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How To Paint Watercolor Washes
How To Paint Series

by Fiona Peart


The essence of a good painting is often the background, setting up the scene for the more detailed foreground. With watercolors you can lay a wash, and here is a whole book on how to do it to perfection.

Washes are one of the things that make watercolors unique, and perhaps encapsulate one of the aspects of this medium that artists enjoy—its simplicity. I like the way the book starts with an introduction on why washes are important, and then the author explains all the choices she has made when buying the materials. Itís up to you whether you buy student or artist quality tubes of paint or pans and what brushes you select, but in here are laid out the pros and cons of each—what a good idea! I particularly like the swatches of card that show what the different brushes are capable of; so much better than merely showing images of the brushes themselves. Then the author shows us her palette of fifteen colors, and describes the properties of each. I think that this is a grand way of getting to know your equipment even before you buy it. There are exercises to try when you start laying down your own washes, and information about working from photographs and keeping sketchbooks. The bulk of the book is taken up with a series of projects, all shown in staged photographs with captions, so you can work your way through each painting. There are a variety of subjects covered, showing that if, like this reviewer, you associate washes solely with land and seascapes you are limiting their use. There are projects for these of course, but also for a flower study and a townscape with figures. I hadnít seen an entire book on washes before but this is certainly a good way of learning how to use them fairly quickly and simply.

The Book

Search Press
November 2009
1844483665 / 9781844483662
How-To Books / Art
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2010
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