Monday, January 25, 2016

The Watercolor Course You've Always Wanted


Pick up the paintbrush right now and get ready to create your own beautiful watercolor creations. Step one: read and learn with Leslie Frontz's new book, The Watercolor Course You've Always Wanted: Guided Lessons for Beginners and Experienced Artists. There's nothing misleading about this title; all the tips and tidbits of information you've always wanted are assembled in one place.

Beginning with the basics, Frontz covers materials while getting right to the point of what works and what doesn't with no-nonsense, expert insight. As the author writes "...there are more supplies available than one artist could master in a lifetime." The focus is on "how" materials are useful in achieving artistic goals, as opposed to a long list of items one must buy. Conveniently, the wonderfully done photography clearly illustrates the tools and techniques in action. Exactly what you need to know, when you need to see it. Visual learners will appreciate

The bigger issues of composition such as values, color mixing, and subject matter are demonstrated in a loose style that is plainly laid out, step by step. Artwork by the author is included in the book for examples. Where some books might gloss over these important technical aspects, Frontz provides simple steps that improve your art efforts immediately. Setting up a palette easily becomes a lesson rather than a prep task.

Artist? Of course, she is definitely talented. First and foremost, however, Leslie Frontz is a teacher who can delight and inspire other artists of all ages and abilities.

[I received this book free from the Blogging for Books program, in exchange for my honest review. That happens to be the only kind of review I do... so, we're good.]

38 comments:

  1. This sounds like a good book to get great tips on colouring

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    1. I'm in a bit of a color wheel fixation right now. It is good for that, to be sure. Brenda Swenson has a great blog, too.

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  2. This almost makes me want to dig out my old acrylic paints and start creating again.... almost.

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    1. Come on, Mike. Life is short. Do a small one. Go, Mike! Go, Mike! Give me an M!!!...give me an I!!... Give me a K!!...Give me an E!! What does it spell? MIKE!

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  3. DOC CHERDO ~
    First of all, you should know I've been forwarding your great H.C. jokes to my friends via text and getting great feedback on them. Naturally, I tell them I made the jokes up myself, so you're getting zero credit for making me aware of them. Live with it, honey! (I want MY FAIR SHARE!... even if it's not mine.)

    I've always loved art, but I didn't usedta take Watercolor seriously. You know, it had to be Oils... maybe I'd accept Acrylics when I felt un-Frasier-like / un-Niles-like culturally generous.

    I dabbled in painting myself, having more artistic talent than the average bear (but not by much).

    Then, when I worked at U.C.L.A. (circa 1986), one day I got there early and went to waste time in the Ackerman Union Student Book Store. I discovered a book titled 'THE CALIFORNIA STYLE: California Watercolor Artists, 1925-1955'. I flipped through it and was so blown away that every day for the rest of the week, I went to U.C.L.A. early so I'd have time to look through that book again and again. I was astounded by all the effects one could achieve using Watercolors, and I was amazed by the emotional reaction I felt to so many of the reproductions in that book by TRUE MASTERS of that medium!

    After a week, I purchased a copy even though it was really, Really expensive (like $50.00 in 1986 money!) I later purchased other Watercolor-related books, including How-To books like the one you've reviewed here.

    Although I never did find / make the time to try my hand at Watercolor painting, to this day it remains my favorite painting medium, and my book 'THE CALIFORNIA STYLE' (edited by Gordon McClelland and Jay Last) is one of my very favorite publications. I keep it in my SPECIAL BOOKCASE (books to grab in the event of fire!) along with my copies of The Holy Bible, 'Beautiful Outlaw', my high school yearbooks, my own manuscripts (a screenplay and a children's book manuscript), my 1943 first edition copy of Betty Smith's 'A Tree Grows In Brooklyn', and my first edition copy of Mark Twain's 1872 classic 'Roughing It'.

    THAT'S what I think of Watercolor painting (and "The California Style").

