Book: Watercolours by Ron Ranson

one of my watercolour notes

I have a new book! Watercolours by Ron Ranson (1993).The reason I wanted a book by Ron Ranson in particular is that I previously have found some instructions of his on how to paint clouds immensely useful. Since i first practiced how to do it, i have gotten into the habit of, when i make my watercolour notes, always start with making a light sky as the background.

Of all different watercolour tips and instructions i have found online, his has been the most useful. I find his paintings beautiful, and when I read his instructions I understand what he means. That’s not always the case – not for someone like me who has so little prior knowledge.

Book cover: Watercolours by Ron Ranson
Book Cover

I ordered a used copy of  Watercolours by Ron Ranson (1993). It teaches  the basics of Ransons painting style.  I like the approach to the materials: making good use of a small number of brushers and colours, and not being too precious or fussy about it, especially the paper. For me this is releasing: if I have very expensive materials I feel that I ruin them by using them. A perfectly good piece of clean paper, and here I am making a mess on it! So I do as Ron suggests – I use paper that is cheap and just good enough! I use it on the back too: if the first attempt is terrible I can turn it over and try again.

The book seems to be what I want right now – it contains step by step instructions on how to use the brushes, and how to paint different sorts of things: sky, water, trees, buildings, people, and animals. And best of all, a wide variety of practice exercises! For me this is perfect – I need to practice, and get advice on how to do it.  I’m excited about the big-brush approach that he has. I can see now that the skies I have been making would have been easier to make with a large “hake brush”. This I will learn.

I have also found some youtube videos where one can see exactly how Ranson does his brush strokes. This is useful; to be able to see how he holds his brushes, his rug for removing excess water (the hake brush holds lots of water!), and the pace he has when making different brush strokes. Here is a video where one can see the hake brush: “Big Brush Watercolour: Ron Ranson”.

I’ll check back in with more about the book once I have used it and have more to say!


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