Saturday, March 27, 2021

En Plein Air: Light Color: Expert techniques and step-by-step projects for capturing mood and atmosphere in watercolor


En Plein Air Light & Color is a watercolor masterclass by Iain Stewart. Due out 13th April 2021 from Quarto on their Walter Foster imprint, it's 128 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats. 

This is a technique and tutorial manual in a similar format to the classic (and beloved) Walter Foster instruction books familiar to everyone. I used to love to spend time looking at the spin racks at my favorite arts supply store in town and generally came away from shopping with one or two tucked into my supplies. 

The introductory chapters cover very basic tools, materials, and techniques. Mr. Stewart does a very good job of imparting really valuable tips and tricks scattered throughout the text. He talks about attitude to working outdoors, organization, light (and predicting what it's going to do and how it will affect the work process), warming up, sketching, and lots more. I was impressed with the amount of detail and information in the two short introductory chapters. The artist is meticulous and studious. I can imagine that he's a very gifted instructor and envy anyone who has the chance to take a class or workshop from his studio. (Hint to groups, he apparently does do group workshops, so it's something to keep in mind after the plague is behind us). 

The bulk of the book is taken up with the tutorials. There are step by step guided tutorials to be recreated. There are also several technique chapters which are less step-by-step and more generally technical. Throughout the book, the author imparts *many* tips. Apart from the gorgeous and colorful art and illustrations, I think I'm most impressed over the density of accessible and usable information he manages to convey. 

Well worth seeking out. I would highly recommend this one for the artist's home studio, maker's groups, painting groups, or as a gift perhaps bundled with some of the author's recommended tools/supplies (he doesn't tout particular brands, just sizes, colors, and qualities of pigment). The information contained here is not only applicable to outdoor location painting and sketching. This is a good technical guide for watercolor and sketching in general.

Five stars. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.   

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