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A-Z of Flower Portraits
  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BB Hardback
  • Publication: 09 September 2010
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781844484522
  • Stock: 50+
  • Size: 216x292 mm
  • Illustrations: 200
  • Pages: 128
  • RRP: £17.99
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A-Z of Flower Portraits


An illustrated guide to painting 40 beautiful flowers in watercolour by Billy Showell (Author)

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Book Description

Billy Showell is a well-respected contemporary artist whose watercolour flower portraits have earned her the respect of watercolour artists all over the world. Worked to the same degree of accuracy as traditional botanical paintings, Billy's compositions are given a more contemporary twist, combining her unique eye for design with her love of flowers.

In this book, 40 flower portraits are presented, arranged in alphabetical order, each one accompanied by small studies, details, step-by-step instructions and the colour mixes used to accomplish the finished work. At the start of the book there are useful sections on the materials and equipment needed and the main techniques used, including wet-into-wet, colour blending, lifting out, layering glazes, dry brushing and colour mixing, and at the end of the book Billy gives her own unique slant on composition and discusses the importance of creating a sketchbook. Whether you love to paint, or simply love flowers, this book will delight and inspire you.

Table of Contents

Introduction 6
Composition 10
Materials & equipment 22
Techniques 24
Index 128

The Flowers
Anemone 48, Aquilegia 46, Bergenia 50, Camellia 52, Clematis 54, Dicentra 56, Erythronium 58, Freesia 60, Fritillaria 62, 64, Galanthus 66, Gerbera 68, Helleborus 70, Hydrangea 72 & 74, Iris 76, Jasminum 78, Knautia 80, Lathyrus 82, Lilium 84, Lonicera 86, Magnolia 88, Narcissus 90, Nerine 92, Ornithogalum 94, Philadelphus 96, Podranea 98, Quesnelia 100, Rosa 102, Sarracenia 104, Spathiphyllum 106, Trachelospermum 108, Tulipa 110 & 112, Uvularia 114, Verbena 116, Weigela 118, Wisteria 120, Xeranthemum 122, Yucca 124, Zantedeschia 126

About the Author

About Billy Showell

Billy Showell graduated from St Martins School of Art with a B.A. in fashion design, but was irresistibly drawn to painting and illustration. She is now a renowned botanical fine artist and tutor. Billy works from her studio in Kent and teaches via her online school of botanical art. She also travels to teach throughout the UK, the USA and Australia.

Billy has been awarded many awards for botanical excellence from the Society of Botanical Artists; a gold medal from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh; and a Royal Horticultural Society silver-gilt medal. She has written and illustrated four best-selling practical art books which have been translated into many languages. Billy's paintings are collected by her followers the world over and held in many prestigious botanical collections. Visit her website www.billyshowell.com.


The SAA Catalogue 19/20

Billy shows you how to complete beautiful flower portraits with the same degree of accuracy as traditional botanical paintings but with a unique contemporary feel.

Guiding you through 40 flower portraits, each one is accompanied by small studies, details, colour mixes and step-by-step instructions.

Leisure Painter, The

Dec 10

Following her first two books on painting flowers Watercolour Flower Portraits and Watercolour Fruit & Vegetable Portraits, Billy Showell brings us her A-Z of Flower Portraits. The book opens with a section on composition, followed by useful advice on keeping a sketchbook, placing the flowers on the paper, and the importance of lighting. A chapter on materials and equipment precedes several pages on techniques, including such subjects as colour blending, lifting out, negative veining (a way of creating pale veins by lifting out fine, bright lines), layering glazes, masking out and texture and pattern. Billy realises that most of us dont have endless time to experiment with colour mixes and helps us on our way by giving us details of her own mixes resulting from hours of trial and error. The colour mixes (which are beautifully reproduced by the publisher) start each section, describing the colours you need to combine to get the desired subtlety of colour for your subject. Less experienced artists can work through these preliminary sections, while more experienced artists may prefer to go straight to the projects. Forty painting projects are included, with subjects ranging from flower names of every letter of the alphabet, starting with anemones and aquilegia and ending with the zantedeschia (white arum lily to you and me). Billy is an inspirational flower painter, taking the best of the traditions of botanical painting yet imbuing her work with her own contemporary signature - a skill that has earned her five certificates of botanical merit from the Society of Botanical Artists.


Summer Catalogue 2014

This enchanting book and DVD set is bursting with top tips & detailed demonstrations to help you paint 40 breathtaking blooms.


Dec 10

If you want to paint professional and attractive botanical pictures of flowers, here is a good place to start. Ms Showells earlier book on Watercolor Fruit and Vegetable Portraits (also reviewed on this site) showed how lovely even the humble spud could look when transformed into the sort of painting you could encounter in a priceless 18th century book. Now this talented artist turns her hand to flower painting, and it is time to get those watercolors out once again.

