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Matthew Palmer's Step-by-Step Guide to Watercolour Painting


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Table of Contents





Tricks and techniques

The projects:
Night-time snow scene
Autumn in the City
At the Harbour
Waterfall in Summer
Wildflower Meadow

About the Author

Matthew Palmer is one of the SAA's most renowned demonstrators, and his classes are particularly popular with beginners. He has been painting seriously for twenty years and specialises in landscapes, still life and animals. He has his own studio at his home in Derbyshire, UK, and teaches over 150 people per week, as well as running watercolour workshops and holidays. He has many exhibitions, participates in several art shows and appears regularly on the Painting and Drawing Channel from the SAA.


Summer Issue

In this easy-to-follow new guide Matthew explains the basic techniques of watercolour in a way that cuts through much of the mystique that surrounds the medium.

He explains how to choose your materials and best decide which brushes and paper will be best for you. He then moves on to easy exercises that introduce you to simple sketching and work in pen and wash, before progressing to colours and how they work. Matthew explains the colour wheel, primaries, complementaries and mixing, in simple language and with plenty of examples. So if you struggle with colour, you might find the book worth it for this alone.

The gentle progression continues with an introduction to techniques such as blending, lifting out and the use of masking fluid. These are accompanied by simple exercises that help you develop the skills you'll need later.

The bulk of the book is devoted to demonstrations for which there are pre-printed tracings allowing you to concentrate on the business of painting, using everything you've learnt so far. Every stage is illustrated and it's like having a tutor by your side. All in all this is a well thought-out and presented guide that will help you become proficient in the wonderful medium of watercolour.

-- SAA Paint magazine * Henry Malt *

There is always room for a good solid introduction to any subject, and this is one of the best on watercolour.

Just picking it up gives an immediate and encouragingly meaty feel. It's substantial at 144 pages and, with the added outlines in the middle, really quite heavy. Physical feel, of course, means nothing if the content is lightweight and it's good to know that there's plenty here to get your teeth into. We open with a good discussion of materials that will aid the tyro though the maze of what's available before moving on to a look at inspiration. This is the basic "what am I going to paint and where am I going to find it", but the language used is serious and assumes that the reader is too. It's nice to see at this level and this early in the book. Again, it inspires and engenders confidence.

After a look at basic techniques and how to use colour, the first exercise appears as early as page 38. Art is a visual medium and there's nothing worse than having to wade through acres of talk before you get to work. You want to paint, you bought all those materials so come on, let's get down to it - and we do. Nothing too taxing: it's a very basic scene of some hills with a simple foreground and a graduated sky. Follow the six stages, each with its own series of steps and you'd be hard put to it to get it wrong. Look, your first painting, on day one. Way to go!

The rest of the book introduces more subjects, techniques and complexity. It's beautifully structured, thoroughly explained and very easy to follow. And, in case you get stuck, there are the aforesaid tracings that help you get the basic sketch right. Build on solid foundations and the structure will stand.

I really don't think you could better this.

* *

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