Thursday 7 June 2012

Book Review: Dramatic Light

"Dramatic Light" by Patrick Howe.

  I've featured Patrick Howe's "Five Jars" in my Painting of the Day segment before. (Click here to view that post.) Just recently, I've finished reading his book, "Dramatic Light", which focuses mainly on watercolors and oil.

The layout of the book is good, and easy-to-follow. The first chapter covers tools that you should have, the kind of papers and canvases that are available, basic color theory, and basic techniques in watercolor. I especially liked the little lesson he gives on pages 24-25 about how to enlarge a photo. There are also practical techniques for composition, using photos and reference, and how to subjectively  analyze your work.

The next chapter covers "Transparency". Patrick Howe, in this chapter, breaks down the rules on what makes things look transparent and how to convey a sense of transparency. He has a mini demonstration on page 41, which I found very helpful, and the preceding pages are all demonstrations in either oil, or watercolors.

  Chapter three covers "Translucence". (translucency) Semi-transparent objects, like, paper bags, silk, and stained glass are used in the demonstrations. While chapter four covers "Luminosity". I liked the last demonstration of this chapter very much. It was a landscape in oil, with the sunlight filtering through the leaves, and I would have never thought to use bright orange as an underpainting. To find out how he does it, I guess you'll have to read the book yourself.

Finally, he covers the all elusive "Light and Reflection" in the last chapter, teaching his dear readers about how to paint water in a convincing manner. At the end of this chapter, he gives good, sound advice to artists. Like, where to find inspiration, the business of Art, things you should consider when dealing with a gallery, and of course, how to price your Art.

  I especially liked the way he broke down the so-called formula to price your Art, because most Artists will say, "Oh, it's up to you to price your Art.", or, "It's a personal choice." I'm not saying that isn't true, but new budding Artists need a price system to at least begin with, and Patrick Howe's guide was well thought out.

  All in all, "Dramatic Light" is a good book. I would recommend it to those who like to follow step-by-step demonstrations. (Keeping in mind the restrictions that printing has on demonstrations.) Even though I felt the works that he has on sale are far better than those in the demonstrations in the book, it is a book that covers tough subjects such as transparency, and water. Thus, I commend you for taking on such difficult subjects Mr. Patrick Howe.

  And as always, visit the artist's website right HERE to see more of his works.

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