Top positive review
35 of 41 people found this helpful
Loaded with useful information on techniques!
on October 23, 2010
It was with excitement I went to the Supermarket to fetch the parcel which had to be this book I had been waiting eagerly for (Yes, here we have a PO desk in the Supermarket instead of a Post Office! :))! I went straight home to start reading and soon found out that this book is a great addition to Acrylic Revolution, which I previously bought, the two really complement each other. If you haven't got Acrylic Revolution yet, I highly recommend that you get that one too, as the two have different approaches and having both truly give you a lot of help in starting to use new and exciting techniques which will open new doors in your creative endavours with acrylic paint, mediums and different tools (not only ordinary painting tools as brushes and painting knives, but also other possibilities like using things we all have around the house).
In Acrylic Revolution you get a super list of over a hundred different techniques, listed one by one "in an easy resource format" (to quote Nancy Reyner herself), describing what you need and how to go about in order to use the technique. When I got that book, I really quickly read the whole book (couldn't put it down!), and since I have found myself using it all the time as a "technique encyclopedia". When I want to do something and get unsure, I take the book out. I also dig it out when I need a little extra inspiration. And it has to be added that when I do, I find myself praising the format these two books have too! The books have a pretty printed stiff outer cover, but when you open it, you see the spiral binding inside. On the shelf (or coffee table!), it looks like a pretty hardcover book, which I really like, but in use, you can enjoy the advantages of spiral binding, e.g. that it lies flat on the table, no need to hold it open (or use clips)! Really useful for books that you use as a tool. You can have it sitting there open to the article you need as you work.
As previously mentioned, this super new book from Nancy Reyner has a different approach. This too is describing different techniques, but this time through 64 different artists from around the world. Just looking at the great images with their fabulous artwork, is inspiring and makes me curious and interested in trying out different things to get my feelings across in a painting! Both this book and the other one already has made me experiment with the techniques described and to develop some techniques further, to suit me and give me the result I want. And when I now went back to Nancy Reyner's introduction in the book, it seems clear to me that just that is one of her goals for for this book! She wants to give us the help we need in order to find our own way and by that find our own personal way of expressing ourselves in our paintings... Her introduction says something about "How to use this book". She starts with: "Need an idea? Want new motivation? Just flip through the twenty-nine styles in this book ranging from photorealism to minimal color field and everything in between. Read how other artists have taken the journey to create unique and personal art, offering advice and gems from their own experience and encouraging artists to invent, not replicate. An artist's process can be viewed both mentally (the idea) and physically (the technique). A visionary artist develops and combines both to create a personal vision and unique art. This book is meant to inspire artists to find their own personal voice." This book is still very new for me, but already I can say for sure that Nancy Reyner sure hits the mark with this new book, for me it does exactly what she set out for it to do! So thanks a lot, Nancy Reyner, for your help! It really makes a difference for me, where I'm at at the moment. I painted a lot using watercolors years back. This summer I took up painting again, and at the same time I changed to acrylics as my medium, something that has given me quite a few challenges, but with the help of these books (and some others), I more than anything feel that so many new doors have opened...
The feeling it gives me when I am able to utilize the "start help" she gives me in this and her previous book, and from that figure out a completely new technique all by myself, is fantastic. The feeling of mastering something new in such a way, is just so rewarding and when you then take the new found technique to a new painting, it is even more fulfilling, talk about fun! It's just like when you were a little kid and discovered the world for the first time... In the book, work by all these artists are shown and the really good photographs are so useful in showing you possible results of the different approaches and techniques. After each presentation of an artist and his/her style, Nancy Reyner shows you the "Featured Technique" in the same familiar way as in the previous book. You get a description, a list of needed materials and then a step-by-step description, also here with good photos, on how to go about in order to use the technique. You also get useful tips, e.g. for alternative materials you can utilize, which is really useful (e.g. how you can use other products instead of acrylic gloss gel, i.e. to make an acrylic skin to print on using an inkjet printer). For me Nancy Reyner's two books are good examples of books that are not suitable to just loan from a library! Why? It has to be owned! It is a great tool you want to have accessible!
One thing that also makes this book different from "Acrylic Revolution", is that it comes with a built in DVD cover at the back of the book which contains a sample DVD titled "Nancy Reyner's Acrylic Revolution: Watercolor & Oil Effects with Acrylic Paint Sample" where you can watch a short film showing Nancy Reyner work a little and demonstrate some of her techniques (water color/"wet-in-wet"). She also explains the difference between modern ("synthetic") and mineral (traditional/natural) pigments in acrylic paints and how you can utilize the advantages of each pigment type in your work. I find that simply watching an educated and experienced artist work is interesting, to see her approach as she works on a simple painting - all while she is explaining and "thinking out loud", sharing everything with you. In addition to the short film itself, the DVD also contains a gallery with a few paintings that seems to have been done with the the water color technique using soft body acrylics and as an "extra", an interview with Nancy Reyner that as she talks, shows her working plein-air and in the studio. The only thing I could wish for with this DVD, is that it contained even more of the same (the two short films contain maybe 20 minutes altogether), Nancy Reyner demonstrating a few more of the techniques described in her two books, but that would of course affect the quite reasonable price this book has (I got it on special for approx $19, which I find very reasonable for such a good book, in the format it has, printed on very nice paper with high quality images etc.). Since the title says "Sample", I gather that there is a more ellaborative DVD around (or in the making?), which I for sure will check out, the sample made me hungry for more... :)
I might add that English is not my daily/first language, but I do find her books to be very easy to read and understand. Her writing style is very straight forward and I do not think she uses a lot of difficult technical terms which may make the content difficult to comprehend without having to turn to a dictionary. Actually, I have not had the dictionary out even once while reading both her books... :)
Good luck with your painting joy! :)