Actually you can also find my review of Watercolour Flower Portraits in our archives as well, so prepare for more beautiful floral studies. Search Press is not known for their hardcover books but this is one, which will perhaps give you a clue that this is going to be something special. I love the way the flowers look so three-dimensional against the starkness of the white paper, and if your watercolors manage to look insipid then this is one lesson you can learn from this book to start with. There is good advice about composition, keeping a sketchbook and of course what to buy as well as mastering techniques such as wet-in-wet, color mixing, masking etc. Of course much of this is common to watercolor painting of any type, but I liked how it was all applied to florals with plenty of examples. Here too is advice on veining your leaves; painting fine hairs on stems, creating realistic water droplets and what colors you need to buy for flower painting. The flowers chosen are all garden favourites, ranging from traditional roses and lilies to daffodils and fritillaries, as well as yuccas, pitcher plants and quesnelia. Each project features a large, whole page study of the bloom along with a pencil sketch of part of it with some color added. There are instructions (not the type with staged photographs but just in writing) as well as a color swatch of all the paints you need to buy and what they look like mixed into the relevant shades. A short piece about the flowers together with the artists own reason for choosing them completes the entry, making it eminently suitable for all those watercolorists who have progressed beyond beginner primers and are wanting something more intermediate and relevant to their chosen subject. This is also just a lovely book to gaze at, a celebration of flowers and a handsome addition to bookshelves (and coffee tables) everywhere. Highly recommended.


Oct 10

Billy Showell is a fantastic watercolour artist. When I first saw her work I was amazed at how she takes the subject and renders is with an almost botanical attention to detail and yet has that magic touch that transforms work from what could be a somewhat stilted reproduction of flower, fruit or vegetable into a stunning and attractive work of art. Needless to say I simply love her work and as very excited to read about her new book.

In this book she takes 40 different flowers and shows us simple touches from simply observing closely tiny details specific to each flower, to the colour mixes she uses to create works, and different techniques such as wet in wet and lifting out. Its the clever extra touches such as the tulips on page 9 where she has used their natural tendency to curve and bend to form a heart shape from two stems that make her works so special. Of course its Billy's love for flowers and constant observation that allows her to know these differing characteristics to each plant. By observing plants around us and using a sketchbook as she advises we can learn this too.

The paintings themselves are not quite the usual step by step paintings so common to art books but present a bit more of a challenge. I'm sure that will appeal to many artist who want to develop their own style rather than just follow other peoples instructions. Its certainly one of the things that make her books so exciting for me. Billy tells us the colour mixes needed for each flower and from observing the full page illustration we follow her instructions to complete that flower. With some of the more complex flowers she gives additional mini demos to show the best way to render the petals. The beauty of working this way is that it allows the artist to become a participant in the painting rather than simply a follower of instruction, and once confident that your rose or tulip you've painted following her advice is competent you will feel encouraged to do it again with one from the garden or supermarket with new colours and shapes.

A superb book, full of exciting ideas for the artist who wants to do more than just follow instructions.

Artists & Illustrators, The

Oct 10

Following her successful volumes on flowers, fruit and veg, Billy Showell returns with a collection of step-by-step instructions for painting a variety of plant species, alongside information on specific techniques like masking out and glazing. Showell doesn't aim for strict botanical accuracy, instead opting for a fresher artistic flourish in her work. While the practical aspect of the book is undebiably useful, this is also a great chance to see the artist's intricate flower portraits reproduced across many of the spreads. From anemone seeds to spots on the petals of a Stargazer, the level of detail she has achieved is astonishing, particulary considering these are watercolours. It all confirms Showell not just as an impressive floral painter, but also as one of the UK's leading watercolour artists in any genre.

Artist, The

Oct 10

Billy Showell approaches her subjects with the same level of accuracy as botanical artists. Her flowers are meticulous and realistic, but infused with her distinctive sense of design to give them a modern twist. This book gives information on materials and equipment needed, as well as clear instructions on the main techniques used, including wet-in-wet, laying glazes, dry brushing, lifting out, using body colour, masking and creating texture and pattern. There are details on colour mixing and on how to get the best out of brushes as well as insights into composition ideas and on keeping a sketchbook. There are also detailed step-by-step instructions showing how to paint 40 specific flower portraits, each accompanied by small studies, including a colour swatch illustrating the palette and paint mixes used for the work. Billy Showell's fans will need no further recommendation. If you are new to her work, you will be delighted at the clarity of instruction, the delicacy and vibrancy of the paintings, and the invaluable advice and inspiration this book offers.

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Also by this author:

Watercolour Flower Portraits

Watercolour Flower Portraits

By Billy Showell


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