Practical Landscape Painting: Materials, Techniques & Projects by David Hollis

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Practical Landscape Painting: Materials, Techniques & Projects by David Hollis

Category: Art
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: How useful you'll find this step by step manual depends on your aritistic journey to date. How good a book doesn't depend on artistic expertise – beautifully produced and lovely as a little coffee table book, you don't have to paint from it to appreciate it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: September 2015
Publisher: Ivy Press
ISBN: 978-1782402800

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Almost any of us can visit the countryside and capture the view in our memory or on our camera with comparatively consummate ease. However capturing it in paint is more difficult and yet something some of us (me included) dream of. It was therefore with great excitement that I picked up this compact book of seven lessons in landscape painting. As I believe (with good evidence) that I have the artistic ability of a house brick, it would be a challenge but I also have a dream to follow.

Retired architect/art teacher David Hollis has, in league with Ivy Press, created a beautiful book, which is evident the moment we set eyes on it. The pages are well laid out and the text-to-picture ratio inviting rather than off-putting. In fact I spent a couple of weeks flicking through it and luxuriating in David's obvious talent. However there eventually comes a time when one must take the plunge and so plunge I did.

David eases us in gently and reassuringly as he lists the required equipment, keeping it at an affordable level for the novice. We then begin Lesson 1 – washes. This is the confidence-building technique of applying background coloration in different, quickly sloshed on ways ('sloshed' being my own technical term) and yet can provide texture to elements like sky and clouds. I enjoyed this immensely and, with my crafting head on, could see other uses for it such as papers for greetings card making. So with a big smile on my face I moved on to the Rockies and Lesson 2.

Here David asks us to sketch before starting our painting and a truth hit me. This is a book on landscape painting so no one is going to hold the class up to teach we house bricks how to sketch. I had a go and would suggest that any would be sketchers look at David's finished painting for this bit rather than his sketch. I realised at my second attempt that in this way we see what the lines are representing and so may find it easier to draw with that context in mind. I made a reasonable fist of it and was impressed by David's interspersed tips, specially the addition of salt to represent scree detail.

From Lesson 3 onwards David's architectural roots and expertise shine through. There are still some wonderful tips to be enjoyed and useful lessons in colour juxtaposition and perspective. However as more buildings are added we get the impression that these are coloured in architectural drawings. By the time I got to the intricacies of the buildings in Petra, I realised that there was no way I could replicate this without artistic talent, or a few years at university and a good CAD programme.

So who is this book for? The answer is that it has something for everyone but not all is relevant to all in a practical art lesson way. The complete novice will garner some interesting techniques and basic knowledge. The artistic wishing to add landscape to their talent portfolio will undoubtedly learn more to a greater or lesser extent. However, where this book is a great unifier for all who enjoy art, even via passive enjoyment, is that the trade secrets shared are fascinating and David's pictures are a joy to revel in.

Personally speaking David's buildings will be way beyond my level of ability for eons yet, but he (Petra aside) has given me ideas and inspiration that I'd like to take further with the help of other resources. When all's said and done it does indeed fire the imagination and spur us on to things we may not have tried otherwise. In other words, a good book.

(Thank you to the good folk at Ivy Press for providing us with a copy for review.)

Further Reading: If you would like further landscape inspiration for your art as an artist or as someone who loves looking at art, we definitely recommend In the Country by David Gentleman.

Buy Practical Landscape Painting: Materials, Techniques & Projects by David Hollis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Practical Landscape Painting: Materials, Techniques & Projects by David Hollis at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Practical Landscape Painting: Materials, Techniques & Projects by David Hollis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Practical Landscape Painting: Materials, Techniques & Projects by David Hollis at Amazon.com.


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