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. I love A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. I have a small collection of autographed books, including Robert Frost, who signed a book of his collected poems at Oberlin College in 1936, or maybe 1937. Isn't it amazing that he was already a famous, successful poet then, and he read a poem at Kennedy's inauguration?

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    2. Stephen T. McCarthy, you certainly get around. I never cease to be amazed at your wealth of experience and insight.

      You've got my email address. Hit "attachment" and send me a pic of your artsy work. I'd love to see it.

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    3. My reply is lame and short 'cause I'm phoning it in...with a phone...my dear friend.

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  4. As a professional artist I seldom used watercolor because it's such an unforgiving medium. I tend to improvise as I go along and it's difficult making changes to a watercolor painting. But it's a fabulous medium and I wish I'd cultivated it more.

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    1. You've got that right; it is unforgiving. But when you have the technique down, it's magical.

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  5. I don't think I've used watercolor since elementary school. Since my mom didn't keep any of my masterpieces, I suspect that they were only fantabulous in my memory.

    Excellent review!

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    1. It's art! If it made you feel like it was fantabulous, it was. You'd be amused by some of the stuff I kept.

      Thanks, Robin!

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  6. Good endorsement. I'll think about adding water coloring to my future!

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  7. Great book for beginners. I've taken classes in watercolors before.

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    1. I would love to spend my retirement in continuous class-mode.

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  8. Water color is our daughter's choice for her art work!

    We're ready to build an ark here.:) Rain all day, and heavy at times!

    xo Nellie

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    1. Ooooh, Nellie! I'd love to see some of her work. Watercolor is wonderful. Isn't today clear and beautiful, though?

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  9. Your timing was perfect! Ray bought me a set of watercolor pencils for Christmas and I've been struggling with how to use them for shading etc. I looked up your book on Amazon and that led to more searches. I am not an artist but I do enjoy adult coloring books to de-stress so this will be fun.

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    1. This is a great book, Barb. I think you'd love it.

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  10. I have no artistic ability, but I love that they can help people get started!

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    1. It's like magic! People who inspire others (like you, Steph!) are awesome.

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  11. I have two left hands when it comes to art, but I've always wanted to do it. I could be the true test of whether or not she can teach the art challenged to create anything but squiggles.

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    1. I think she'd appreciate the challenge. It's crazy how things can be "taught" by a great teacher. Doesn't your adult brain say "hey...I should be able to figure this one out myself."

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  12. What if I've never wanted a watercolor course?

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Then RIGHT NOW, you HAVE the one you wanted. See? It's all good.

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  13. Watercolor is fun, but my happy medium is Acrylic! They can certainly be used for a watercolor technique. I add other mediums to slow down the drying time when I want an oil technique. Thanks for sharing Leslie's book with us.

    P.S. I enjoyed your jokes, sent via stmcc! Ha!

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    1. Ha ha ha...yeah, STMcC and I appreciate that category of humor, ha ha. Thanks, Dixie!

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  14. I see I've missed some of your posts already for this year. Gosh. Sorry about that!

    Watercolor can be tricky. I haven't tried watercolor in years. Acrylic is the medium I use the most.

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    1. Honey, I've not been much better at hitting all my favorite blogs but one day soon, I hope to be back in the groove. Gonzo might get a car this week and my taxi days will be over. That would be a big help!

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  15. I could use a new hobby right about now :) I've never done any painting since Jr. High art classes

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    1. It's never too late to learn and it's just FUN at any age. I love artsy stuff. Go for it, sage!

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  16. But the important question remains. Can you paint a watercolor "Dogs Playing Poker?"

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    1. You bring the velvet, Al...

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    2. Greatest paintings of all time! ...[To quote from 'TOMBSTONE'] ..."And I ain't kiddin' neither!"

      ~ D-FensDogG

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  17. But the important question remains. Can you paint a watercolor "Dogs Playing Poker?"

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    1. ...still waiting for velvet...

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    2. ...still waiting for velvet...

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo