Breaking the Rules of Watercolour

In their March 2000 edition, the Artists & Illustrators magazine lists 23 contemporary painting and drawing books to ‘develop your understanding and improve your technique.’

At number 3 on the list is my 3rd book, ‘Breaking the Rules of Watercolour’. The magazine says about the book ‘Like the bad girl at school, the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour member’s best book disregards accepted wisdom to create her fiery, colourful art.’

The reviewer knows me so well!

1 thought on “Breaking the Rules of Watercolour”

  1. From what I have seen Shirley is very talented with a terrific amount of imagination –
    she also has a rare talent of talking to struggling amateurs like me without talking
    ‘down !’

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Breaking the Rules of Watercolour


Breaking the Rules of Watercolour by Shirley Trevena


Shirley Trevena takes the reader through 10 paintings in great detail and shares all her professional tips and painting secrets. In addition, each painting has large close-up details so the reader can really see all the brushstrokes. Shirley breaks the conventional rules of watercolour in many different ways: through her compositions, strange perspectives, and fascinating textures and, above all, the strength and vibrancy of her colour combinations. Shirley explains all her painting decisions and demonstrates her techniques at every stage. In this way, she encourages all watercolourists, whatever their level, to experiment with the medium and produce exciting and challenging work of their own.

8 thoughts on “Breaking the Rules of Watercolour”

  1. Hanne Dybmose

    I like your books very much ( Ihave two). I like the way you put things togeter, it is very inspiring for me. I often take a look in the books and are injoing it.

  2. Lucie Bergeron

    Dear Ms Trevena,
    I wrote you 2 years ago to ask you if you were still giving workshops and I told you that I was learning English by reading your books and by listening to your DVDs.
    I’m from Montreal, Québec, Canada. I’ve been looking at your books every week for many years.
    I was an elementary school art teacher. I love the watercolor medium but I always found that the artists’ approaches were too conservative. However, looking at your books helps me relate to this practice in a way that I like and it always gives me the will to continue. Thank you for writing these beautiful books!

  3. Dear Shirley,
    I am delighted to find yet another new publication of your work available and look forward to receiving it, (much like receiving a box of fine chocolates).
    I am a long time commercial artist, painter, and designer of fabric motifs and find your color sense absolutely delightful and inspirational.
    Best regards to you, Lynnie

  4. Dear Shirley,
    Having purchased all of your previous books, I am anxiously awaiting your latest. Your work is inspiring and beautiful, your teaching motivating, encouraging and generous in content.
    Thank you for another opportunity to be taught by a master.
    Sincerely, Sue

  5. Dear Shirley,
    I find you to be a delightful lady whose work I greatly admire. I have your first two books and find them to be very inspiring. i love the boldness of your color and compositions and feel “pushed” to be more inventive in my own work. Thank you for generously sharing your “secrets” with all of us!
    Admiringly, Judy

  6. For struggling would-be artsists like me the generous sharing of your magical process, illustrated with the specific extracted parts to accompany your words, is hugely helpful and instructive. And the final magic gift: your glorious paintings in stunning reproduction.

    If anyone just needing their spirits lifted or would-be artists can only buy one book this year this is the one to choose.

  7. I’ve been a fan for years. Love your work, but am also inspired by your humor, smile and hair! 🙂

    Now I am off to order your new DVD & book!!!



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