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Watercolor: Simple, Fast and Focused Paperback – June 1, 1999

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill; Second Printing edition (June 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823057062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823057061
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 8.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
(4.5*) I thought I had given up buying watercolor books but this inspired me enough to purchase again. Probably not a beginners book -- but good for somebody that already has the basics nailed and is looking for inspiration to move to the next level or perhaps looking to develop a looser style (although Mel's work is hardly loose for the most part, it is refreshing clean and relatively simple yet effective). The images rather than the text was my main reason for buying (although I like the concepts presented) -- I am beyond the beginner books now, so it is important for me that the images are inspiring.

The images presented cover a nice range, including tropical and local scenes, water scenes, figure drawing and portraits.

Highlights:
- I love the pictures, Mel's style, subject and composition appeal greatly to me. Personal taste I guess.

- love the philosophy: simple, fast, focused -- that is what watercolor is all about to me and what I strive for.

-- Mel provides some useful insights that help get the right mindset for this approach

Low points:
None really. If pushed:

- Mel's attractive and distinctive figure drawing style could easily be mistaken for that of Charles Reid, very similar -- but it is a great style that I want to see more of, so I can't complain.

-- the fairly sparse text is less inspiring that the images. The images are great though, so they are tough act to follow --
and this is an art book!

A very attractive and inspiring watercolor book. Recommended!
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Format: Paperback
Stabin is an inspiration making glorious and beautiful watercolors. His painting and some of his ideas are wonderful, especially for this experienced artist new to watercolor. But he cannot express his ideas clearly in words, making up his own terminology to explain concepts in art and design that were fully worked out hundreds of years ago. If you really squint hard you can understand what he means, but his editor should be sent back to grammer school. She didn't even catch his use of the wrong words..."creditable" for "credible", for example. The publisher gets marked down for splitting the important part of many pictures at the gutter.

Anyway, the books are worth every penny.

A 40 year artist new to watercolor.
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Format: Paperback
I keep coming back to this book and it is becoming my main mentor and guide on my watercolor path. Stabin is of the one stroke, no glazes, on location in an hour school of painting, and if that is what appeals to you, he is the master. I have collected several books on this approach but both his actual paintings and his tips are far superior to the others. Under his tutleage I have grown as a painter far more than with any other book or teacher. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
This was the first book I came across where the author is speaking from his heart, his style is right up my alley, and he keeps it simple. I paint on-site and his approach is an inspiration. I come back to this book regularly to get an energy boost and remind myself of the concepts. Another similar book I enjoy is "Trevor Chamberlain: Light and Atmosphere in Watercolour: A Personal View" (Atelier Series.)
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By A Customer on January 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
I find the concepts easy to grasp and the demonstrations clearly laid out. A few more demonstrations would be useful but not necessary. I've been struggling to move to a looser, more emotional painting style and this "simple, fast and focused" concept seems to be just what I need to point me in the right direction.
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Format: Paperback
While Mel Stabin's style is much looser and more direct than mine, I still value his approach to watercolor painting. His examples in this book will make you say, "Hey, I can do that!" And that is precisely why I would recommend it to beginners as well as advanced watercolorists. He has a knack for reducing picture elements into simple shapes and bold washes that really work. Check it out.
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Format: Paperback
Mel's books and videos (the videos are available on his web site) are the best guides I have found. I have purchased other books, one of which was almost "paint by numbers" in its approach, so I returned it. Yet another artist's book was just too detailed in its approach and style. I prefer the simplicity and beauty of Mel's work. These are some of the best watercolors I've seen! While his books may be limited in demonstrating technique, his videos more than compensate for this. I would recommend having both his books and at least one of his videos for anyone interested in learning more about watercolors. Mel is a true master of the medium, and I prefer to learn from someone whose work I admire.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for not only water colorists but for all artists...I had to pick up courage to paint in a loose style for years...after going through this book, I attempted loose painting in water color and other media...the approach of "simple,fast,focussed' is indeed essential learning for an artist...Another book that can go with this is Kimon Nicolaides on" The Natural Way to draw"...these two books can let you free and bold in the world of fine art---drawing &painting...
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