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Book Club: Water Paper Paint by Heather Smith Jones

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Now, onto today's post...


It's time for our September Book Club!  Just as a reminder, each month I choose a crafty book from my bookshelf and create something inspired by the book.   I hope you'll be inspired to do the same.

Last month we didn't have a book because of all the "Your Favorite Books" posts (1, 2, 3, 4).  This month, however, I chose Water Paper Paint by Heather Smith Jones.

This is a book all about watercolor!  The author is a fine artist with both a BFA and a MFA.  Her artwork is intensely colored with a wonky sensibility and she mixes fine lines and handwriting with the splashes of color.

Water Paper Paint is divided into three major sections...

  1. Basics
  2. Projects
  3. Gallery

...with the bulk of the book content concentrated in the middle section.

In "Basics," author Heather Smith Jones shares her tips on paper, paint, palettes, and brushes.  There's lots of good and easy-to-understand information for watercolor beginners on the types of supplies you'll want to gather.  Heather supplies some history of the supplies and reasons that you might choose one supply over another.  She even guides you through which colors to buy and some options on how to arrange your palette.

In the vast "Projects" section (there are 30 projects), Heather takes you through each project step-by-step.  I should say that I think the term "project" is a little misleading.  Most of the early ones are techniques, not projects.  For instance, the first three "projects" in the book are:

  1. Working Wet into Wet
  2. Working Wet onto Dry
  3. Dabbing with Different Materials

Whereas the last three "projects" are:

28. Magazine Collage
29. Botanical Painting
30. An Artist's Book

As you can see, they're much more in the traditional "project" mode. 

The "Gallery" section includes some pieces by other artists working in watercolor.  It's nice to see lots of different styles represented.  There's also a short resource, bio, and acknowledgment section.

I've been working with watercolor for quite a while and so I found most of the book basic.  However, there was one technique that made me sit up and take notice and get out my papers and paints to play.

It's Project 25: Print and Paint: Adding Watercolor to a Monotype.  

Here's what I made inspired by that technique:

And here is a test print that didn't work the way I thought it would, but I still love it:

(I think the slight color difference between the two images is because the first one is a scan of the artwork and the second one is a photograph of the artwork.)

In my opinion Water Paper Paint is an excellent choice for a watercolor beginner.  It provides a nice overall introduction with lots of good suggestions for a beginner.  I think it's a user friendly book  (filled with photos) and practically written as well.

What do you think?  Have you read Water Paper Paint?

Thanks for stopping by!