June 11, 2013

Book Review: Watercolour for the Absolute Beginner

My First Still Life from Watercolour for the Absolute Beginner

In high school I had to choose between the music and the art track. Since my art career at that point had consisted mostly of C's and D's, choosing the music track was obvious. However, decades later I'm still trying to tell my inner artist that it's safe to come out now. After discovering some gorgeous watercolor journals and wanting to capture some of the spirit of my blooming garden, I decided to dig out my daughter's watercolors and give this medium a chance.For guidance I turned to Watercolour for the Absolute Beginner by Crawshaw, Finmark, and Waugh.
Learning how to work with shadows

This book is really a compilation of three separate books. Alwyn Crawshaw begins by teaching the fundamentals of watercoloring. He covers different painting techniques, mixing colors, and adding shadows. From there he proceeds to apply the techniques to paint a series of different objects: fruits, vegetables, flowers, skies, landscapes and so forth. Sharon Finmark focuses on painting people and Trevor Waugh explains how to paint animals.

I'm still at the very beginning of the book (page 40 out of 224), but feel like I've already learned a lot. The instructions are fairly clear and I'm having fun mixing colors. The exercises change frequently enough to make this endeavor very interesting and engaging. Whenever I have trouble, I turn to YouTube videos for further explanation (I think washes need a lot of practice). Most importantly, this venture is serving as a confidence builder allowing me to move from copying exercises to documenting my surroundings. Sooner or later I will want to move on to an in person class so I can learn from peers and get some feedback on what I am doing. But as an introduction to this art, this book has been a great inspiration for me.

Are you learning a new skill this summer?


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