As an amateur artist, I had previously worked in oils, inks, charcoal, pencils, pastels etc.
One medium I was loathe to try was watercolours.
After watching that great tv programme, watercolour challenge, I reallly wanted to try this out.
Not knowing what outlay was needed for the basics, I sought a general book on watercolours.
To my delight I found the book to go with the series in Ottowar book stores. This is a discounted book shop, at £12.99 for a large, impressive book, this was a bargain.
Created by Planet 24 for the channel 4 series, this book covers anything you need to get started.
From a basic point of view to an experienced artist, this is a must have book.
Broken down into 10 chapters, it is worth listing each one.
1) Paint basics.
If you have watched the series, you will know that mixing and laying washes is a prime technique for watercolours.
Chapter one explains this in great detail, even if you have used watercolours before, it is worth reading.
Now, I allways thought that once committed to paper, a watercolour could not be changed.
Wrong! Mistakes can be rectified in a number of ways, lifting off colour witha damp sponge, using an eraser, even turning a mistake into a special effect.
I had got so used to oils, where you can lift off paint, or add detail to the finished product, I could not see a lot of scope with watercolours.
I was truely amazed at what you can do with this medium.
Again, I thought I may have to spend a lot on new materials. But the chapter on Drawing media, deals with the minimum tools you need, much of which I allready had.
Chapter 10 on equiptment, gives a lot of advise on paper types, plus some handy tips on using off-cuts to make up a sketch book, at a fraction of the cost of professional paper.
Special effects can be made with oddments from your cupboard, from cooking foil, toothbrushes, salt, soap, bleach etc, these innovative tips are a godsend to struggling artists.
Although this book is designed primarily for watercolours, a lot of chapters deal with techniquies that can be used for drawing, sketching, oils, etc.
Similarily, composition and planning pictures lend themselves to all artistic endeavours.
Field-sketching is invaluable to capture fleeting images, backed up by photos, you can work at the finished project from home, handy if you get caught in a downpour.
Also, the artists bane, changing light.
I once started a painting of light on water, that had to be abbandoned when the light changed.
After reading the book, I now have a handy portable field-kit, that costs very little and does not require me to dash into the nearest pub for a beaker of water,
Basically, some throw-away cups, plates(to mix colours) and an evian bottle with tap-water.
Each chapter of this book, has a written element, with small boxes (much like cookies), with expert advice, handy tips and examples of experinced artists work, with step by step instructions on how to try it for youself.Each page is a work of art in itself, vibrant with life and colour, it is truely inspiring.
This is no book on "chocolate-box " paintings.
Like the series, no person has the same perspective on a view.
From surreal, crafted landscapes, geometric designs to quick, bold images, there is something for everyone.
Even if you have neither watched the series or have not painted anything from childhood, this book will tempt you to have a go.
Never under-estimate the theraputive benefits of creating something unique to you.
If for nothing else, this is worth a place in any book-lovers library.
I can honestly say that you would spend a small fortune on buying individual books to encapsulate all the knowledge in this one.
I have added a few pictures of my own, these are rough sketches which I use for the final painting.