Whether to publish a series of books on painting in specific places has been the subject of often quite anguished discussions over the years. On the one hand, people go on holiday and the idea of a guide to where to look, what to paint and what materials to take looks like the proverbial no-brainer. On the other hand, books on painting on holiday sell like stale cakes. So it's quite amusing to find that the Ready to Paint series has developed a branch that takes this idea one step further, with its pre-printed tracings of classic subjects in a variety of cities. But then again, with all that done for you, do you really need to spring for the air ticket as well? The real purpose here, it seems to me, is that you can paint the Grand Canal at sunset in the comfort of your own living room, and get make a decent fist of it at the same time. I mean, what's not to like? (That was a rhetorical question, please don't write in.)-Artbookreview.net As ever in the Ready to Paint series there are tracings of the artworks used in the book so that the student can concentrate on the techniques used. This is useful for those people who worry about getting the drawings right before even picking up a paintbrush - this way they can concentrate on the painting part and have fun. That's what arts about for many of us isn't it? I'm a huge fan of Joe's style - one of the first books I bought when I began painting was one of his on water and he has a dramatic, realistic and colour filled style that I love. In this book he recreates some fabulous scenes from Venice from beautiful vivid blue covered Gondolas to a typical Venetian skyline in soft tones of oranges and violets with gentle muted buildings in the distance and a mass of figures busily walking by the waterside, and some lovely water and building focussed paintings of the Grand Canal. A scene from the heart of Venice and the beautiful Rialto bridge finish the demo paintings. The scenes in this book appear fairly complex but with the initial drawings done for you and ready to trace and Joe's easy to follow instructions you can soon be painting realistic skies, glorious architecture and have fun capturing the stunning light that epitomises Venice. This fabulous book is one for the people who, like me - love their watercolours to be full of light and vivid dramatic colours.-JeannieZelos.com --JeannieZelos.com
About the Author
Joe Francis Dowden gave up building-site labouring at the age of twenty-three to become a professional watercolour painter and part-time window cleaner. Working as a window cleaner gives Joe the freedom to scout out beautiful views amongst the lowland woods and streams of the Weald of Southern England. Joe loves painting water and marine subjects and his paintings are full of texture and detail. He has sold out at numerous one-man shows and exhibited throughout Britain. His work is in collections in the USA, Australia and the Far East. When not painting or cleaning windows, Joe enjoys restoring classic motorcycles and working as a volunteer on steam railways.