I’m aware that I get set in my ways so Felix Scheinberger’s Urban Watercolour Sketching made perfect holiday reading when we were in the Dales a few weeks ago. It’s a short refresher course in watercolour, one that I’ll dip into again.
This is an illustrator’s approach and the examples are almost exclusively pen and ink and watercolour rather than pure watercolour, which suits me because that’s invariably the way I work.
The English watercolour tradition is wistully rural, going back via John Piper and Beatrix Potter to Girtin and Cotman so it’s refreshing to have Scheinberger go through the rudiments of watercolour so briskly and thoroughly from a streetwise, rather punkish perspective.
It’s a great opportunity for me to reconsider all the aspects of watercolours that I’m familiar and a few that had never occurred to me. For instance, I like the way he champions indigo and Naples yellow; colours which I’ve dismissed because of their apparent disadvantages. Disadvantages which he suggests can be turned to your advantage for certain subjects. Must try them.
As an illustrator I like the way he rounds off the book by touching on page design, developing ideas and the perennial question of ‘how much is your picture worth?’
As for the urban element, I’m afraid that he can’t convince me that I’d enjoy painting a prefab block of apartments in Romania more than an old farm Provence, but I can see what he’s getting at.
Link; Felix Scheinberger; his website, which, by the way, is in German.