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Capturing the Essence

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Capturing the Essence

Techniques for Bird Artists

William T Cooper  

Colour Paintings
128 pages
Publisher: CSIRO PUBLISHING


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Capturing the Essence is a step-by-step personal guide – by one of Australia's greatest living bird artists – to observing, retaining the essential information and then painting birds from field notes and sketches, photographs and other field observations. The author takes the reader through the processes involved in oil painting, watercolour and acrylic techniques, and a piece of art is built up in stages to demonstrate the skills required in each of these media.

In this book the author hopes to help the reader become competent at drawing and painting birds, or at least to enjoy trying!

 
 
Watch a video of artist William Cooper talking about the way he approaches his extraordinary bird art.
Listen to Amanda Smith interview William Cooper on ABC Radio National.
 

 Capturing the Essence is a step-by-step personal guide – by one of Australia's greatest living bird artists – to observing, retaining the essential information and then painting birds from field notes and sketches, photographs and other field observations.

The author takes the reader through the processes involved in oil painting, watercolour and acrylic techniques, and a piece of art is built up in stages to demonstrate the skills required in each of these media. While the book covers some of the general basics relevant to various kinds of painting of natural history subjects, the concentration is very much on birds.

Painting or drawing any subject well, gives great satisfaction. In this book the author hopes to help the reader become competent at drawing and painting birds, or at least to enjoy trying!

 

 
  • Unique personal insight into the work of one of Australia's greatest living artists
  • A 'how to' book that will appeal to people of many age-groups and experience
  • Beautiful illustrations
 

 Acknowledgements
1. Introduction
Part A – the basics
2. Materials
3. Aids
4. Some principles of painting
5. Anatomy of birds (for the artist)
6. Sketching from life
7. Measured drawings
8. Black and whites
Part B – the paintings
9. A painting in watercolours
10. A painting in acrylics
11. A painting in oils
Conclusion
Glossary
Recommended reading
Index
 

 Anyone interested in wanting to paint birds

Collectors of Cooper art and artifacts

Bird-watchers

 

 "Beautifully presented, this detailed yet accessible book will appeal to both beginner and experienced wildlife artists. So stunning are the images, and clear and friendly the text, the book may well compel bird or wildlife enthusiasts to take up painting or sketching who have never considered doing so."
Denise Elias, Sunbird, Vol. 41, No. 2, 2011

"Each painting a true work of art! Wildlife artists, and bird enthusiasts, are fortunate indeed that Cooper has decided to provide us with an insight into how he goes about creating his art, and in doing so I believe he gives us a deeper appreciation of his formidable talent… Just try it, put away the camera, pick up the pencil! Capturing The Essence shows a master at work, but highlights that the rewards of such an approach to studying birds are tangible to us all."
Steve Tredinnick, Corella 35 (4), December 2011

“The presentation of this book is visually exciting. I could not wait to read the text and it does not disappoint. It will appeal to both the artist and the observer who love birds in the wild… Capturing the Essence is a beautiful book and will capture the heart of everyone who enjoys birds.”
Noelle Rigby, The Bird Observer, August 2011, p.46

"There is absolutely no doubt that William Cooper is one of the world’s greatest living bird artists... this book contains all the information any budding bird painter could wish for."
Talking Birds, July 2011, p.9 "It is fascinating to read, and see via the many illustrations, each of these paintings develop from the preparation of the material on which the painting is to be created through the sketching of the composition to the progressive application of the paint to the final product."
Andrew Ley, Australian Field Ornithology 2011, 28, 137

 

 William T Cooper AO originally painted landscapes and seascapes but turned to painting birds because of a lifelong love of natural history. He has collaborated on many bird monographs with Joseph M. Forshaw. In 1990 William was awarded the Philadelphia Academy of Science (USA) Gold Medal, and in 1994 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for his contribution to art and to ornithology. A collection of his original paintings is owned by the National Library of Australia and many others are in private collections around the world. He lives with his wife, Wendy, in the tropical rainforest of North Queensland.  

Related Titles
 Camera Trapping    Carnivores of Australia   The World of Birds    Glimpses of Australian Birdlife    Where Song Began    Australian High Country Raptors    Flying Dinosaurs  

  
 


 
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