SUBSCRIBE

paint

Book Review – Celestial Watercolor: Learn to Paint the Zodiac Constellations and Seasonal Night Skies by Elise Mahan with D.R. McElroy

June, 2019

Book Review
Celestial Watercolor
Learn to Paint the Zodiac Constellations and Seasonal Night Skies
Written by Elise Mahan with D.R. McElroy
128 pp
The Quarto Group

“Celestial
Watercolor: Learn to Paint the Zodiac Constellations and Seasonal
Night Skies” is a book that does dual duty. On one hand, it’s as
a beautifully illustrated and produced full-color coffee table-style
book which is immensely enjoyable to flip through whether you read it
or not. On the other, it’s a genuinely useful guide through the
world of classic watercolor technique, with watercolor illustrations
of the phases of the moon, astrological signs, and the seasonal night
skies as examples. These examples come paired with corresponding
texts that delve into some basic magical associations.

In
the first part of the book, Mahan and McElroy lay out all the tools
necessary to get the reader started with watercolors: papers, paints,
brushes, pens, and pencils, with some basic recommendations of their
favorite brands. They briefly discuss the techniques and effects used
in the book, such as wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry watercolor; while
these descriptions are not very detailed, they are more than enough
to get an artist through the examples used in this book.

In
the second part of the book, the authors walk the reader through the
traditional Western zodiac, the phases of the moon and names of each
month’s moon in different cultural traditions (which makes a really
lovely addition, as many authors choose only one version of these
names and omit the rest, but it’s enlightening to see several in
one place), and seasonal landscapes and palettes to ground the
celestial watercolors to the earth in full-color illustrations. Each
of these sections is accompanied by a walkthrough of the process used
to create the watercolors depicted, and an array of inspiring images
for each sign, moon, or season. They are also peppered with
descriptive lore and tradition about each topic. 

The goal of “Celestial Watercolor” is very focused, and the book accomplishes it well: there is a lot of inspiration, information, and technique here. While the lore is illustrative in its own way and adds greatly to the book, there isn’t enough astrological, lunar, or seasonal information for this book to be used as a thorough guide for a serious astrologer or magicians, but it really isn’t the point of the book, either. Instead, “Celestial Watercolor” gives a solid foundation for basic astrological information and a type of art that many witches would probably love to add to their journals, Books of Shadows, wall art, and more, with Mahan’s beautiful illustrations shining through for inspiration.

Celestial Watercolor: Learn to Paint the Zodiac Constellations and Seasonal Night Skies on Amazon

***

About
the Author:

Sarah
McMenomy
is
an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork,
trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at
https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com