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Friday, January 23, 2009

Book reviews--new books on acrylics

There are a lot of books on making art with acrylic paints, but until now I hadn't found any that provided useful information about the different acrylic mediums available. These two books fit the bill for me and now have a permanent place on the bookshelf in my studio. I use acrylic mediums mostly for collage, and now feel I can use them more effectively and branch out into textures and other applications.

Nancy Reyner's book was released by North Light early in 2008. Acrylic Revolution: New tricks and techniques for working with the world's most versatile medium provides information on setting up tools and materials for working with acrylics, along with a comprehensive glossary. This is a "techniques book," with detailed information and illustrations using different acrylic viscosity and textures. A few paintings by various artists are included in a gallery, showing different approaches to painting with acrylics. Reyner explains the behavior of the mediums, how to deal with quick drying paints and mediums, and how to finish the artwork with varnish, a step many artists skip over. I especially like Guy Kelly's design, which unifies the pages of complex demos and hands-on photos.

Patti Brady's book, Rethinking Acrylics: Radical solutions for exploiting the world's most versatile medium. (North Light, 2009) is worth the price just for the chart on page 23, showing the effects of 15 different mediums, with a short description telling in a nutshell what each does. I also like the information on how acrylic paints are made, although I know a lot of artists aren't interested in this. Brady provides information and techniques not included in the Reyner book, as well as demonstrations by 28 acrylic artists. Want to print acrylic paint film (skins) in your ink jet printer? Need to know more about interference and metallic acrylic paints? Want to try encaustic with acrylic? It's all here, and more.

Both artists are active in the Working Artist Program of Golden Artist Colors, Inc., but the books may be used by artists who work with other products.

Another book on acrylics, which I haven't read, seems to be popular with painters: Rheni Tauchid's The New Acrylics: Complete Guide to the New Generation of Acrylic Paints. (Watson-Guptill, 2005.) The author is employed by Tri-Art, a Canadian paint manufacturer. If you've used this book, please leave a comment telling us about it.

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Blogger M said...

I use many of Tri-Art's transparent acrylic colours and like many of their other colours. That is how I came to purchase this book. The content covers both material information and acrylic painting techniques. I found the chapter on colour in modern acrylics very helpful; it described the difference between natural and synthetic pigments and defines the more modern additions such as: quinacridones, pyrolles and metallics (interference colours and iridescents). It answers many questions about acrylic mediums and where to use them.I loved the way they compared the different mediums to the consistency of common foods like whipped cream and honey. The chapter on Alternative approaches coveres such techniques as: monotype, image transfers,soft sculpture, stained glass effects,mimicking encaustic etc.

I also have The Acrylic Revolution but find The New Acrylics has more depth in terms of understanding acrylic products. Next on my wish list is Rethinking Acrylics.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Nita said...

Thanks for your review. I may want to add a third book to my book shelf.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Caroline Roberts said...

I have The New Acrylics also, and I love it. It has a lot examples of work done in acrylics by many different artists. It covers tools and grounds (not just the obvious ones), mediums, colors and techniques.

I had not heard of Tri-Art (I use Golden acrylics) and this did not prevent me from thoroughly enjoying this book and finding it very useful and inspirational. This is evidenced by the number of tags and bits of paper sticking out of it!

I have not heard of Rethinking Acrylics but I'm going to add it to my wish list!

8:51 PM  
Blogger Regina said...

Hi Nita, thanks for the review. I love Acrylic Revolution, too. Nancy has a blog where she occasionally posts very informative short articles. I really like one she wrote on her experience with Golden's new OPEN acrylics - very useful tips.
I don't own, but have studied The New Acrylics, thanks to the public library. It's on my wish list. I agree with what has already been posted regarding the depth of info in this book.
I just got Golden's newsletter yesterday and read about Patti Brady's book. I'll have to add it to my wish list based on your recommendation. She has a very good article in the current newsletter. If you don't subscribe to it, the newsletter is available online.
BTW - I LOVE your book, Color Confidence. I have been using and recommending Exploring Color to my friends for years. I wasn't sure I needed another book on color from you, but it was worth every penny. Thanks for all the inspiration and experience you share.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Nita said...

I'll be reviewing The New Acrylics soon. I got it from the library and will read it this weekend. Thanks for your comments about my books!

9:10 AM  

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