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Paint Watercolors that Dance with Light Paperback – October 29, 2008
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Easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions take the mystery out of composition, color, light and shadow. This guide offers proven techniques for painting dazzling scenes drenched in color. Readers will learn to paint beautiful flowers, foliage and landscapes, as well as learn to visualize before painting and to better perceive abstract form, value, line and color. 128 pages.
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There are some useful techniques in the book, as well as, of course, gorgeous paintings to admire. The techniques include composition, which for me is formost--what you paint, what you leave OUT, how you arrange your subject is probably the thing that gives the biggest impact, yet it is sometimes a subtle thing.
The author's style is bold and harder than I typically paint, but if you want big florals with huge color, you can follow pages of her process to create a painting. Note that she uses a photographic technique, that is, the background colors can be fuzzed exactly as you would see from a camera lens on close up, with a short depth of field. Sometimes I find this a bit odd, as it's not how the brain sees things, it's how a camera does, but even so, it's effective for paintings of ultra-realism.
The best part of the book is on color. This artist is a master of strong, saturated, amazing color and that is sometimes hard to achieve in watercolor, where darker colors can become muddy or confused on the paper. She shows you how to reserve the all-important sparkling whites, and to choose a palette for maximum impact. Negative space is well handled--this is another technique you really have to master for watercolor.
I did a few paintings using this book as a guide, and though they are outside my normal, more loose method to do florals, I was pleased with the results and I ended up with a few hibiscus paintings I had to do on request from a relative, who wanted something for her Florida home.
Even if you paint in a different way (less ultra-real, let's say) this book has value in the color chapters and the composition discussion.
Her explanation of how to achieve the beautiful light seen in her watercolors is well-written. She makes it seem so non-threatening, too. It's the use of the canvas' white and the application of Frisket, a material that blocks the absorption of paint (until removed) that makes the colors and brilliant white 'pop out'.
Kincaid also covers layering of colors, the application of water, brush strokes, and other methods. I like that this is not a step-by-step book. Rather, it's the explanation of techniques that, if applied, can help the reader to improve his/her artistry. This is for the beginner and for the intermediate painter, looking to improve skills.
Fair warning: Kincaid's method is very precise, drawing with a lot of detail and using masking fluid and paper. And she depends on analog photographic slides for reference, instead of digital photos. If you are not into a lot of drawing or want to use digital photos or work from life only, you will need to pick and choose from her method and adapt it to your own. But that's always the case when learning from others.