Author(s): Wendy Tait
The new What to Paint series is perfect for readers who already have some painting skills and experience, but are looking for inspiring painting subjects. Each book has 24 beautiful full-page size paintings, a colour palette for each one and informative captions pulling out details, tips and techniques used in various parts of the painting. At the back of the book there is a free outline for each painting for readers to transfer or scan on to watercolour paper. There are also instructions on transferring the images, and on selecting parts of the outlines to create new compositions. There is information on transferring the images, mixing colours, painting backgrounds and creating new compositions by using only part of an outline. Paintings include tulips, daffodils and anemones, snake's head fritillary, a posy of spring flowers, fuchsias, cherry blossom in a jar, oriental poppies, and many roses for which the author makes no apology because she loves them.
Given that this is only the second title in this series, full marks to Wendy for subverting it already. Not so much because I always rather admire a rebel but because it means that the format is already being opened up and that can't be a bad thing if it's not to become formulaic. It's immediately apparent that the outlines which are (so far) a feature of the series are here really only a jumping-off point and that Wendy has introduced a great deal more subtlety than is possible in a fill-in-the-tracings approach. In fact what she provides, through a series of simple and simply explained examples, is one of the most thorough-going primers in flower painting around. There's a good variety of flower types, some very handy notes on colour mixing for this style of painting and basic captions that tell you how the main elements of the composition were handled. Beyond that, it's up to you, but Wendy provides so much of the basics that you should be able to fly solo without much difficulty.-Artbookreview.net An exciting new book from Wendy that will be welcomed by those who've mastered techniques but still aren't quite confident in their drawing skills or who struggle for ideas and competition. After all painting is something that comes over practice and time and many people get dispirited when they don't get it right and give up when with books like this one to help it can encourage the artist to continue to enjoy painting and to go on and learn further skills. In this book there are 24 full size floral traceable floral study outlines at the back and then Wendy goes through each one - not in the usual step by step hand holding format but by saying what colours she uses and giving advice over some of the more difficult elements of the painting. I think this kind of book is a great bridge between the step by step ones that tell us each and every step and venturing out into the hard but very satisfying world of creating your own works. You are the one who works out where to start and what technique to use but Wendy advises over bits you may struggle with. Finishing a painting like this means you have put into being some of the learning accrued via other instructional materials or just good old practice honing skills and when the painting comes out well you can feel that though some of the work has been done for you much of it comes from yourself. Ultimately that's what we all want isn't it? To create works we can be proud of by ourselves? One very interesting study Wendy uses acrylic inks and a calligraphy pen instead of her usual palette of watercolours - she shows us by this that it doesn't matter if you don't have the exact shade of paint she uses but that one can produce enjoyable paintings without having to slavishly follow what is set out in a book. In addition to the confidence building studies included Wendy shows a few more paintings she has done by taking and mixing elements of different parts of the trace outs. So one can use flower heads from one, vase and stems from another and background to a third so learning about creating ones own composition which is so important in painting and yet still having that helping hand along the way. I've been struggling a bit with watercolour flowers having been using different media for a while and seeing this book I think I'll take myself back a step and use some of Wendy's studies to get myself back on track. (well - that's the plan anyway!!_ I think this book is a superb bridge between the hand holding step by step ones and taking that brave step out and creating your own. I'd like to see more of this type covering different subjects - I think they are such a fantastic inspirational idea for those who have done the basics but need a little help moving on.-JeannieZelos.com This is another of the titles in Search Press' latest innovation, which leads on from their hugely successful Ready To Paint series. Gone are the exhaustive staged instructions, instead here are twenty-four outlines to trace and paint for burgeoning artists who are ready for more of a challenge. Here are floral studies from all four seasons to have a go at painting, from snowdrops to daffodils, sunflowers to September roses. There are instructions on how to transfer them as well as tips on what colors of paint to buy and how to mix good greens for leaves and paint in backgrounds. There are no premixed greens used in this book, all the vegetation in each picture is mixed from other colors, an unusual and very effective challenge for the new artist. One a double-page spread all the paintings are shown in minature and captioned so it is easy to turn to the relevant page for some brief instructions and a page-sized image of your choice. Instructions are limited to a few useful tips but there is a palette of the paints you need to buy shown helpfully in color, plus a description of the brushes and any other items such as masking fluid. Unlike Terry Harrison's Landscapes in Watercolor (also reviewed on this site) you are not free to sell your work for personal gain once it is complete, although you can sell it for charity and of course adorn your own walls with it. This is a great "halfway house" between the Ready To Paint books and your own work, unless Search Press comes up with another innovative series that leads on from What To Paint which wouldn't surprise me! A very useful and enjoyable addition to any beginner artist's library.-Myshelf.com
Wendy Tait studied at the Joseph Wright School of Art. She now teaches watercolour painting to adults, runs residential courses and often gives demonstrations to Art Societies. She produces designs for publication as greetings cards, and in 1998 was commissioned by the Jersey government to produce a series of autumn flower paintings for postage stamps. She has also written articles and produced illustrations for specialist art magazines.