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David Bellamy's Skies, Light and Atmosphere


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About the Author

David Bellamy was brought up and lives in Wales, so it is no wonder that he has always been fascinated by wild places. Highly regarded as a teacher of art, David has a tremendous following among leisure painters, many of whom have attended his extremely popular courses and workshops both in the UK and overseas. He gives demonstrations and talks, has produced five successful videos on watercolour painting and is a regular contributor to Leisure Painter magazine.


Most books about the rather esoteric subjects of light and atmosphere tend to concentrate on what and why, but have little to say about how. Although David Bellamy's new book is packed with the dramatic landscapes that characterise much of his style, the emphasis throughout is refreshingly on the practical. It is divided into three main sections covering the subjects mentioned in the title and comprises a look at the various aspects of each, with plenty of examples illustrations. The section concludes with a short demonstration showing how the desired effects is achieved. David covers a good variety of subjects and conditions and this is one of his best and most useful books to date.-The Artist After some forays into more general books, it's nice to see David getting back to the subjects he's best known for and, let's be honest, he's most comfortable with. The book follows David's fairly discursive style, with explanations, examples and demonstrations for each section - the three elements of the title are taken separately. There's an excellent variety of material here, from mountains to landscapes and settings both in the UK and abroad, which makes for a good choice of approaches. There's really not a lot more I can say. This is classic Bellamy and well up to the standard we've come to expect of Regular readers of Leisure Painter will know that David Bellamy really understands the needs of the amateur painter and can provide clear instruction on how to paint all aspects of watercolour. In his latest book on the medium, David turns his attention to capturing what he regards as the three main ingredients of a successful painting: skies, light and atmosphere, explaining how even the most mundane of subjects can be transformed by the right lighting and mood. The book opens with information on materials needed to get started. Quite quickly thought David moves on to look at skies, and demonstrates various techniques, such as lifting out and wet in wet to create the effects you need. For example, types of clouds, sky compositions, sunsets, shafts of sunlight are all described clearly before David embarks on a 12-stage step-by-step demonstrations showing how to create a sky full of drama. Light comes next and further techniques are introduced, such as laying glazes to increase light effects, using cast shadows, directional, reflected or intense light. This is followed by a step-by-step demonstration of a cottage in a landscape to explore painting sunlight and shadow. The final section looks at atmosphere and a good selection of David's watercolours highlight the techniques that can be used to suggest atmospheric effects, such as space and distance, mist, rain squalls and snowfall. The closing demonstration is of a waterfall in which David puts into practice many of the techniques he has described.-Leisure Painter

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