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The Natural Way to Paint: Rendering the Figure in Watercolor Simply and Beautifully [Paperback]

Charles Reid
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1 2000
This instructional book approaches the figure organically, showing readers how to observe its basic shapes and subtle nuances through practical exercises and lessons in the art of seeing with a painter’s eye. Step-by-step demonstrations in contour drawing teach how to capture the overall essence of the human form, then lessons in gesture drawing emphasize the body’s linear rhythms in various poses. Painting techniques progress from silhouette to three-dimensional forms through clever uses of light, shadow, color, and value.

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About the Author

Charles Reid, the author of Painting What You (Want to) See and other fine art instruction books, is a popular teacher and widely exhibited artist and illustrator. He lives in Greens Farm, Connecticut.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and inspiring book July 16 2002
I was captivated by this book when I first flicked through it. The striking pictures of naked women probably helped but Charles' unique style really is what captivates. For example, one of my favorite pictures is of an old man fly fising. This book inspired me to first reproduce some of my favorite pictures from the book and then to do a series of paintings myself -- a good learning experience. The book is well illustrated (of course) and layed out, and would be a great tutorial in watercolor painting and/or painting people (clothed or otherwise). Charles also wrote a similar book on painting flowers (not of interest to me) and an older less colorful book on painting portraits -- which I was fortunate enough to pick up cheaply and new in a second-hand store. This book is the best of the three though.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Colorful, sketchy and loose style Aug. 23 2002
In general there are very different styles of portraits or figure painting, from very photographically detailed and accurate to rough sketches. This book is about a kind of very rough watercolor figure sketches with strong and varied colors. The colors are exaggerated and more of expression than accurate "true" ones. Some like this style and some don't, for those who like it this book is a gem!
For me that like the more naturalistic figure it is still a source for inspiration even though I won't copy his style.
I can recommend the book, not as your first or only figure painting book, but as your second or third, it will spice up your collection.
As a side note, the book is printed with a paper/ink combination that smells so bad I have had to let it lie for a while before I can read it... That part of the impression of the book is not worth even one star :-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent course in drawing people Feb. 26 2004
This book begins with a couple exercises intended to improve your ability at drawing people with pencil. All of these are ones I've utilized before in college art classes. These are followed by several exercises intended to improve your ability at drawing people with watercolor. All exercises focus on quick drawings. His paintings often use exagerated colors, to simplify the reader's task of figuring out what is happening. Together, these exercizes (and a lot of practice) are bound to greatly improve your artistic ability.
Even if you prefer to do slow detailed paintings, the quick paced exercises are an invaluable tool to improve your ability to draw people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Watercolor Figurative Instruction Aug. 5 2001
Mr. Reid has a unique style which I love but which may not be for everyone. His book will be most useful for those chosing to emulate his style but will also be very informative for those following a different style.
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