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Mastering Atmosphere and Mood in Watercolor [Hardcover]

Joseph Zbukvic
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: International Artist Publishing,US (July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1929834179
  • ISBN-13: 978-1929834174
  • Product Dimensions: 29.5 x 22 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 746,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


As Joseph Zbukvic explains, in order to set the mood in a composition, artists need to set their clocks - their watercolour clocks, that is. The watercolour clock is a simple, but ingenious teaching device Zbukvic created to show artists how to manipulate watercolor materials for dazzling, atmospheric effects. The "clock" accompanies every visual example in this book, helping artists anticipate how the condition of the paper (wet, dry, moderate, etc.) will react to various watercolor mixes. Based on this teaching principle, Zbukvic guides artists through step-by-step demonstrations that clearly illustrate how to: Identify a subject; Plan a painting; Control colour and value; Manipulate edges; Add the right finishing touches.: With this book, artists can achieve a greater level of mastery with watercolour and deeper, richer paintings.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a modern how-to approach 26 Sep 2003
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Yet another extra-ordinarily talented painter sets out his approach in a book that contains many illustrations, including number of sequences showing a picture being built up. Probably better suited to improvers than novices, Zbukvic uses the device of a 'watercolour clock' to explain the use of paint and water, but this is rather idiosyncratic. More appealing to me is the logical layout of the chapters into the main design criteria that every artist should think about: mood, tone, edges etc. These make the difference between lucky success and consistent success.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten Stars all the way 8 Dec 2012
By Steve G
Never have I paid out so much for a book as this one, but it was worth every penny. Joseph Zbukvic really goes to town with his easy way in this book. To me it is one of the top books in teaching watercolor I have ever seen. The paintings he shows you alone are a real page turner. I know this book is going through the roof now, but if you ever manage to get hold of one, well within the reach of your pocket, then don't let it slip away. This is one book that I will be holding on to.

Well done you, Joseph Zbukvic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars buy this book 29 Dec 2002
By A Customer - Published on
The approach that Mr. Joseph Zbukvic uses in his book is fascinating. For me, he takes the mystery out of painting watercolor and breaks it down into a more understandable approach. What I like about it is that he explains the different consistencies that paint should be when applied to the paper. His consistency of paint is described as: tea, coffee, milk, cream and butter. The dampness of paper is described as: dry, damp, moist, and wet. He ties these ideas together by using a concept of a clock. The concept of a clock is used to explain when and how paper and paint should be used together. An example of one of his demonstrations: laying in the first background wash to paper, the paper is dry and the paint is in the consistency of tea. His demonstrations in the book are clear and easy to understand especially with this "clock" method. He also writes very well and it is an enjoyable read. I love the way he paints and the price of the book alone is worth just looking at his paintings.
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning effects by manipulating the amount of moisture 21 Nov 2002
By Joanna Daneman - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The example paintings in Joseph Zbukvic's "Mastering Atmosphere and Mood" are stunning. By manipulating the amount of moisture ON the paper and IN the wash of paint, Zbuvic creates strong contrast between ethereal washes and densely painting architectural or landscape elements.
Zbuvic uses a device he calls a clock, which consists of a circle divided into wedges; the left side gauging the amount of water on the paper (from shiny wet to bone dry) and the right side gauging the amount of water mixed into the paint, from weak "tea" to "butter" or thick paint. This is rather original, but it does communicate an awareness of the moisture levels in both paint and paper to the artist. One example painting that really stands out is a rainy scene of downtown Melbourne, Australia. The street is lightly washed to allow the paper beneath to create the white shine of a wet street; the buildings and headlight reflections are painted more densely to provide either solidity (the building) or glow (the headlights.)
Most books on watercolor demonstrate a layered method of washes followed by glazes (paint over paint.) The end result can often be muddy for beginners in watercolor. This method is quite different in how it describes laying down washes and glazes, and can help the watercolorist achieve transparent atmosphere effects by paying attention to the water. If you've run into a brick wall with your current method of painting, this might be a great book to give a boost to your technique.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ESSENTIAL 6 Oct 2002
By "bmart01" - Published on
I think this book is essential for one trying get a handle on this sometimes frustrating medium. One of the critical parts in watercolor painting is judging the amount of water in the paper and on the brush to get the effect one seeks. It's a tricky process but one which this friendly book makes understandable and attainable. I've been painting for 25 years and have bought scores of books on the subject, finding something useful to nearly all of them. But this book, along with two others, I consider to be MUSTS. The others are Robert Lovett's "The Art of Designing Watercolors" and Tony Couch's "Watercolor: You Can Do It."
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for Intermediate to Advanced Watercolorists 21 July 2005
By CD - Published on
Zbukvic is a rising star in the world of watercolor. His art is magnificent! The cost of this book is worth it if it were only to have a coffee table collection of his art. However, I found this book to be extremely well-written and effective instructionally. The main thrust of the book is to examine the variances in watercolor application as it relates to the degrees of paper wetness and paint dilution. Using practical terms that demonstrate those consistencies, Zbukvic systematically instructs the student as to the instances in which each combination should be utitlized. I LOVE the fact that he does not bog down the experienced watercolorist with the token chapters on "Watercolor 101" skills. He does share his palette choices and typical technique pitfalls, but primarily sets right out into his technique demonstrations. The text is very interesting, unlike most watercolor books I have in my library. The only disappointment I had with the book is that, after reading it, I still don't paint like him! LOL!

Addressing another reviewer who criticized the book for using Australianisms like the word "tyre" and for supposedly mislabling a large painting with smaller dimensions, I would like to refute both of those assertions. The word "tyre" is the only Australianism I saw. There may be others, but it is most certainly not to the point of distraction. Also, if you will read the text beside the photo described as mislabled, it clearly explains that the smaller painting served as the springboard for the larger class demonstration in the other photos. The only slight criticism I have of the book is that much of the text is written in a light gray color which was difficult to read in the evenings under lamplight.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Art of this calibre can't be taught 21 July 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Great paintings. I feel the paintings in this book are almost too great, and too difficult to emulte. That being said there are a few step by step demos that unveil the mystery a bit. The book is great because of the calibre of the art. However, the teaching idea of the book is a watercolor clock that is pure gimmick and conveys nothing. The revolutionary "clock" is merely a list of possible paper wetnesses and paint consistencies with no aid to tell you when to use what. The hands of the clock serve no purpose and take them away and the fancy looking tool is nothing more than a list arranged as clock. In other words it loos like it is telling you something useful but it actually isn't. Utterly useless. 5 stars because of the quality of painting. 1 star for instruction.
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