Plein air sketch by Vivien Blackburn in Sketching 365
My friend, Katherine Tyrrell, spent time last year writing this excellent book, now published. It's packed full of tips, advice and techniques. Not only suitable for beginners but for those with experience wishing to try other media or develop their work.
There are 55 artists - all good - to show examples of a wide range of approaches. Several are friends and others known to me as people I admire.
My plein air sketch of Sennen Cove, from the terrace of Rose Cottage, sharing a page with Felicity House
I had proof read it online but nothing is quite like holding the actual book in my hands, flipping back and forth and seeing images by friends and artists I admire.
It's not one of those 'do as I do' books, producing clones, but one that sets out to make you think of alternatives, observation, composition, materials to use, tone, marks, pattern and much more - all the kind of things I tell my students to consider.
As someone who detests those art magazine articles or books that suggest blobbing with a sponge will automatically give you amazing trees - in what universe???????? - examples shown are usually awful! - her insistence on good underlying observation gels with me. No matter how loosely you work, the observation underpinning it is essential.
Artists shown work in a wide variety of ways and using different materials and they are good.
My sketch of Shilmoor in Northumbria. on a moody day, sharing a page with Katherines glowing picture of snow and sunlight on trees
It's also a keeper - one to dip back into over time, unlike some books that are a one-time-read only, too shallow to last. It can't go into great depth on each topic there are so many, but gives really good concise pointers and enough information for readers to make a good start and to research further, look at other work by the artists shown and carry their own ideas forward.
I will certainly use it in my teaching (adults painting and drawing). It's just the information students need, backing up nicely what I tell them and packed with advice. That 'Travel Light' on the page above is one I sadly haven't learned! being of the 'but I might neeeed it' school ;>)