the Complete Guide to Watercolour Painting, maybe suffered a little from being spread too thinly and perhaps going into a few areas he wasn’t completely comfortable with. Can I say he’s maybe not the greatest figure painter that’s ever lived? What he’s done here, however, is to create a guide to painting mountains that manages to be entirely about its subject and, in spite of the above-the-title billing, not just David Bellamy’s mountains.
Books about upland painting are not entirely thin on the ground, but this is David’s speciality and, in this amazingly compact and comprehensive guide, he’s reclaimed the subject and stamped his authority firmly on it. If you ever had any doubts, when it comes to rugged subjects, David Bellamy is the man.
The book consists of a basic introduction to materials and techniques, moving into subject matter: trees, water, rocks and buildings. After that, there are four demonstration paintings, each with a good, but not excessive number of steps, which give you ample opportunity to try out the ideas and techniques previously learnt.
As an introduction to landscape painting, this is, perhaps inevitably, hard to beat. At the same time, it’s also going to satisfy David’s many fans and leave them relieved that, even after all these years (sorry, David!), he hasn’t lost his touch or started to repeat himself.
Once again, this series hits the spot with an uncomplicated guide to painting those landscape elements that prevent your pictures from being just a flat horizon. Arnold paints in a fairly loose style that concentrates on portraying shapes and shading rather than intricate detail so that hills and mountains remain part of the landscape rather than subjects in themselves. As ever, the book features five detailed step by step demonstrations for which outline tracings are provided so that you don’t have to get bogged down in the initial drawing. If you don’t need these, however, the book stands up perfectly well and you’ll find many useful tips that will give your work substance and depth.
For more on this excellent series, follow the link below.
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