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All about Acrylics

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About the Author

Oliver Lohr, illustrator, and Kristina Schaper, theatre painter, are both freelance artists and authors living and working in Hamburg, Germany. They also work together under the name of Artverwandt in the areas of decorative and stage painting, and three-dimensional decoration. Ute Zander works as a freelance artist and author in Hamburg, and her paintings are shown in galleries all over the world and are often published in painting magazines. All three authors organise regular two-day acrylic painting courses in Hamburg which draw participants from all over Germany. These provide people with professional art tuition as well as an opportunity to exchange ideas with other like-minded people, which can result in a high level of competence being achieved within a very short time.


The moment anything claims to be a comprehensive guide, my first reaction is, Oh, yeah? Prove itA". And the truth is that hardly anything completely passes that test. Some are commendably wide-ranging in their coverage, some introduce a wealth, even a world, of new ideas and I concede that they do enough to justify their claim. There's something in the all aboutA" here that makes me give it special attention and I do feel that it's a misleading title; not deliberately, although it isn't a direct translation of the original German (and we'll come back to that). If you were to think that this is going to be a thorough-going look at materials and their properties, application methods and painting techniques, you'd be misled. It's at this point that we go back to the translation issue. This is a German book and it has that quality of expressionism that characterises a lot of European painting guides. They don't tend to go for the direct instruction that English readers expect, but adopt an oblique approach of dissected examples and a painting style that tends to be quite abstract. I don't mean that there's anything wrong, but it's worth a mention because the British reader is going to get a bit of an initial shock, even if it turns out to be a pleasant and welcome one. If you wanted to be kind, you'd say it was refreshingA" and, the truth is, that's how it usually is. Some home-produced books can, if we're honest, be a bit plodding and the step-by-step approach can pall after a while, which is why the best of the French, Dutch and German translations often prove quite remarkably popular. So, having established what this isn't: a guide to the medium primarily aimed at the beginner, what is it? Well, the original title translates as, Handbook of acrylic painting - materials, techniques, examples and exercisesA", which is quite a mouthful and you can see why it's come out shorter in the English version. While that latter isn't exactly it, neither is the original. What you do get, though, is a very different look at acrylics and what you can do with it as a medium of interpretation. In fact, I'd suggest that this is more a book about artistic expression than it is about any particular medium. There aren't really any demonstrations and most of the illustrations are completed examples; there are plenty of them and they're quite admirably varied. There are also a lot of words and this is as much a book to read as it is to look at. So, should you buy it? If you're looking for what I think it claims to be (and the English subtitle is: a compete guide to painting using this versatile medium), then no. Pass it by, it's not for you and it'll confuse and disappoint you. On the other hand, if you're an experienced painter and you're looking for some new and often left-field ideas that come from a culture you maybe don't see every day, then emphatically yes. If you're that person, you won't just not be disappointed, I think you'll be filled with transports of delight at the new directions opening up to you. Just decide which reader you are, Well the sub title so accurately describes this book - it really does cover everything!! From types of paint and the differences between artists and students colours, different brands, how to make your own acrylics to how to use them with other mediums and lots about the different types of textures and gels available to work with acrylics its all here. I really enjoyed it and there is so much information - lots of things here I didn't know such as things like perlescent and iridescent paints are now available. As a fan of anything glittery (blush) I love the sound of those. I already use the interference paints with acrylic paints and also on my encaustic wax ones so knew a bit about the mixed media opportunities that acrylics offer. I love to use them as under paints for oils, on their own and with oil and soft pastels or wax but you can also use them thickly in the style of oils and thinly to make beautiful watercolours and as the book describes the beauty of that is that you can over paint without disturbing the under layers because once dry acrylics are waterproof. There are incredible illustrations too showing exactly what you can achieve and advice on how to do it and how to rework failedA" paintings. Having read this book I want to get my acrylics out again - I've been in oilsA" mode for the past year or so and this book has whetted my appetite for the speedy drying and versatility of acrylics - and of course I now want to try some of the pearlescent paints I've seen in the book!! birthday soon so that will be good opportunity to get some. Usually I buy new products with either birthday or Xmas money or money from sale of a painting so birthday present from me to me sounds perfect excuse :o) Its so full of ideas and inspiration and a welcome change to have a book for artists that is full of depth in content. The beginners books are excellent for those wanting to learn techniques but having mastered that one wants a bit more and this book will happily fill that vacuum. This really is an encyclopaedic tome of a book that will tell you all you want to know about acrylics whether you're a beginner just starting out or an accomplished artist looking for new If you're looking for something to enliven your style or usual approach, or you'd like some tips about tackling acrylic painting in an unconventional way, this book will be of great interest. The authors have all kinds of new ideas, suggestions and information about using materials you might not have tried before, as well as uncommon supports, giving straightforward explanations and bold painting examples. They discuss techniques for textured surfaces, collage, wax resist and colour and form, composition, and also provide suggestions for gaining inspiration. There is less emphasis on precise, accurate drawing methods and traditional skills and more focus on expressive and experimental approaches.-The Artist Serving as a reference guide to painting with acrylics, this traditional book is about as comprehensive as you can get. The authors begin with an overview of the medium, tracing its history and its rise in popularity in little more than 70 years. As the book is geared towards beginners as well as more seasoned painters, there's plenty on the properties of acrylics and how to make the right paint, ground and palette choices. This is necessary but also surprisingly interesting - there's a lot of substantial information here, rather than the trite suggestions that can sometimes characterise practical guides. The fun really begins in the colour theory section, with excellent example images that really do highlight the importance of getting your palette right. The techniques are plentiful and varied, although some might be rather too craft-based for a purist's tastes. However, following the watercolour techniques should produce lovely results. The book ends with an extensive glossary of precise definitions of simple studio terminology, as well as hinting at what you might learn as your experience continues.-Artists & Illustrators

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