David Bellamy’s Arctic Light
An Artist’s Journey in a Frozen Wilderness
Published by Search Press www.searchpress.com
Price £25.00/ $35.00
Available from www.searchpress.com
David Bellamy is a watercolour artist, author of several books, teacher and, as it turns out, quite an adventurer. Having travelled previously to the Himalayas, Andes and Africa, chillier climes are sought out here.
David recounts this expedition where he travelled to the Scandinavian Arctic in Greenland and Svalbard into Norway and Iceland. For those that read his account of what he saw, did and painted, this book is a perfect way of living life vicariously through the artist.
David’s experiences are hilarious, breathtaking and terrifying in equal measure. He balances each out perfectly, taking you from humour to the grim reality of the cold, the danger and physical injuries. His descriptions of the environs are rich with imagery such as the ‘lava-black Icelandic moonscape, surrounded by blackened and distorted lava-demons, statuesque and eerie in the mist’ and poetic: ‘I peered…into light that transformed them into many-coloured jewels, sparkling where sunlight caught sharp edges, incandescent with breathtaking purity’. With descriptions like these, you also travel on a journey lit up by his words.
It is a book of many different experiences of people, places and animals and all are reflected in the beautiful artwork that David Bellamy produces. Many sketches were produced under freezing conditions and it is fascinating to see pictures that were sketched whilst he was hanging from an icy crevasse or paintings where the colour froze as it was applied. Just flicking through to look at each of the pictures in turn, you can only guess the sense of wonder at seeing these places first hand when their interpretations are things of beauty.
This is a book of many things and each sitting brings something new to the reader. An insight into the way of life for the people that live and work in the places David Bellamy has visited, the harshness of life but also a travelogue of one man’s experiences seeing polar bears, walruses, glaciers, volcanos and icebergs. Entertaining, informative and a thing of beauty. What more could we ask for?
Colour Mixing Guide
Published by Search Press
There are many books available on Colour Theory (some of which we have reviewed in WOW, such as Ruth Issett’s Passion for Colour, or Joen Wolfrom’s Color Play), and some people make it their life’s work exploring colour theory.
However, I particularly like Julie Collins’s book, because it takes you right back to the beginning and takes a very simple approach. It deals with watercolour paints, but actually, it doesn’t really matter about the medium when you are getting started with learning about the colour wheel and what you can do with the basics.
I took this book on holiday. It is small, light, and doesn’t take up too much room. I didn’t use the paints and colours that were set out here, but instead took some Koh-i-noor Dye paints and the Koh-i-Noor Watercolour Wheel. I felt that I could find basic colours on which to start my education in these sets.
The colours used in the book are of a limited palette, taking the viewpoint that if you have red, blue and yellow, you can make an infinite number of colours. There are 4-5 of each colour, and these are used to demonstrate different colour combinations. You cover primary, secondary, tertiary and complementary colours, and then look at colour mixes of different combinations of colour amount. Using the book, with the specific colours listed, you have around 400 variations. The swatches are immensely useful for a particular colour you like, as you have a vast visual library for finding and creating a similar colour with the materials you have. I felt that it gave me a great practical grounding for moving onto more adventures in colour, and I think that it would be a good book for anyone to have if you are looking at dyeing fabric or paper and don’t know where to start for combining colours.