This is my most recent acquisition, obtained from the USA via Abebooks http://www.abebooks.co.uk/ . The copy I've received is in mint condition in every way. It even has the original dustcover (see above) encased in clear cellophane! I paid just under £30, of which carriage was slightly more than half! The original carriage cost quoted was increased due to the weight of the book and this may apply to some of the prices listed below.
I was lucky as a search today brought up prices from £30.14 + £9.31 carriage to an eye watering £196 + £9.98! There are a few copies around but not that many. Alibris UK http://www.alibris.co.uk/ have one copy at £34 plus carriage and NEW at £240.54 would you believe. My copy is as new. Amazon UK list 5 used from £58.90 and the USA site 19 used from $43.99, 2 NEW $207.34. Incredible isn't it. However read on, I discovered another possible source http://www.ebookee.com/Portrait which lists this title as a download. According to the page there is a link to Usenet where you can download it for free. What snags are there in taking this route? I'm not aware of any never having downloaded a book but caution is advised.
Before proceeding to the book review be aware that when you search for this book the title that often appears is `Portraits and Figures in Watercolor', a quite different animal. This is an 80 page paperback as opposed to the 156 page hardback `Portrait Painting in Watercolor. It appears to be a truncated amalgam of the Portrait book and the slightly earlier `Figure Painting in Watercolor'. The prices quoted for this one are similar to the larger book. The second-hand book trade never ceases to amaze me although it is true that you frequently get a much better deal from the USA than UK booksellers, if they have the book(s) you want. Availability is much better in the USA of this type of book.
On the ebookee page (Portrait Painting in Watercolor_68843.html) is a review by someone hiding behind a pseudonym. This is a brief extract of what they say:
`Not Charles best book -but quite good none the less...`The book is brown in colour and concept. Charles's book on Natural painting in much more appealing..........nevertheless a good book'
`The Natural Way to Paint', one of my favourite CR books, was first published in 1994, whereas `Portraits' is a 1973 book. The difference in approach is immediately obvious. In one word COLOUR! Whereas the earlier `Figures' and `Portrait' books are mainly in a sort of monochrome, brown, sepia tone, colour leaps out of the pages of Charles later books. Another difference is that the portraits have become a lot more abstract, once you get beyond essential detail.
I'm glad I bought it although I wouldn't pay much more that it actually cost.. I'm sure it will be very useful but I do hope Charles is already working on a new version which brings together and summarizes all the information currently spread over several of his later books. I also recommend the Mel Stabin book `The Figure in Watercolor'. It struck me that Stabin's style reflected Charles Reid although the only influence he credits is Edgar Whitney. When I asked CR about this he replied Stabin had been one of his students.