When one of the introductory sections suggests the use of a microscope, you know you're looking at a serious work! This new book is an interesting addition to the wealth of literature on flower painting in general and the more technical art of botanical illustration in particular. There are a few introductory notes on basic techniques, particularly the use orf shapes and colours, most of the book is devoted to a series of short lessons describing and illustrating how to paint 26 different species. Concise in its approach and stripped of anything other than what is absolutely necessary, this is an excellent guide for the more experienced artist who wants to take the subject seriously.-The Artist This is a beautiful book and, if the single-stem, detailed way with flower painting is what you want, this is an excellent way into it, being much simpler than other books, which tend to go into a lot more detail and maybe overwhelm. The approach that Michael Lakin adopts is to complete each demonstration in two spreads. This is a concise way of doing it, and also gives you a consistent set of demonstrations, meaning that, once you have the hang of the layout, it will hold for everything else. It does, though, mean that you will have to fill in quite a lot of the gaps for yourself. The first two pages will show you the main details of the flower in question together with the drawings and the colour palette. Turn the page and you get a set of instructions for the painting, and an illustration of the finished result. There are no step-by-steps and whether you think the book is for you will very much depend on whether you think this is a good or a bad thing. There is a lot of information in the introductory sections and it should be said that these avoid repetition of the basic stuff later on, though, even if they are general rather than subject-specific. Botanical illustration is a complex and highly technical subject for which it is difficult to write an introduction, so much having to be learnt all at once. Michael, however, makes a good stab at keeping things as simple as possible.-Artbookreview.net A fantastic book. Michael Lakin is both a keen gardener and a skilled botanical artist. In this book he shares some of the secrets which have made his work much sought after. He shows how to paint twenty six botanically accurate flowers including Aquilegia, Rudbeckia, Pelargonium and Orchid. What makes this book so special is that it includes many unusual flowers not often covered by books showing how to paint flowers such as the Uvularia, Yucca and Echinacea. Although the use of Latin names can be a bit off putting for many artists, the drawings and instruction is so superb that you can quickly recognize the plants. None of the plants are so rare that you are unlikely to find them in a garden. Well thought out and illustrated, it offers training in a style that many artists are keen to try.-Monstersandcritics.com Michael Lakin shows how to produce flower paintings using the traditional style and methods of the great botanical artists of the past. Success depends on a close study of your subject and a methodical approach to its painting. The book opens with an introduction to materials and basic equipment, before moving on to advice on choosing your subject, composition, drawing techniques and how to transfer your image to your chosen watercolour paper. Colour is particularly important to the botanical artist, and there is a concise, but clear section on using colour and, in particular, mixing greens. Michael then introduces his six stages of painting, from the first wash, through tonal washes, crossovers, harmonisation, adding fine details and, finally, applying discretionary washes to blend tones without destroying the detail. The main body of the book is devoted to the detailed exploration of 26 flowers - one for each letter of the alphabet, from the aquilegia to the zantedeschia (calla lily).-Leisure Painter After a brief introductory section discussing materials, equipment, technique, and the basic parts of a flower, art instructor Lakin (Botanical Flowers in Watercolour) shares with readers his exacting six-stage watercolor process. Twenty-six flowers are then presented in alphabetical order by their Latin names, similarly to recipes in a cookbook. The author provides an overview of the flower with diagrams of its shape and notes on its colors, and then outlines the six-stage process readers can follow to produce a competent watercolor rendition, including details such as which type of brush to use. VERDICT Watercolor hobbyists and garden enthusiasts alike may enjoy this book.-Library Journal USA
About the Author
Michael Lakin was born and bred in South Derbyshire. His early learning was basic but he always excelled in art. After leaving school he moved into engineering, becoming a manager, before he left to start his own business. Michael kept up art as a hobby and began to teach classes in Botanical Art to adults at Derby WEA. Since then he has exhibited in London and other parts of the UK. He has a purpose-built studio next to his rural home, where he teaches and gives demonstrations throughout the year.