Monday, October 5, 2015

The Watercolor Course You've Always Wanted by Leslie Frontz

book cover
The Watercolor Course You've Always Wanted
by Leslie Frontz

ISBN-13: 9780770435295
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Released: August 18, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
This straightforward handbook offers a fresh approach to watercolor mastery that bridges the gap between theory and practice. Through discussion and demonstrations, Leslie Frontz shows readers how to eliminate common barriers to achieve beautiful, captivating watercolor paintings. Beginning with learning to see with an artist's eye, Frontz then establishes how watercolor painters build on this skill by making timely decisions throughout the creation process.

My Review:
The Watercolor Course You've Always Wanted is a watercolor instruction book. The author assumed that you have a basic understanding of how to paint with watercolor. However, this book is unlikely to contain much new for people who have read several books on the topic.

She covered information like: seeing with an artist's eye by finding the major chunks of light, dark, and medium color in a potential painting; using a full range of value in a painting; mixing color to get the desired results; using bright against dull color or light against dark color to draw attention; how to hold the brush for a "loose" look; choosing a horizontal or vertical format; what type of watercolor paper to use; suggesting texture through paper choice, spattering, scraping, stamping, or sprinkling (salt); and creating mood through light and subject matter.

Much of the book is demonstration rather than explanation. The finished demonstration paintings are so "loose" that a beginner has a good chance at attaining a similar result. However, if you like to know exactly what pigments were mixed to get what specific color and how that was brushed on the paper, then you'll be frustrated with the vague instructions. Before she even covered color mixing, she talked about mixing pigments--for example, ultramarine, phthalo blue, and alizarin crimson for a wash across the lower sky area--with little more instruction than that.

Some of the demonstrations were decent at showing the principle she was teaching. Others were less so, like the demonstration where she used spattering, scraping, stamping, and sprinkling. She used all of these techniques at the final stage of the demonstration, but I couldn't find some of them, like marks from sprinkling, and I was uncertain what parts were sponged. Basically, I've read other watercolor books that cover the same topics (and more) in a way that I found easier to understand and apply on my own.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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