Henry has been writing about art books for thirty years, twenty seven of which were spent running the Artists' Choice book club. In this feature, he takes an independent look at the latest publications. This time he'll be casting an eye over Painting Acrylic Landscapes the Easy Way - Brush with Acrylics 2 by Terry Harrison.
"Terry is always reliable as a teacher and his books are deservedly popular as a result. His latest offering, Painting Acrylic Landscapes the Easy Way is subtitled Brush with Acrylics 2. I'm always a bit suspicious of books that come back for a second bite at the cherry. I mean, if you didn't say it all in the first book, why not? And, if you're just going to say the same thing all over again, I'll save my hard-earned, thank you very much.
However, this one doesn't have the sense of being an out-takes reel and is actually a neat approach to the rewarding medium of acrylics - more of that in a minute. The other thing that worries me is that "easy way" bit. If there really was an easy way to paint, wouldn't someone have told us about it now? But that's just me being awkward, because I think there really is an easier way here, which is Terry's range of special brushes that really do solve a few problems. Want soft foliage? Try the Fan Gogh. Grasses in a single stroke? Step forward the Wizard with its two different hair lengths. Although practically every artist has their own range of brushes these days, Terry's do seem to have had a lot of thought put into them, and that's typical of his whole approach.
Although the brushes take up about a third of the book, there's much more. The almost inevitable look at materials and equipment covers the things you're really likely to need rather than just being a list of what's available. Terry has handy advice on choosing paints as well as a look at the mediums and also the little accessories like pencils and masking tape that a lot of writers just assume you'll have. You will, but there's always that voice at the back of your head that tells you they're not the right ones!
Following this, there is a section on techniques that covers subjects like trees, reflections and snow and which also shows you how to create the effect of distance, introduce life in the form of birds, animals and figures and how to handle texture, mediums and glazing. The final section of the book consists of six step-by-step demonstrations covering winter and summer landscapes and a coastal scene as well as flowers, buildings and even a Venetian setting. It all progresses nicely and Terry covers pretty well all the things you're likely to want to know if you're coming new to the medium."
To find out more, or get your copy of Painting Arcrylic Landscapes the Easy Way - Brush with Acrylics 2 for the special members-only price of £8.99 please click here.
Have you discovered any techniques or styles that make painting easier? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below...