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It’s a pretty hefty claim to refer to a book as a “Bible.” On my bookshelf at home, I have the Bread Bible, which includes the cultural significance of and instructions for breads all over the world. I recently baked a beautiful and decorative Greek bread from it that included cloves and walnuts. After seeing the reaction of those I shared it with, I silently thanked the book, which, in my humble opinion, earned its title by teaching me pretty much everything I needed to know about one of my favorite foods (to eat and to prepare).
Although bread is universal, I know this newsletter isn’t specifically for bakers. It comes down to this: When The Watercolor Bible by Joe Garcia landed on my desk, I wondered if it could possibly include everything that a beginning artist needs to know about using watercolor. Garcia covers basic materials, composition, drawing techniques, watercolor properties, color, and special effects. There’s also an entire section on how to paint popular subjects, such as this “fat cat” demonstration. Garcia explains, “This painting requires a careful drawing that shows the placement of shadows and changes in fur color.” His materials include a ¾-inch flat brush, Nos. 2, 4, and 6 round brushes; burnt sienna, cobalt blue, permanent rose, and sepia watercolors; and titanium white gouache.
1. Draw, then Paint Base Washes
“Draw the cat, then saturate the drawing with a wash of water,” says Garcia. “Paint wet-into-wet washes of burnt sienna, sepia, and cobalt blue. As the washes are drying, add more dark values around the nose and eyes and in the shadow area under the jaw.”
2. Paint Fur Details and Background
“Paint the fur with thin strokes following the direction in which the hair lies, working from light to dark values,” he says. “Use permanent rose on the nose and inside the ear. The background and couch are a series of washes using permanent rose, burnt sienna and cobalt blue. Detail the sofa and soften hard edges. After everything dries, add whiskers and eye reflections with white gouache.”
This is just one of dozens of demonstrations in The Watercolor Bible: Painting Tips and Techniques for the Beginner. Originally published in 2006, this title has stood the test of time and is newly available in paperback. After you order and receive your copy, make sure you leave a review for it to let other artists know that this is “the” reference book for new watercolorists.
Your art- (and bread-) loving friend,
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