My first love is landscape painting. Is it so hard to find someone who loves and can teach it to beginning, intermediate and advance artists? Yes! Especially with all of the books out there with lures like glossy pages, artwork that looks as if you can touch the water, hills, trees through the pages, and fancy bookcovers with titles that hook, line, and sink into the psyche luring one onto the rocks (via purchases) only to disappoint.
I've bought a few of those. However, upon trying to read the book, it basically required a thesaurus nearby just to understand what the heck they're trying to explain about a simple technique.
Fast-forward to James Fletcher-Watson. None of the glitz and glamour. A few color pages, but in the earlier books, a lot of black and white photographs of paintings as well - so be forewarned.
I started reading his earlier books and like mints I had to have more and more. Fletcher-Watson just talks to you. He's not impressed with himself so does not feel he has to impress anyone. He just paints, and more importantly can put it into plain words what he's doing. I have his books and all of the DVD's he made in his lifetime. He only made about three DVD's to my knowledge.
I'm a former schoolteacher and beginning watercolor artist. I purchased all of his books and all of the DVD's from amazon. The books were all used. Hey, I'm an artist and have hundreds of books, and since I'd never heard of Fletcher-Watson, I had to be sure. After I enjoyed the books, I continued to buy them used from amazon used books. Why? If it ain't broke don't fix it. I have yet to be disappointed with any of the Fletcher-Watson books that I've purchased and the books were not all from the same seller.
But, back to Fletcher-Watson and his book, "Water-Colour Painting". He uses few if any tricks, with painting. He makes good use of his little pin knife that he carries to scrape a few grasses - so it's all about traditional painting using his favorite kolinsky sable and natural bristle brushes; professional paints and paper - and most importantly - working on location.
I teach watercolor painting at our local art center and use many of his quotations and artworks as examples of a man who was willing to pass on all of his experience, information and technqiues to his students in a language they could understand. If you're not an artist - the books are just good reading. James Fletcher-Watson, Robert Wade, Mary Whyte, Hilary Page, Nita Engle, Susan Harrison-Tustain and Patricia Weaver are artist, I feel - never forget when writing books - the target audience is not - 'them' - but others, like my students and I - who are waiting with baited breath for some tidbit that will inspire us to continue painting. The above artists write so that the most elementary to the most advance of students can understand. Hilary is the more technical of the listing - love her books - but then again she even does that brilliantly. All of the above also have great DVD's as well. One word of caution - they don't come cheap. I'm sure there are others out there as well but for my needs...Just FYI.