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The Tao of Watercolor: A Revolutionary Approach to the Practice of Painting (Zen of Creativity) Paperback – March 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Zen of Creativity
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill; 1st edition (March 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823050572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823050574
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 9.3 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Jeanne Carbonetti has a beautiful refreshing style.
L. M.
I really enjoyed looking through the book, have been working with Watercolor for several yrs and have wanted to get looser with my technique.
Janet Trester
I am interested in the Zen and Tao of Watercolor so I found the book to be a good resource.
P. J. Nelson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Cat from Belmont on April 9, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book hoping that it would help me loosen up my watercolor painting. I was disappointed enough to return it, something I rarely do. Clearly, this author has found an enthusiastic audience to which to sell these books and her paintings, but I suspect they are something of a fringe group. That's fine, but I recommend you look over this book thoroughly before committing to purchasing it. There is basically no instruction that will teach you to do a watercolor painting in anything but vague, fuzzy, garishly colored (she really, really likes bright pink) paintings that call to my mind the tie-died T-shirts of the 60's. I was also put off by the self-portrayal of the author as a kind of artistico-spiritual guru. In her experience, she says, all watercolor students fall into one of two categories: those who never finish a picture because they are too hung up on doing things just so, and those who would like to play but don't know how--left brain types and right brain types. She assures us she has had an epiphany and is now beyond such limitations. If you buy her books, she'll share her higher wisdom. Well, good for her, she's got her audience. There are Taoist quotes at the beginning of the chapters, but if you want to explore that philosophy, you'd be better off with a source that truly addresses it. If you want to learm how to do watercolors, this is not the place to do it.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By melodieroe@mindspring.com on January 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you started painting with watercolor because you love the color and flow of the paint, this is an excellent book. I found this book extremely helpful in learning watercolor techniques that focus on the flow of the watercolor itself and not drawing. Jeanne Carbonetti helps the painter understand how to let the watercolor itself dictate what the painting is to become by allowing colors to do what they will while still maintaining control of the medium. Reality is added only near the end. This book gave me a great start but actually working with the artist solidified my understanding of the techniques and my own style of painting with watercolor. Carbonetti's style really allows watercolors to sing and have depth.
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58 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Hubies Brother on December 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ms. Carbonetti is much given to cosmic pronouncements and spiritual ramblings that have little to do with putting paint on paper. She might be forgiven these epic conceits, though, if only she'd spill the beans about exactly how she concocted the appealing pictures in the book. This is not a step-by-step account that might provide practical help to groundlings like me, but a hymnal for an Oriental temple. Bottom line: I like what she does, but I still don't know exactly how she does it.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By SandyBeach on May 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you have read the other reviews, then you realize that this book is about painting watercolor washes. It's a welcome book for those of us who cannot draw well, as the author's technique almost completely eschews drawing. Rarely is even an outline drawing done prior to the painting. Basically, the paper is first covered with a very wet wash of two or three colors suggesting only the most general shape, if any. When that first wash has dried, it is covered with a second wash that vaguely suggests some kind of form... perhaps of flowers in a vase. In order to refine that form into something recognizable, some of the color of the second wash is tinted with additional water, or supplemented by dropping in concentrated pigment, all while the second wash is still damp. There is also the possibility of adding color glazes atop the painting or some portion of the painting after the washes have dried. The author also recommends a separate wash... or even several separate washes... for the purpose of adding spatter. There doesn't seem to be anything uncommon... let alone revolutionary... about this wash technique. Indeed, I have read it explained more articulately in a book titled "Acrylic Watercolor Painting" by Wendon Blake. But while Mr. Blake's book is very instructive, the heartbreaker is that only 16 of its 115 images are in color. Ms. Carbonetti's book also presents many images, all of them in intense color, and many of them filling an entire page. There are about a dozen very lovely paintings among them. It is clear that Ms. Carbonetti's technique is restricted to abstract landscapes and the occasional still life with flowers.Read more ›
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Daryl Baird on November 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you've been painting in watercolor and found yourself somewhat bound up by it all, then invest in this book to help free up and get looser with your painting. This isn't a comprehensive how-to book by any means. It doesn't pretend to be. What Jeanne offers in this book are ways to prepare yourself to paint and to unlock your creative spirit with Taoist thought as an easy-to-accept framework. If you don't have one already, get one of the "complete guide to watercolor" books and get this one too. It's a good read.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By C. Wilson on February 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you are a painter trying to produce realistic paintings, this book isn't for you. Lots of people think that realism is the highest ideal, but if you are searching for a way to paint more impressionistically without resorting to flinging paint, this book IS for you. I am an art teacher and I find it very hard to help students realize that our world doesn't contain LINES, only shapes. It is also hard for students--and for me--to make fresh, lively paintings when we are trying for photorealism. By using the washes, controlling the edges, trying the layered washes, working from suggested shapes created by beginning washes rather than always beginning with realistic shapes, I get fresher work and the students make better work. It is true that we all can benefit from trying for accuracy in drawing, but when working with watercolor, why not go with the strengths of the medium and try Carbonetti's approach.

To be absolutely honest, this book transformed my art. I refer to it again and again and have given it to my own grownup children who are working with art. Brava!
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