handprint is the personal site of Bruce MacEvoy. The home page displays an unlabeled group of eight graphic symbols reflecting entry points to the sections of the site, which are a rather bizarre amalgam of his personal interests, from literary experiments to essays on Shakespeare’s Sonnets, human evolution and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.
One of the symbols is a simplified representation color wheel. Beneath this lies one of the most comprehensive and extensive painting resource sites on the web.
Starting with a guide to watercolor papers, moving on through brushes and paints. In each case the subjects are broken down into sub-sections dealing with history, manufacture, and the details of how to choose between the bewildering array of brands, styles and degrees of quality.
He then goes into selecting palettes, from simple to advanced arrays of colors, and detailed sections on color mixing, color theory and the use of various kinds of color wheels, including a nice one in which painters’ colors are arrayed on a color wheel so you can tell where, for example, venetian red sits relative to burnt sienna in terms of hue and intensity. (There is a larger, downloadable PDF version of this color wheel.)
There is even an extensive section on vision, optics and color perception. His section on techniques not only includes watercolor specific techniques like laying a wash and preparing watercolor papers, but other skills like basic perspective and modeling forms with value and color. Some sections, techniques in particular, are still under development as indicated by names of future topics that are not currently linked.
There is also a section on books, once again extensive, in which MacEvoy reviews and recommends titles on a variety of topics, from learning the basics to advanced color theory. In addition he lists and reviews major art retailers.
Ths site also contains some examples of MacEvoy’s own recent work, which is anything but showcased, you actually have to dig a bit to find it. His style seems as inquisitively eclectic as the topics on the home page of the handprint site, and features some figure painting, portraits and plein air landscapes that are very appealing.
MacEvoy has also posted a journal of thoughts and observations on painting that would make a web site in itself, as would many of the sections and sub-sections of this surprisingly deep site.
As if all of this weren’t enough, under the modest link “artists” is a wonderful section of illustrated essays on dozens of watercolor artists, from botanical and topographical illustrators to greats like Constable, Eakins, Homer and Sargent. Wow.
The site is an amazing resource, unfortunately marred by a less than ideal navigation system and his bizarre decision (what was he thinking?!) to center his columns of text, rendering them unnecessarily difficult to read. (Fortunately this practice isn’t carried to all pages, but it’s prevalent enough to be annoying.)
Don’t let that give you a moment’s pause, though. Anyone with any interest at all in watercolor, color theory, color mixing, vision, artist materials and techniques should check out the watercolors and watercolor painting section of handprint.