Village in the Snow

Sometimes it does you good to revisit the people/books/videos/etc that inspired and influenced you to take up painting in the first place and helped your development. Maybe you need an ‘inspiration boost’, or a reminder of a particular style or technique, or perhaps you just want to see how you’ve progressed since that initial nudge.

On my shelf there are over twenty ‘Teach Yourself’ books and almost as many reference books on particular artists and schools, which I’ve collected over the years. Added to that I now follow many pen & watercolour artists on YouTube and have attended a few face-to-face classes. So I’ve had a pretty wide range of influences over the years.

Alwyn Crawshaw got me started in watercolours, with his ‘Brush with Art’ TV series and book in the 1990s. His presentation style is so enthusiastic you can’t help but give it a go.

However, I was surprised to find that I had more instructional books by the late Ray Campbell Smith in my collection than any other author. I’d forgotten that I’d completed many of his projects whilst developing my own style, although I now prefer a more vibrant palette so probably won’t be revisiting his books.

Nevertheless, having scanned through my books by Charles Evans, Grahame Booth, Terry Harrison, Joe Francis Dowden and Liz Steel whilst writing this post, there are some in my collection that are most definitely worth revisiting.

It was the book ‘Watercolour Landscapes’ by the late Terry Harrison that inspired this post. I’ve been commissioned to do a portrait of a beautiful Victorian house in the snow and remembered that one of Terry’s books included a ‘Village in the Snow’ project which I’d completed many years ago. I thought it would be helpful to try this project again, but in pen & watercolour this time. The photo above shows the result.

It was definitely a worthwhile exercise. I learned a lot from re-doing this project that will help with my commission and I’ve also learned that I’d benefit from going back through at least some of the books in my collection.

What inspired you to take up watercolour? Are there any specific artists or books that you’d recommend to anyone just starting their watercolour journey?

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