Monday, 22 March 2010

Painting landscape with atmosphere by Ray Balkwill

Painting Landscapes with Atmosphere, An Artist's Essential Guide is an excellent book for intermediate painters. Ray Balkwill shares his set-up (palette for watercolour and oil) and the tricks of his trade as a landscape artist.

But the real value of this book is in the artist’s exploration of mixed media, of which he has total command. His philosophy is best captured by the following quote:

“There is a certain magic when you combine media in the same painting, as the result can sometimes be totally unexpected. However, it is also important to let each medium speaks and make full use of its own qualities.”

For paintings, Balkwill uses two mixed media techniques:

  • Watercolour and gouache: he gets the best out of the transparency of watercolour and highlights with opaque gouache. This is not revolutionary as Turner already used gouache in some of his watercolours.

  • Watercolour and pastel: this combination is more interesting as pastel bring some interesting textures. Watercolour is not used as a mere background for pastel but the two medium combine their strengths to create a cohesive work. You can see the result in the galleries of Ray Balkwill’s painting on his website.

For sketching, Balkwill demonstrates two techniques:

  • Felt-tip pen and charcoal
  • Felt-tip pen and graphite

I have not made the jump into mixed media techniques, but this book tempts me to mix watercolours and pastels as Ray Balkwill’s work shows how effective it can be.

Favourite quote

In every good book, there is a sentence that makes you think. For me, the statement that caught my attention was:

“It is surprising how many artists treat the sky and landscape as two separate subjects; if you have a busy landscape, keep the sky simple, and vice versa.”

More information

Ray Balkwill’s website

Painting Landscapes with Atmosphere, An Artist's Essential Guide

Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: David & Charles (25 Aug 2006)
ISBN-10: 0715322923

Add to Technorati Favorites

No comments: