THE ARTIST - October 1990
David Bellamy's excursions are more in the nature of travelogues with a touch of the Outward Bound challenge in them. And, like his namesake the naturalist, this Bellamy is not averse to falling in the water. Travelling Adventures in Watercolour takes us to southern Spain, to sketch in line and in colour surrounded by tourists in the Alhambra and, alone except for the flies and a praying mantis, in front of a Moorish fortress, a village street, a port, and the dramatic gorge at Ronda.
LEISURE PAINTER – December 1989
Coastal Adventures in Watercolour seems a very apt title for this video. We see David Bellamy climbing up rock faces or sitting on bits of cliff with the sea perilously close. The whole reel takes place on the Pembrokeshire coast, wonderful scenery, sky and sea. He has certainly selected a beautiful area for the setting of this video.
We are introduced to his equipment at the cliff edge. All very simple; in fact simplicity is to be found throughout the video. Sketches outdoors followed by painting in the studio is the routine. The viewer is treated to a series of sketches in pencil, water-soluble colour pencils and watercolour. The drawings are delightful and he makes good use of the watercolour pencils. When using them his philosophy is "big brushes and puddles of water".
Bellamy continues with a series of outdoor exercises in all media, going into the studio to do two watercolour demonstrations which are developed from the outdoor sketches.
The instructional quality of the video is of a very good standard. Bellamy talks as he works, describing the various stages simply and clearly; one feels to be there looking over his shoulder as he works. He paints in watercolour with a free, loose, plenty of water style, using large brushes and a palette of three or four colours.
Sketches form a large part of the film and it is especially enjoyable to watch the way they are drawn. The sketches explore atmosphere, study the rendering of special features such as rocks, boats, figures, and study the composition. They are also used as sketches preparatory to a finished painting. Most are done in plain graphite or watercolour pencil, some in watercolour.
The studio painting is good. I liked the nice wet, simple watercolour technique, all very well done, enthusiastically and interestingly described. The palette is again restricted to three colours.
Bellamy has a very human presence. I know just how he feels when he makes comments like "I prefer to stand. You can panic more easily when standing up" or "You must expect accidents like the gloomy mess you see before you." Very human! I really enjoyed this video, the explanations were good, the subjects really good, and the painting work done in a most skillful manner. It kept me glued to the screen for everyone of the 60 minutes. Recommended.
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