Janet Whittle has an approach to flower painting that is refreshingly original and really rather attractive. Rather than follow either the route of botanical illustration or the flower portrait, she combines the rather formal "floral" so beloved of American artists with a relaxed style that captures the essence of flowers rather than their every detail. It's difficult to sum up, but try to imagine a tightly packed bed filled with blooms and you'll have a rough idea. The key to Janet's style is negative shapes, all those parts which aren't the main subject and, although these are not the main tenet of the book, you'll find yourself learning a lot about them if you just follow what she does. The other thing she's very good at is combining quite bright colours so that, even though the result is quite vivid, they don't clash. Always the problem with a very individual style is that to emulate it looks like copying and you'll probably want to use this book for the information it provides on getting shapes and colours right rather that the overall result. However, this alone is worthwhile and Janet gives copious information on using tints, shading and gradation to produce flowers that look as if they're actually growing rather than just being representations on a piece of paper. This isn't really a book for the beginner because you do need a reasonable facility both with the medium and the subject to take full advantage of it, but it's one that would ideally suit someone who wants to take flower painting beyond that first stage and maybe even as a stepping stone to more formal work later.-Artbookreview.net I love Janet Whittles style of watercolour florals - she seems to have a magic blend fo vibrancy and yet is able to keep that beautiful translucence for which watercolours are so appreciated. In this book she introduces us to some new colours and mixes which she has added to her usual palette of colours for flower painting. Janet begins the book with some excellent advice on materials for those new to watercolours, and I am one of those she writes about who grab the first sheet of paper they lay hands on as I'm so keen to get started rather than thinking about what would best suit the painting I have in mind. I will try harder to think Preparation rather than dash in and that may help the disappointment I feel when the painting in my head doesn't match up to the one on the paper... I'm so in agreement too with her words on colour - she says "limited palette is not in my vocabulary" and I agree - not that you should use endless colours in one painting but that there are so many beautiful new colours don't miss exciting new mixes just because you stick to tried and tested colours. Art for me is about exploration and in this book there's so much to want to do - its packed full of advice and ideas. She shows us colours by way of a page or two on each type - reds and orange, blues and violets etc illustrated by gorgeous flowers using these shades. The section on composition includes advice on using photographs - its great to paint flowers in situ but photographs can be so useful when flowers are constantly changing. I recall years ago painting some early crocus in an art group I belonged to - as the morning went on my lovely semi closed flowers opened right out in the warmth and almost turned the petals inside out. Beautiful but not helpful. If I'm painting from flowers now I also photograph them for reference when I begin, so I'm glad a renowned painter like Janet also uses photos. Janet covers various techniques useful for flower studies and one that I love and she seems to use a lot is negative painting. I haven't yet mastered that because it does involve thinking ahead and I tend to get carried away and forget what i'm doing but seeing Janets use of it and how well it works I'm determined to try harder at this. The demos themselves are easy to follow and . also includes other illustrations of paintings using the techniques shown in each demonstration. A fabulous book full of vibrant flower studies that watercolour floral painters will simply love.-JeannieZelos.com Lush, vibrant compositions characterize this book. It is ideal study material for any artist who wants to improve their ability to paint flowers. Using her own paintings as reference, Janet Whittle explains clearly how to achieve the various effects she uses so well - wet in wet, wet on dry, negative painting, lifting out, glazing and masking. Help is given in creating colour compositions and choosing the right shade. There are step by step projects focusing on Tulips, Roses, Fuchsias, Anemones, Daffodils and Irises that can be followed to practice some of the techniques. Useful tips are given throughout the book such as how to avoid being left with a halo of white around flowers when using masking fluid. A very useful reference book.-Monstersandcritics.com
Janet Whittle is a professional artist and qualified teacher who specialises in flowers and landscapes in watercolour and pastel. She exhibits regularly at the Westminster Galleries in London, and has also shown her work at the prestigious Mall Galleries and other international venues. Greeting cards bearing her work are widely available in Europe and the US and her prints are sold throughout the world. Janet Whittle has received awards from the major UK art groups, including the Society of Botanical Artists' Founder President's Honour in 1999, and the St. Cuthberts Mill Award for a picture of outstanding quality in 2001. Also in that year she won The Society of Flower Painters' Award for Excellence for their Jersey Exhibition.