BOOK REVIEW

Creative Acrylic Techniques: How to Create Beautiful Paintings
by Wendy Jelbert
pub. Search Press, 2002
Paperback, 48 pages, 5.95
ISBN 0 85532 48 7

Jelbert, a seasoned painter and art teacher, tells her readers in the Introduction that 'Acrylics are, perhaps, the most versatile of all painting mediums' and, given the remit of this book to '...introduce you to lots of creative techniques', it is perhaps rather disappointing that the contents only partly live up to that ideal.

Where are those inspired modernist images which weld all kinds of materials with acrylic polymer to the canvas? In fact Jelbert seems to bypass acrylic on canvas in this volume altogether, and use the acrylic medium more as a watercolour alternative; her projects limited to that English obsession with landscapes, seascapes, and flowers. There isn't a Hockneyesque image in sight.

You start reading about the potential use of broken eggshells mixed with paint, salt, PVA glue, sand, grit and even plastic food wrap, and feel like you are about to be taken on a great adventure.... but then their usage is in the production of some lovely but, subject-wise, staid pictures. What happened to those vibrant, powerful, contemporary type images which acrylic is so suited to? Just one portrait or abstract alternative project would have brightened the content.

Bottom line...
There is a lot of very good basic stuff here on the acrylic medium and techniques which newcomers to the medium should find helpful... perhaps also for those thinking about crossing over from oils or watercolours. And at 6 it has to be better value than several hours of art classes. For experienced artists there's little to be gleaned, and certainly no inspirational techniques which push the boundaries.

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