Monday, 1 August 2022

Reid's natural way to paint (5/5)

This is the sixth book I've got on my shelves by Charles Reid (1937-2019) and I must admit, as a publication designer, I don't have them to learn about painting, I just love his artistic style and with a couple of the books the excellent design though that was not his work. I can appreciate that not everyone is drawn to the very loose, casual way he creates paintings but I think this casualness is a useful guide for beginners.

Like any professional artist, he is a superb draughtsman. Pages forty and forty-one in the book is called Brushwork and it has eight pen and ink wash drawings of hands holding brushes, they just look perfect and the captions explain the various brushwork techniques. A significant feature of the book is how to draw and paint figures, either nude or clothed and how to handle facial features. Pages eighty-two and three have two watercolor paintings of figures revealing Reid's technique of merging colors together to create a dimensional feel to various parts of the body.

The text provides lots of interesting points. Page one hundred and twelve has a casual nude of Susan laying down and seen from the back, there's plenty of white space in the work and Reid says: "The biggest problem with finishing a painting is the wish to make it just a bit better, to add just a bit more. Here, I left a lot of white paper because I didn't know what to put in. If you don't know what to add, don't add anything." 

With Reid's stunning art and worthwhile comments, I think any beginner can get a lot out of this book.

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