Archive for category Author: Glyn Macey

Glyn Macey’s World of Acrylics

There’s what amounts to a neologism in the subtitle to this: “How to paint sea, sky, land and life”. That’s right, “life” – not nature, animals or portraits, just life. This is a clue to the style of the book, and to Glyn’s work, which is itself full of vitality, like the man himself. I said quite a lot about this in relation to his first book.

Flick quickly through the pages here and you get the feeling more of a magazine than a book. You’ll see images, features and stand-outs rather than the more usual progression of projects, exercises and demonstrations. Delve further, though, and they’re all there; it’s just that the design brings Glyn’s own dynamism to the pages. I must say I like it and, if this is a new dimension in the layout of books, you can say you saw it here first. That doesn’t mean that I want all future publications to be about appearance rather than content, form rather than function, just that it works here and I think it’s worth following up.

Glyn is a passionate ambassador for his medium – not as an end in itself, but for what it can do – and this is a book that takes paint, brushes and supports by the scruff of their necks and explores their possibilities. Although Glyn is more or less a representational painter, it’s images rather than depictions that are his stock in trade and it’s the colours, tones, shades and brushwork that convey the subject rather than detailed observation. That’s not to say that he doesn’t observe at all: distillations only come from intimate understanding.

So, in sum, this isn’t a book about how to paint, it’s a book about how to paint. In the immortal words of Captain Beefheart: get me? What I mean is that this is a celebration of both painting and of acrylics. It’s about understanding your subject and feeling passionate about painting it. It’s about exploration, not least in the challenges it presents, such as “What next” and “What else could you do” that take each demonstration beyond its normal confines. Every stage is a jumping-off point for something else, every successful exercise a challenge for the next one and the journey is never complete. It’s an exhilarating, thrilling ride and the joy is that there may be no safety net.

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Acrylics Unleashed || Glyn Macey

OK, so this isn’t a book about how to paint in acrylics. Oh no, it’s a book about how to express yourself using acrylics as a medium. I just wanted to clear that up.

To describe Glyn as enthusiastic would be an understatement. He bursts with enthusiasm and that would be annoying if he wasn’t so damn good at explaining what he does and how he works. Enthusiasm is often described as “infectious”, but here it really does rub off. It’s impossible to go for more than a few pages without just wanting to be out there and doing it.

There isn’t a subject Glyn won’t turn his hand to, just as long as it interests him, and here you get landscapes, mountains, buildings, boats and flowers and techniques that use quite a lot of scraping, spattering and even collage. Yes, it does all sound rather random and wild, but Glyn is also a master at reining himself in and at no point do you get the feeling that this is just technique for technique’s sake. I’ve seen books like that and this is definitely not one of them. In fact, if you like the idea of experimenting, but don’t want to stray down the abstract route, this is the book for you.

This is an intriguing look at what you can do with paint if you let your imagination run (and please note that I didn’t say “run riot”). I don’t think that every result will be for everyone, but I’m pretty sure you’ll find plenty to like and admire.

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Glyn Macey's Cornwall

Cornwall is one of the few English counties that has both a north and a south facing coastline, giving it an almost unrivalled variety of lighting quality. Born and raised in Newlyn, Glyn Macey is well placed to be able to understand and exploit this to the full and he freely acknowledges the influence both of place and of his illustrious predecessors.

Glyn works mainly in acrylics giving, as do many professional artists, the medium’s quick-drying properties as one of his main reasons for switching to it. In an introductory interview with the book’s editor, Vivien Minton, he also talks enthusiastically about its versatility and how it can be overpainted to give a richness of colour, especially the blues, and even a quick perusal of the illustrations will reveal that he exploits this fully and joyously.

Seascapes form by far the bulk of Glyn’s work, but he is by no means afraid to move inland and the book also includes an interesting couple of pages devoted to flowers which should have you hoping the he expands this aspect of his work in the future.

Although this is not a practical book, it will be an inspiration to anyone who wants to see what can be done with acrylics, as well as an introduction to one of the South West’s most promising new artists.

Halsgrove 2008

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