Archive for category Subject: Water
30 Minute Artist Series
Posted by Henry in Author: Fiona Peart, Author: Terry Harrison, Medium: Watercolour, Publisher: Search Press, Series: 30-Mintue Artist, Subject: Flowers, Subject: Techniques, Subject: Water, Subject: Waterscape on Mar 11, 2013
Painting Water in Watercolour || Terry Harrison
Painting Flowers in Watercolour || Fiona Peart
This is a new series that Terry Harrison (whose idea it was) is justifiably proud of. There’s nothing new in the limited-time idea and I have in the past criticised some of its implementations for pandering to the “time-restricted artist”. I’m sorry, but art is something you devote time to. The whole point of it, of any recreation, is that it gives you a chance to relax and recharge. If you’re that busy-busy-busy, you probably have a time-management issue that bish-bosh painting won’t solve.
But enough of that, because that’s not the matter in hand. The proper use of the half-hour painting is to discourage fiddling and promote the skill of getting things down quickly, as you see them. It’s about spontaneity and freshness, and therefore to be applauded.
The structure here is really rather neat. The first half of the book is taken up with a series of exercises, Quick Techniques as they’re described here. These are all about ways of seeing and thinking, but also about methods of working – rocks and waves or foliage and petals in a few quick brushstrokes. The idea is to suggest your subject rather than capture it in every minor detail.
Following that is a series of projects that bring everything together. There’s always a slight contradiction when you have printed demonstrations in a book that’s supposed to be about spontaneity, but you have to describe the process somehow and these short (4 page) sections are very effective at showing you how to work within the time allowed. I suspect the best way of making this work is to read the chapter through and then work with it as just notes. If you don’t head straight for home, but keep looking at the map, the oven-timer is going to ring while you’re still getting the tops off the tubes!
There’s a nice busy feel to both these books that somehow encourages the whole idea they’re trying to promote and, price-wise, they’re a steal.
Click the picture to view on Amazon
Oil Painting Step by Step || Noel Gregory, James Horton, Roy Lang & Michael Sanders
I’m pretty sure that this is a bind-up of eight short guides that have been previously published – I certainly recognise Roy Lang’s Sea & Sky in Oils, but publishers are getting a lot better at the stitching-together trick these days and it’s really quite hard to see the joins here. At a mere £12.99, though, it’s hardly worth quibbling in the face of the huge variety of material you get.
Because everything runs together so neatly, it’s best to look as this as a compendium of single-subject demonstrations, albeit a themed one. Turning the pages more or less at random reveals all sorts of useful information on subjects such as on skies, light, reflections, choosing a subject, underpainting and glazing, as well as a good selection of demonstration paintings on subjects including flowers, landscapes and water.
The individual volumes were definitely something to work through, but I rather favour serendipity here. Just let the book fall open and read from there; it’s full of wisdom and good advice.
Venice in Watercolour (Ready to Paint) || Joe Francis Dowden
Posted by Henry in Author: Joe Francis Dowden, Medium: Watercolour, Publisher: Search Press, Series: Ready To Paint, Subject: Venice, Subject: Water on Feb 2, 2011
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.)
Watercolour Rivers & Streams (Ready to Paint) || Keith Fenwick
Posted by Henry in Author: Keith Fenwick, Medium: Watercolour, Publisher: Search Press, Series: Ready To Paint, Subject: Landscape, Subject: Water, Subject: Waterscape on Dec 14, 2010
The thing about water is that, if it isn’t moving, it’s stagnant and the trick for the artist is to convey this sense of movement in a static medium. Mostly, it’s about the highlights: where to put them and how many to include. Once you’ve got the idea, it can become straightforward, but getting there is what takes time.
Even without the pre-drawn tracings that are the main feature of the Ready to Paint series, this rather excellent little guide would be the perfect primer in getting it right. Keith is an experienced artist and demonstrator and he knows exactly what to include to make sure you understand first time.
The book includes a good selection of types of water from fast to slow moving as well as settings and seasons so that you have a choice of context. Overall, it’s superb value.
Sea & Sky In Oils || Roy Lang
Posted by Henry in Author: Roy Lang, Medium: Oil, Publisher: Search Press, Subject: Water on Mar 26, 2007
Books on painting water appear from time to time, but ones totally devoted to the sea are by no means common. In fact, I can only immediately think of the ones by E John Robinson. As many readers will be aware, books on oil painting also tend to be conspicuous by their absence, so this one neatly fills two gaps at once.
So, it’s got a lot riding on it. If I have a reservation, it’s that Roy tends to go for the over-dramatic. It’s entirely understandable that he doesn’t really want to paint flat calm waters, although that could well be what you’d find in a broader, more general seascape, but I’m not completely sure that we need, or will find useful, quite the proportion of night-time and storm scenes he includes. As paintings, they’re impressive but, as teaching exercises, maybe a tad indulgent.
I don’t think this is something that should automatically put you off, but you do need to be aware of it as this book isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. That’s a shame, because Roy crams an awful lot into just 64 pages – Search Press have become particularly good at making the maximum use of page space without overcrowding – and it’s worth persevering and seeing past what may, at first sight, appear to be objections because Roy is a good and helpful teacher and includes some excellently detailed step by step demonstrations.
As a book on painting the sea in oils, this doesn’t really have any competition and, all things being equal, it probably won’t have for some time to come so, if this is what you want to do, then this is the book you’re going to need. Does that mean you’re stuck with Hobson’s Choice? Well, no, not really because it’s well done and you will undoubtedly get a lot out of it, especially if it’s a subject you’re new to. Yes, there are a few pictures that you might pass over, but the rest of the book is sound and excellent value for money.
First published 2007
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