This might seem quite a niche title, but in fact dedicating a book solely to techniques for painting a type of food is a brilliant source of information and advice. Traditional methods, as well as unconventional ideas, cater for beginners to more experienced artists. The tips garnered here are sure to extend past the fruit bowl or vegetable patch. Anyone in doubt as to the results possible need only look at any of Showell's exceptionally detailed and inspirational works which feature on every page.-Artist's & Illustrators Books about painting flowers and trees are everywhere, but fruit and vegetables? Surely they belong in the garden or the kitchen - A look into this lovely book will reveal otherwise, and show the rose in every cabbage. Paintings reminiscent of early 19th century botanicals rub shoulders with the more playful, modern studies and will surely make you see fruit and veg in a new light. Last year I reviewed this author's Watercolour Flower Portraits (look in the site archives) and was impressed but it is easy to make flowers look good. Now Ms Showell shows you how to get the most out of a wide range of fruit and vegetables. The paintings leap off the pale backgrounds and manage to look luscious and juicy, show off their interesting shapes and often their accompanying flowers. Of course there is the usual shopping list of what you need together with some hints as to how to use some ordinary objects for art, as well as composition, working from photographs and keeping a sketchbook. I like the color mixing section that instead of blobs shows appropriately colored vegetables (yellow bananas for example) and the playful compositions that make "still life" seem more lively and less still. There are lots of examples to work though showing how to make lemons look knobbly and aubergines too shiny to name two examples, as well as longer studies to copy with staged photographs. I particularly liked the section on painting white vegetables on white paper and making them stand out, and overall I thought that you can learn a lot of "tricks of the trade" from this book that you can apply to many other types of painting. This is an impressive primer, and suitable for a wide range of abilities.-Myshelf.com On the face of it, this seems a pretty unlikely idea for a book. I mean, I can see the attraction of flower portraits, obviously, but the ingredients for soup? On the other hand, when you see the really rather beautiful results that Billy gets, it's ten to one you're going to want to have a go yourself. However, if it wasn't done as well as it is here, I still contend that you'd lower your gaze and hurry on by. But no matter. The greengrocer's stock in trade provides a wealth of colour and texture and something you, as an artist, can really get your teeth in to (yes, yes, I know, but you should see the jokes that got edited out!) and there are some really serious exercises in watercolour virtuosity here. Clearly, this is not a book aimed at the beginner and all of the introductory material is written for the experienced artist who just needs a little guidance in what's required for this specific subject matter - there's none of the elementary how-to-paint stuff that plagues so many books. It's nice to be treated as a grown-up for once and this is undoubtedly going to make you well-disposed towards the author before you even get started and that can't be a bad thing. After that, it's straight into the subject matter with a nicely varied chapter on drawing a wide range of different shaped vegetables and fruit. From here. it's on to composition though, as this is a book of portraits (that is to say, the bare subject without any real context) this tends toward some sometimes slightly bizarre arrangements, the value of which I'm not totally sure of. However, this is a bit of a quibble, because the next chapter is about colour and this is really valuable as it deals with shades you may well not have encountered before and Billy offers some excellently clear advice that's likely to be useful in all your work, not just this specialised area. There's a lot more on light and shade, dealing with white vegetables, flowers and details before a set of projects where Billy demonstrates four subjects in some detail. If you're tired of the same old subjects and you fancy something that's really going to challenge your abilities as a painter, then this is undoubtedly the book for you.-Artbookreview.net Billy Showell is one of my favourite authors and watercolorists. I reviewed her book 'Watercolour Flower Portraits' earlier (see review). Here is a fruit and vegetable companion that is every bit as good. If you want to be a watercolour botanical artist, Billy is someone to look up to. Her style is fresh with just the right amount of detail. Her colours are vibrant. In this book, Billy shows how to glaze, lift, use the dry brush technique, colour blend, strengthen colour and so much more. She paints a wonderful array of vegetables from humble carrots to aubergines (eggplant). As with her flowers book, Billy does not shun the difficult aspects and here we find a chapter on white vegetables. There are complete step-by-step instructions for kohl rabi, pumpkin, lemon and mixed berries. Billy Showell's paintings are so life-like you could eat them right off the page. Don't miss this 128 page book - I doubt that you will find better.-KarenPlatt.co.uk I can't tell you how excited I was to receive this book. Billy's last book had kept me enthralled with the way she replicates flowers in an almost botanical style and yet renders them into lively and interesting paintings. To have this covering fruit and vegetables was bound to be something special and I was not disappointed. As Billy says - the beauty of painting fruit and vegetables is that they are readily available, and of course cover a huge range of colours and shapes. She begins with advice on the selection of materials, telling us what she personally uses and why. Starting with drawing the subject she says that with time and practice drawing is a skill anyone can acquire, and the key is observation of the plant and the way it is structured. Observe it thoroughly before you begin making notes of any special features such as textures and pattens. Following this advice there are numerous small sketches and paintings of different subjects and billy gives useful hints on what is important about each, such as the pattern on the strawberry and the necessity to measure sections to ensure you have the subject in correct proportions. She explains how essential it is to take time to create an interesting composition. One of the things I particularly love about Billy's work is her quirky and fun compositions that bring life to her paintings. She says when selecting fruit or vegetables for painting to look for those with interesting shapes or textures. She also says how useful it is to have a small sketchbook for recoding material and ideas that are available but you may not have the time to paint them at that moment. Unlike inanimate objects often used for still life fruit, vegetables and flowers only have a fleeting time for you to paint them. One very useful tip she gives is to use tracing paper to transfer a drawing you've made onto watercolour paper. By keeping your original drawing onto sketch paper which will take erasing you don't destroy the surface of the watercolour paper with an eraser by changing the composition as you work. Billy explains how she uses lighting to create shadows on her works which add another dimension of interest,and tempers this with advice to check the rules before working on a piece for a particular exhibition as this is sometimes barred. There is so much information she covers on colour and colour mixing, lighting and the many techniques she uses that the reader will be engrossed for hours. Armed with this advice and plenty of practice one should be able to work on one's own composition as Billy's advice is just so comprehensive and easily understood, being accompanied by an excellent selection of illustrations for each technique. As well as the simpler sections for the more beginner artist there are some fabulous demonstrations at the end of the book to capture the interest of the more advanced painter. This beautifully illustrated and unusual book will be one the artist will want to return to again and again, not just to work from but to enjoy the fabulous paintings it contains. A terrific present for any watercolour artist.-JeannieZelos.com In this visually striking book the author clearly explains how to create the shapes and textures of fruit, vegetables and blossoms, with detailed step-by-step instruction. Starting with basic techniques and the use of colour, Billy shows how watercolour can be developed to produce paintings with a difference. There's also plenty of useful tips on difficult areas, such as painting white subjects and subtle hues.-The Leisure Painter What a treat is in store when you open the pages to this book. Billy's exquisitely executed watercolours are painted in the botanical style, but with a refreshing contemporary twist. The book includes expert advice on choosing your materials, drawing, colour mixing, composition and painting techniques; and there are four step-by-step projects to follow. A truly inspirational book. Fruit and vegetables will never be seen in the same light again. (Jane Stroud)-The Leisure Painter
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.