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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences



Collage, Colour and Texture in Painting by Mike Bernard and Robin Capon (Batsford) From the time I was at art college I have always felt that, rather than aiming to make an image that was completely faithful to the original scene, sketch or inspiration, it was more important to create an interesting painting. By this, I mean that the completed picture should be exciting to look at and have an overall coherence and impact. This does not necessarily preclude it from evoking a particular sense of place, of course, but it will show this with an emphasis on personal interpretation and will have been influenced by things that have happened during the painting process.

Ever since the pioneering collages of Picasso and Braque, mixed media works have held a respected place in fine art painting. Award-winning painter Mike Bernard, elected member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour, assisted by co-author Robin Capon, art journalist, in Collage, Colour and Texture in Painting offers artists a hands-on introduction to the boundless possibilities opened up by combining paint with abstract paper shapes, textured papers, newspaper clippings, fabrics, and other unusual materials. With step-by-step photographs of several works in the making, the volume takes readers inside the creative process, from preliminary sketches to final results, with detailed explanations of each technique. Bernard reveals the secrets of his colorful, atmospheric paintings, which are skillfully built up using collage, acrylic paint and other media. Step-by-step demonstrations of some of the key techniques, as well as location sketches, watercolor studies and striking finished paintings are analyzed in depth. He guides readers from initial inspiration to finished painting, with plenty of tips and ideas along the way. The book also includes a gallery of the authors works.

Collage, Colour and Texture in Painting contains detailed information and advice on collage techniques and creative ways of working, and demonstrates how, by starting with paper collage and then working freely with paints, inks and other materials, artists can develop exciting and original results in interpreting whatever subject matter appeals to them.

According to Bernard, one of the most difficult aspects of painting is finding the most suitable and original way of expressing oneself. Each artist has a different view of the world and this should be reflected in a style of work that is distinctive and personal.

Everyone starts by learning certain techniques and aiming to paint exactly what they see in the subject matter before them. But how do they progress further and add that spark of individuality that takes their work beyond the ordinary and makes it stand out from the crowd?

Essentially; the form and impact of the work is influenced by two factors: painting philosophy, what they regard as the important qualities to achieve in a painting, and practical issues the materials and techniques that they choose to use. But there comes a time when painters have to reappraise both philosophy and technique in order to find a painting process that allows scope for personal expression and offers a good balance of challenges and rewards. Creating ones own interpretation of the subject matter and so overcoming the belief that they must always produce a likeness of it is something that Bernard encourages throughout Collage, Colour and Texture in Painting. It is a practice that is fundamental to painting, because surely the reason for painting is to express what one thinks and feels about things.

Bernard says he has found that the solution is to set certain limits within which to work. Essentially, the limits are defined by the materials and processes that he allows himself to use and, in turn, they create challenges and encourage more intuitive, expressive paintings. Bernard likes to begin in a fairly spontaneous way, perhaps with random, abstract shapes of color and texture. This has a very liberating effect and encourages him to continue to work freely, while respecting the demands of the painting itself. And, although he will have a particular place or scene in mind, he never allows that to dominate the painting process. What he strives for and equally what he hopes will inspire and help readers in their work, is an approach that allows him to be true to himself and to paint with feeling and confidence.

Illustrated with a wide selection of Bernard's stunning work, depicting diverse subjects from vibrant urban scenes to winter landscapes, Collage, Colour and Texture in Painting is an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to experiment with collage. Packed with practical advice and step-by-step demonstrations, this book will inspire readers to take a fresh look at their own work.

The Watercolor Expert: Insights Into Working Methods and Approaches  by Trevor Frankland (Cassell Illustrated) The painters of the Royal Watercolour Society—among the finest in the world—present an inspirational showcase of their most innovative ideas. Using a highlighted sample, each artist details a technique that he or she finds particularly effective, and covers the entire process from concept to initial composition. Their enlightening discussions cover such subjects as training the eye, creating special effects, and working with unusual mixtures of paint. By revealing the thinking behind their compositional choices and offering expert tips on materials and techniques, these distinguished painters provide a unique introduction to their art and an intimate look at the creative process. In addition, a brief history of watercolor focuses on such illustrious past Society members as Cotman, Palmer, and Sargent.


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