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Showing 1-10 of 24 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 28 reviews
on May 10, 2012
This book has long been needed for those artists who love to work abstractly and would like a little guidance. Actually, a LOT of guidance and helpful information! It is a book I would love to have had when I first started working in abstract painting. And because it is so current and filled with instruction, examples from many artists, and demonstrations as well, it is just as helpful for more experienced artists as it is for beginners. Not only is the information essential to designing good abstract work (including non-representational), it is inspirational and sure to prompt creativity and excitement about painting. I am so happy to have this book in my library and so pleased that Joan Blackburn took the time to share all of her knowledge, experience and creativity with artists everywhere.
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on November 7, 2013
After purchasing books on Amazon for the past 3 years on getting started on abstract painting, I finally found the one that could have saved me a lot of time and money. This is the book I always needed. It's clear, concise, inspiring, practical, with lots of rock solid information on getting you started. it's like having a teacher looking over your shoulder. The author's (Joan Blackburn) writing style is in a direct and no nonsense manner as she provides you with a very thorough understanding on how to begin and finish an abstract painting. What's particualrly wonderful is that the author provides a rational for all of her suggestions. I strongly recommend this book to beginning and intermediate painters. One reviewer recommneded that the book is probably not for beginners but i would disagree in part because you will be richly rewarded if you give it a chance. I wish this talented painter/author would make an instructional video as well. My only reservation with this book is that it was printed on dull paper and the paintings in this book deserved better treatment than this. Oh well, it's still a great start and better than the other 20 books or so i have purchased on abstract painting. Get it!
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on October 14, 2013
Teaching a workshop on abstract painting let alone writing a book about it is a daunting task but Joan has managed to do it in her book "Exploring the Abstract - An Instructional Journey". She covers all the bases and includes lots of pictures from paint application to the elements and principles of design to design formats, in a way that makes you think you are actually sitting in her workshop.

I have taught at college level but never a class on “abstract painting”. When I was asked to teach such a class I went on line looking and found Joan’s book. What a treasure! Definitely a must to create a foundation for further exploration into the “abstract” world of art.
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on January 29, 2014
I have always wanted to paint but thought I had no talent for it. This book not only made me want to paint, it gave me the confidence to tackle that big sheet of white paper. The author is an accomplished artist with numerous awards from around the country. Reading this book is like having her in your home teaching you the elements and design of painting. She answers many questions about the nuances of abstract painting in exercises that are seamless and encouraging. I have purchased many "instructional" abstract painting books and this one is by far the best. It is like taking a personal workshop from the author. If you have always wanted to start painting; or, if you are someone who wants to expand your boundaries into abstract, you need to read this book. Ms. Blackburn is a natural teacher who ignites your creative and passion.
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on August 21, 2015
Joan Blackburn is an excellent artist and teacher on the subject of abstract art. Its a topic that has proven difficult to find enough really excellent quality information on. The author covers exploring materials, methods of layering, elements as well as principles of design including shapes, design formats, acrylic pouring, building a textured substructure, different ways to texture when layering, how to finish a painting and other topics. The book is filled with a great color photos some of an instructional nature. A good many are paintings by Joan and other artists in a generous array of colours and styles. I am grateful to have this book in my library.
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on December 25, 2013
I bought this book because I wanted to learn about composition in abstract painting. This author offers the kind of advice I was looking for, but her writing is so bad that it's often difficult to figure out what she's trying to say. She lacks a working understanding of syntax, grammar, and punctuation, and that lack greatly undermines her ability to communicate on the page. She's obviously an expert in painting, but she desperately needed an editor. She should never have chosen to self-publish without the help of someone as good at writing as she is at painting. She ended up with a book that is far from being as good as it could have been. I feel bad for her because what she had to say was good enough to deserve good writing. And I feel bad for me because I spent money on an inferior product.

I'm giving this book two stars rather than only one because there's good advice for a reader willing to work at digging it out and because I like the paintings.

E. Patterson, December 25, 2013
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on October 29, 2013
I just received book today and couldnt put it down until I looked at each page (havent read it all yet). I disagree with the comment re the quality of the pages - the pages are not shiny; I like the fact I can see the paintings and words much better than on a shiny page and the quality of the paper is fine. Someone commented on the pixels in the pictures, I only saw a few in one picture and it wasnt distracting. What she had to say was interesting and easy to understand. I dont think its a book for a beginning painter but more for someone with some 'paint and paper' under their belt. Dont let the negative reviews keep you from purchasing the book. Marsha Smith
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on April 21, 2014
This book gives you examples and instructions and rules!! Just what I was looking for. It is great and something you can refer to often.
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on June 5, 2013
This is a great book for learning composition and design. I am trying each type of composition out on some medium size canvases.
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on January 28, 2015
Wonderful book - very clear instructions - will springboard you into abstract painting with good results.
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