The Art of WatercolorWhen I decided to explore the world of watercoloring, I tried learning from webpages. I guess my learning style just doesn't mesh well with webpage learning. So I then turned to books, and sat down with The Art of Watercolor by Charles Le Clair.
The book is a large format 8.5 x 11 size, full color. It dates from 1994, so it's not recent. That being said, I found the material immensely valuable.
Where other books I read tended to focus on a specific style, this one gives a nice overview of them all. He starts with discussions about the different types of papers, brushes, and equipment to look into. He covers the basics like dry vs wet, layering, and composing an image. Then he goes over a wide range of styles and techniques. You look into realism, landscapes, still lifes, human figures, and other styles. He then tackles special effects, like salting, spattering, and masking.
I like that it provides a variety of examples for different scenarios. In some books you only get that author's take on the topic. Here you can see well done paintings from numerous artists to see different takes on the topic. You see how watercolor can be used in a variety of ways, even for a particular topic area.
Each painting is clearly labeled right there with its painter, location, and other details, so you can pop on the web if you want and see large versions of the image.
In case any parents are buying this for their kids, there are nude figures in here. Some parents will mind, others won't, but it's good to know.
The book is almost like taking a course. At the end of chapters are exercises and tips to help you implement and learn the material covered.
I enjoy greatly the paintings he chooses to highlight areas, and how they often showcase different aspects of what he's discussing.
Any downside? I suppose you could say that the book is from 1994 so it isn't covering the latest and greatest, but for me that is OK. The benefit I get from this is in the overviews of styles and techniques - and that is fairly eternal.
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