Monday, February 23

A Book with Painting Water in a Vase and Silver

Today's Image

In the Art Library

Here’s an interesting art book I found at one of the “big box” bookstores. It’s Celebrating the Seasons in Watercolor by Donald Clegg. It’s basically a how-to book on watercolor, but with a twist--it’s not just about watercolor painting. It uses the four seasons, gardening, and cooking as motifs for the watercolor demonstrations. (Today's Image is a painting I did using acrylic rather than watercolor, however.)

Clegg is a professional watercolorist and signature member of the National Watercolor Society. He also has interests in gardening and cooking; hence the interesting mix of art and cooking. I think you will agree his watercolors are beautiful.

The book is basically divided into the four seasons, beginning with winter. Chapter one, however, provides an introduction on supplies, color, lighting, backgrounds, and composition. Each seasonal section begins with the "mood" of the season, and Clegg also includes a couple of actual recipes in each section. For example, in spring, one is for a vinaigrette dressing. He brings in the gardening aspect by describing what’s going on outdoors and how it affects his painting. For spring, it's the budding trees and shrubs, the flowers, and planting his vegetable garden.

In each section he discusses the seasonal color palette. For spring he talks about the various greens by mixing Cobalt blue, Ultramarine, and Pthalo blue (each separately) with Azo yellow and with a little Quinacidrone Burnt orange added for earth tones.

The main part of each season/section is the watercolor demonstrations. In the spring section, demonstrations range from how-to’s on painting blossoms and crocuses to vegetables (garlic and lettuce) to flowers (pansies and tulips). He provides a lot of detail on how to paint with watercolors that only a professional could provide, such as how to darken or lighten the colors for the leaves, veins, and petals.

There are a lot of other professional tips throughout the book. The description of how to paint water in a vase convinced me to purchase the book, along with a description of how to paint silver items. Painting water and silver to look realistic has always intrigued me as I think it does many artists. Like a magician who reveals how a trick is done, Clegg shows you how to paint these. Each seasonal section also has additional recipes and demonstrations.

Celebrating the Seasons in Watercolor should be part of your art library, too.


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