This book is for people with more artistic skill than myself, or art historians who want in-depth technical information on the general state of water-coloring in history or the techniques of specific famous artists.
Although this book wasn't useful to me, I thought Stephenson did a great job. He first explains very clearly the history of water-coloring, the materials involved at different points, and some points of technique and chemistry. He then demonstrates how to paint in the styles of various artists (Hunt, Turner, Cezanne, etc) with lists of materials, step-by-step explanations, and photos of each project at various stages. He includes helpful information on how the colors may change as they dry and how long to wait between steps.
Here is an intermediate painting of a pheasant, showing how the background colors (almost black when first applied) lighten as they dry. In the end the pheasant is brightly colored, but I liked it best at this minimalistic stage.
I want to reiterate that in the style of
bit -- Stephenson isn't copying extant works of art, nor does he suggest that you should copy the exact projects he presents. This isn't a paint-by-numbers book with charts showing how to copy the under-drawing with a ruler. The book is probably best for artists with some creativity and a reasonable degree of technical skill.