Why I Love"Inspired by Light" by Ken Howard.

What better book to read on a miserable grey day than Ken Howard's personal view "Inspired by Light".
I used to think of him as a rather dour painter, all greys and muddy browns, not letting the joy into his paintings but just because you don't use bright blue and lemon yellow straight from the tube doesn't mean there's no passion there!
Only artificial light in my house today!
I had to buy my book (a late Christmas present to myself) second hand from good old Amazon. Actually it looks in pristine condition to me so was it bought first and then never opened?
How sad. This was fairly reasonable priced, but others were on offer for £50.00 or more!
Like all good books it's pretty straight forward.
There are sections on drawing, watercolour and oils. Light, tone and colour, and composition. Outdoor and indoor inspirations. All pretty standard stuff.
What is not standard is the huge quantity of inspirational illustrations.  You think "If only I read this book all the way through I will be able to produce paintings with the same subtle luminosity that Ken Howard does". 
And when you do read the book you realise there is no magic bullet. All these beautiful works have been achieved through hours of hard graft, observation, drawing with a pen so there's no room for error, painting by looking, scrutinizing light against dark, assessing form, knowing his materials.

There is much to learn from this book. What I took away from my first reading of it was:
a. Draw with a pen, perhaps a pale wash where the darks are first.
b. Use white for highlights in watercolour. I never do and invariably paint over what should be light.
c. A restricted palette is a good idea.
d. Look, look, practice, practice, look!

Ken Howard currently has an exhibition at the Richard Green Gallery in Bond Street until 6th Feb.  


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