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A-Z of Flower Portraits


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Table of Contents

  • A truly inspirational book by a well-known contemporary watercolour artist.
  • 40 beautiful paintings accompanied by step-by-step instructions.
  • Includes sections on materials and equipment, techniques and composition.

About the Author

Billy Showell graduated from St Martins School of Art with a B.A. in fashion design, but was irresistably drawn to painting and illustration. In 1993 she set course for a career as an artist and now paints, illustrates and teaches botanical painting at her studio and art clubs in the UK, USA and Australia. She lives in Tunbridge Wells, UK with her husband and two sons. Billy has been awarded five Certificates of Botanical Merit from the Society of Botanical Artists and her first book on watercolour flower portraits has been hugely successful in the UK and abroad. Billy's paintings are collected by her followers the world over and many are available as limited edition prints.


Billy Showell approaches her subjects with the same level of accuracy as botanical artists. Her flowers are meticulous and realistic, but infused with her distinctive sense of design to give them a modern twist. This book gives information on materials and equipment needed, as well as clear instructions on the main techniques used, including wet-in-wet, laying glazes, dry brushing, lifting out, using body colour, masking and creating texture and pattern. There are details on colour mixing and on how to get the best out of brushes as well as insights into composition ideas and on keeping a sketchbook. There are also detailed step-by-step instructions showing how to paint 40 specific flower portraits, each accompanied by small studies, including a colour swatch illustrating the palette and paint mixes used for the work. Billy Showell's fans will need no further recommendation. If you are new to her work, you will be delighted at the clarity of instruction, the delicacy and vibrancy of the paintings, and the invaluable advice and inspiration this book offers.-The Artist Following her successful volumes on flowers, fruit and veg, Billy Showell returns with a collection of step-by-step instructions for painting a variety of plant species, alongside information on specific techniques like masking out and glazing. Showell doesn't aim for strict botanical accuracy, instead opting for a fresher artistic flourish in her work. While the practical aspect of the book is undebiably useful, this is also a great chance to see the artist's intricate flower portraits reproduced across many of the spreads. From anemone seeds to spots on the petals of a Stargazer, the level of detail she has achieved is astonishing, particulary considering these are watercolours. It all confirms Showell not just as an impressive floral painter, but also as one of the UK's leading watercolour artists in any genre.-Artists & Illustrators If you want to paint professional and attractive botanical pictures of flowers, here is a good place to start. Ms Showell's earlier book on Watercolor Fruit and Vegetable Portraits (also reviewed on this site) showed how lovely even the humble spud could look when transformed into the sort of painting you could encounter in a priceless 18th century book. Now this talented artist turns her hand to flower painting, and it is time to get those watercolors out once again. Actually you can also find my review of Watercolour Flower Portraits in our archives as well, so prepare for more beautiful floral studies. Search Press is not known for their hardcover books but this is one, which will perhaps give you a clue that this is going to be something special. I love the way the flowers look so three-dimensional against the starkness of the white paper, and if your watercolors manage to look insipid then this is one lesson you can learn from this book to start with. There is good advice about composition, keeping a sketchbook and of course what to buy as well as mastering techniques such as wet-in-wet, color mixing, masking etc. Of course much of this is common to watercolor painting of any type, but I liked how it was all applied to florals with plenty of examples. Here too is advice on veining your leaves; painting fine hairs on stems, creating realistic water droplets and what colors you need to buy for flower painting. The flowers chosen are all garden favourites, ranging from traditional roses and lilies to daffodils and fritillaries, as well as yuccas, pitcher plants and quesnelia. Each project features a large, whole page study of the bloom along with a pencil sketch of part of it with some color added. There are instructions (not the type with staged photographs but just in writing) as well as a color swatch of all the paints you need to buy and what they look like mixed into the relevant shades. A short piece about the flowers together with the artist's own reason for choosing them completes the entry, making it eminently suitable for all those watercolorists who have progressed beyond beginner primers and are wanting something more intermediate and relevant to their chosen subject. This is also just a lovely book to gaze at, a celebration of flowers and a handsome addition to bookshelves (and coffee tables) everywhere. Highly recommended.-Myshelf.com

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