Gord's Books & Videos

The first book, The Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook, published in 2000 has been one of North Light Publishing’s best selling books. It is a take-along guide that shares practical tips, techniques and advice in a language you can actually understand. This interesting art book by Gordon MacKenzie is one of the best fundamental watercolor books for beginners and experienced painter alike. Unfortunately, supply is now limited and you will have to hunt a variety of Art Stores, book dealers, used book outlets, etc., to find this informative treasure of watercolor information.   

If You Can Only Have ONE Watercolor Reference Book
April 7, 2000
Reviewer: P. S. Fagelson from Washington, DC

If I were to reduce my not-inconsiderable watercolor reference library to just one book, this would be that book. It blew me away! Gordon MacKenzie covers everything from which brushes to use for what and how to select your paints based on ingredients (a matter of growing importance) to compositional principles. I've had the book less than a week and, honestly, have referred to it practically every day for one thing or another related to painting. The book is laid out in an orderly and progressive format which made things easy to find when I went back. It is filled with photos of his work and delightful illustrations and sketches. The writing style is comfortable and enjoyable. I particularly liked that the captions on his paintings told how he achieved various effects, both in technique and composition. The only thing I found missing was a section on portraits, my particular area of interest. However, the principles and information Mr. MacKenzie shares applies equally well to all subject matter. The Watercolorist's Essential Notebook is well named and likely to become my standard gift to painter friends, if my enthusiasm hasn't persuaded them to buy it for themselves!


Gord’s  second book Published May 2006 focuses on the three major elements of landscape painting, i.e. Sky, Land and Water. This popular book is readily available through on-line book dealers, book stores and art supply stores. It reviews the basics of the first book and then applies them to painting those three landscape elements. Again, the language is easy to understand and the results achievable. Most importantly, this guide's instruction teaches artists the foundations of strong composition and encourages them to pursue their own individual style to create landscapes that are compelling and unique. An outstanding resource for all watercolorists

November 21, 2009: Clear and readily accessible lessons on all aspects of painting landscapes with watercolor. Filled with easily understood tips for beginning artists regardless of medium. Excellent companion to Mackenzie's first Watercolorist's Essential Notebook, although there is some overlap. Very useful chart for assisting the new watercolorist in choosing the best pigments (paints) from many of the reputable manufacturers world-wide. If you can only buy one watercolor book, this is it. Great instrucional watercolor book by Anonymous

I was surprised to see another book by Gordon MacKenzie. What more could he say that he had not said in his first book? Plenty! In fact, I consider this book to be much more valuable than the first. This book focuses on landscape painting and is divided into three parts: tools and techniques, composing landscapes, and landscape elements. It begins with an expanded paint quality chart comparing more paints by more manufacturers. Sweet! I can pick and choose the best paints with confidence now. But the best part of the book for me was the information on painting the essentials--water, skies, rocks, and trees. I expected this book to be good, but it was great!
(Texarkana, AR USA)

The Best Art Book I've Ever Bought

Over the years I've bought many books, to assist me with my hobby. For anyone who is trying to paint typically Canadian landscapes this book hits the nail on the head. It covers every aspect of landscapes that you can think of and some you wouldn't have. Some of the topics include, lighting, reflections, perspectives, waters tranquille & rough (above & below the surface), skies of various kinds, backgrounds (rocks, trees, grasses, forests & meadows). Best of all he includes various tecniques to get the desired effect. He also takes some of the mystery out of which colours to choose for your landscape and then he teaches you how to manipulate them. To me buying this book was money well spent. Kaino

Gordon Mackenzie's new book is a worthy addition to his "The Watercolorists Essential Notebook." If you are looking for a lot of pretty pictures to copy, this is not it. If you want to become more proficient and creative as a watercolorist, this is your treasure! Regardless of where you are on the pathway in using watercolors, this book holds valuable instruction for your self improvement. It can be a life-long guide as you strive to produce better and better work. DON'T MISS IT! (Yorktown, VA).


Gord’s DVD Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook--Lanscapes –See how it is done.

Follow along with the creation of three evocative landscapes and a range of stunning effects, from sparkling water to sun-dappled snow. You'll love how easy and straightforward MacKenzie makes it for you to loosen up your style and evoke a strong sense of atmosphere.

Available from Amazon, North Light Publishing, and various art stores.