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GOOD INTRO TO A "SPLASHY" BIG BRUSH WATERCOLOUR SCHOOL
on 23 February 2013
This is just one of many books I have on this general theme, but if not the most spectacular, it's certainly in the top rank for guidance, for a number of reasons. It's a pity, in a way, that the author spent so many years fingering the collars of criminals and putting out fires before turning to art full-time; not that he's done badly since - you just wonder what the outcome might have been if he'd been a full-time professional artist from day one.
Edwards freely acknowledges his debt to the late Zoltan Szabo, the Hungarian-born Canadian/American artist, and that debt is very evident in his work; but it is equally representative of a particular impressionist (with a small "i") American watercolour school, which had its principal origins in Edgar Whitney(1894-1987, who in turn influenced (and often taught) many other notables such as Frank Webb, Tony Couch, and Skip Lawrence - even our own Ron "Big Brush" Ranson - and possibly Zsabo, too, all of them being noted teachers as well as artists. (And all having produced books, incidentally, any of which are well worth having, although perhaps not Szabo's entire large output.)
Edwards is thus one of the current custodians of an established tradition which has much to recommend it. The loose, splashy watercolour is the most difficult kind to master, and if this be your goal, this book is as good an introduction as you will find - and comes with a 32 minute DVD (which I haven't viewed).
Be aware that if you wish to emulate the author precisely and employ his favoured watercolour brand, MaimeriBlu, you will need to fork out around £120 for 14 x 15ml tubes and a large palette with enough space to squeeze out the entire contents of every tube in separate wells; he sells his own "Sterling Edwards Big Brush Pallette" for this purpose (and his own very expensive set of brushes), and whilst you would need to import that from the US, other "Big Brush Palettes" are available in the UK. It would be preferable not to try to copy the author's style so precisely, however, but simply to follow his lead using your own subject-matter, materials and equipment, and, in my view, employing fewer pigments, at least to start with - but do use that big brush...