Archive for category Subject: Texture

Creating Textures in Colored Pencil || Gary Greene

As a quick and easy to access guide, this volume, originally published in 1996, is hard to beat. It pretty much says what it does in the title, and each subject is dealt with in a single page. This inevitably means that coverage is sparse and you’re left on your own to develop techniques further, but conciseness has its virtue and you get everything quickly and straightforwardly.

The range of subjects varies from the inevitable rusty metal and weather-beaten timber to water, flowers and human faces. There really isn’t much more you could wish for. I do take issue with the cover’s claim of “50+ step-by-step demonstrations”, as a single image and 5 or 6 numbered steps does not, in my humble opinion, make for a full-on demonstration. However the information is all there and you may find that you far prefer the lack of fuss to pages and pages of only slightly different steps.

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Creating Textured Landscapes || Claudia Nice

In the wake of Claudia Nice’s latest book, on trees, comes this paperback reprint of one of her earlier works. Actually, it came as something of a surprise to discover that it’s taken four years for this to happen, but it’s also fair to assume that this is because sales of the hardback were holding up

Regular readers of Claudia’s books (and she justifiably has a very strong following) will know what to expect and won’t be disappointed. New readers could start with any of her texture books, but this is as good a place as any. What you get is pages of beautifully executed examples of texture in just about every subject and setting – from how to capture the sparkle of sunlight on moving water to giving a three-dimensional effect to weathered timber. Most of the text is hand-written which, while it doesn’t add anything tangible to what’s being said, does engender a personal and somehow homely touch. One of Claudia’s more recent books (on drawing techniques) eschewed her trademark style in favour of type throughout and it came as something of a shock!

Given what Claudia does, as well as what’s expected of her, it’s entirely understandable that this has the title it does. However, if it was by anyone else, I can’t help feeling it might be called “Bringing Landscape to Life”. I don’t mean the existing title is misleading, but my suggestion is a closer representation of what you get. Anyway, if that’s what you were looking for, you’ve found it.

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Watercolour Textures || Ann Blockley

The appearance of this book amply demonstrates the extent to which Anne Blockley has matured as an artist and also serves to emphasise the stature of the authoritative Artists’ Studio series from Harper Collins.

Books on texture tend to concentrate on knotty timber, weathered stone- and brick-work and craggy-featured characters. Where this one differs is that it is much more about the textures of everyday subjects and is also not so much about recording the appearance of texture as actually creating it within your work through the use of colour, contrast and granulation as well as many other effects.

Anne Blockley is very much her father’s daughter and you won’t fail to recognise where she learnt her craft, but she is by no means a clone and has a style which is recognisably her own and also recognisably not that of John Blockley, even when she (with some courage) takes on some of the landscapes that made him famous.

Anne’s work is not gentle, even when her subjects are the flowers and seed-heads that characterise a lot of her work. There’s a ruggedness that tells of life outdoors, rather than confined to the studio and her paintings are more interpretative than representational; she is closer to the former, though, than Shirley Trevena, whose Vibrant Watercolours precedes this in the series. As watercolour, this is a tour de force and is yet more proof that the medium is capable of a lot more than the demure dabblings of debutantes!

As with other volumes in the Artists’ Studio series, this isn’t a step-by-step how-to-do-it book, but rather a look at the way the artist works and a discussion, in their own words, of the way they approach both their subjects and their painting methods. If you want to get to grips with the essence of your subject and you’re prepared to roll your sleeves up, so to speak, this is a book you’ll find it hard to put down.

First published 2007

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