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Painting with Acrylics - Acrylic Tips and Techniques


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Table of Contents

* First of a new series
* High profile author
* Acrylics are versatile, easy to use and water-soluble

About the Author

Arnold Lowrey has been painting in a variety of media for over twenty-five years. His motivation has been the use of light in painting, but he now experiments more with colour and texture. His seascapes are especially vibrant and full of movement. Arnold also likes painting landscapes, still life, portraits and abstracts. He exhibits his paintings in Wales and London. Arnold holds regular weekend workshops and weekly painting courses, residential watercolour courses and demonstrations for Art Societies. He is also a painting demonstrator for several art material suppliers. In his spare time, Arnold is Chairman of the South Wales Art Society and enjoys computing and jazz music. Arnold lives in Cardiff


Jun 06

When they first appeared, acrylics were going to be the answer to everything and no one was ever going to paint with anything else. For the professional artist, they offer the great attraction of fairly brilliant colours which immediately attract the eye, a variety of methods of application and quick drying times which means a "paint it today, sell it tomorrow" approach is possible.

After the initial rush of enthusiasm, the problems that these same qualities can cause for the amateur became apparent. That quick drying time became a millstone as paint literally dried in the brush and proved impossible to wash off. A lot of people lost a lot of brushes and acrylics became a dirty word. Fortunately, the manufacturers didn't give up and modern slow-drying formulations and retarder mediums allow working practices which are similar to those familiar for oils and watercolour.

For the general painter, the main attraction of acrylics is their versatility. As happy in a thin wash as a thick impasto, they can be used on paper or canvas and, with wider colour ranges, can virtually supplant oils and gouache. In his introduction to this handy guide, Arnold Lowrey says that, having discovered the medium, he used nothing else for ten years.

With people coming back to acrylics, a number of painting guides have appeared in recent years and this is one of the best and most comprehensive. Its strength is that it's not a guide to using acrylics, but to painting in acrylics - the medium itself is secondary to the creative process.

The book begins with the by-now familiar formula of a guide to materials and mixing and using colour. Just about every book does it and every author has, or believes they have, their own approach. A lot of people have said they really don't need all this all over again and, if you leave it out, a lot more will complain that they can't follow what the author is saying because they don't know what brushes he uses. So, let's just say that it's done concisely here and that you can skip it if you want to. On the other hand, there might be something you hadn't thought of before, so give it a glance, eh?

After a chapter on Getting Started, which deals with the business of acrylics, what they are and what you need to know that applies specifically to this medium, the book is made up of 6 demonstration paintings, each of which is fully explained and copiously illustrated with step-by-step photographs. Each one covers a different aspect of painting, from the watercolour techniques (thin washes) to impasto (the "oils" method) through to mixed techniques, glazing and the use of pastes and gels.

It's in this approach that the book lives up to its title: it's Painting with Acrylics, not Slapping Some Acrylics On a Bit Of Paper and Being Done With It. Good stuff.

* Artbookreview.net *

Jun 06

Acrylics are a newer medium for artwork than oils or watercolors, but don't let that put any artist off them. Leonardo might not have owned any but that was only because they hadn't been invented yet! This books shows some of the wonderful versatility of this medium.

You can use acrylics like watercolors or oils, and of course you don't even have to use them for conventional artwork. As a craftsperson that enjoys fabric painting they are just the job, but I have yet to see a book on acrylics that mentions this, a great shame, in my opinion.

This is a book aimed at the more conventional artist who wants to paint pictures, and learn how to use this medium to do so. In true Search Press style, the reader is advised what to buy, and it is quite a list. Fortunately, the author does show you the four brushes he uses most (very helpful) and a list of the paints to get you started. Then it is on with color wheels, mixing, brush strokes, composition, how to use the paint in a watercolour and oil fashion, and using photographs as a source of inspiration. The third section comprises the projects, which showcase the versatility of acrylics. These are landscapes and seascapes (most of the landscapes also involve water) so if still life or portraiture is your bag then you might be advised to look elsewhere. These staged projects are really easy to follow though, and show the tricks of the trade, particularly when it comes to painting water and skies.

Even if you are a textile painter like me you can learn how to make your work look more convincing - a useful primer.

* Myshelf.com *

July 2006

"Picking up this book for the first time I was simply enthralled by the works of art in this book. The paintings are breathtaking and something that any artist would be eager to attain. Arnold Lowrey manages to explain how he has achieved the results of every picture in this book - which is what makes this book so unique. Too many times in books you will find paintings but with no advice on how to produce a painting like that. Arnold Lowrey is fantastic in the way he brings his paintings to life and in this book the step-by photographs of producing each painting guides you through attaining the same results. If you love painting water and seaside scenes then this book will really tempt you. Lastly, I found the section on painting from photos really useful and it's sure to become a section of the book which I will keep close to hand."

* minigallery.co.uk *

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