Expressive Painting in Mixed Media || Soraya French

Mixed media books are, collectively, like the curate’s proverbial egg. This, it should be said, is one of the good ones, being results-focussed rather than concentrating on the technique itself and not worrying about how it all turns out. Mixed media is not like a dog walking on its hind legs and the fact that’s it’s done at all is unremarkable.

This is also not an obviously how-to book. Yes, there are demonstrations and projects, but they’re part of a wider discussion of techniques and creative possibilities. It should also be said that Soraya French’s style is admirably suited to mixed media, being highly impressionistic and veering towards abstraction. She’s much more about colours and shapes than she is about fine detail and the cover illustration gives you a good idea of what to expect, capturing the atmosphere and bustle of a busy street or market scene.

In terms of what’s covered, Soraya works with watercolour, acrylic, ink, pastel, coloured pencil and some collage. Not all at once, of course, but with the medium carefully chosen to suit the message. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that the book’s greatest strength is to show you which of the many possibilities is appropriate where and how to work sensitively and economically. As I intimated at the beginning, mixed media is a tool and not and end in itself. To convey this clearly and convincingly is quite an achievement.

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