Archive for category Medium: Mixed Media

Mixed-Media Paintbox || ed Tonia Davenport

I think I’d place this fairly firmly in the craft category, but it’s an interesting collection of ideas from paint textures to jewellery. Everything involves paint at some stage, but this is not mixed media in the pen & wash sense. Each section is just a couple of pages, so these are not extended demonstrations, but rather ideas for projects that you can try out and develop for yourself.

If that’s your thing, then there’s a lot here and, even if you don’t want to try it all, you should get your money’s worth.


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Painting Vibrant Watercolors || Soon Y Warren

Subtitled “Discover the magic of light, colour and contrast”, this is a collection of handy ideas to brighten up your painting. Chapter headings include Don’t shy away from intense primaries, Contrast stirs instant interest, and Use perspective to play up your subject.

All of these things are covered in other books, but usually with just the what and the how, leaving out the why. One of the things I like about American books is that they wear their hearts on their sleeves and never leave you in doubt about the message. Each chapter includes a full demonstration illustrating the point in hand and the range of subjects is as comprehensive as you could wish.

If you’ve more or less mastered the basics of painting, but are feeling a bit stuck in a rut, this could be the book that clears the logjam and gets you moving again.

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Flavor for Mixed Media || Mary Beth Shaw

Once again, I’d have to put this in the craft category although, as most of the work here is two-dimensional, it does have more potential interest for the painter. There are some quite neat ideas from collage to texture and, if you’re feeling experimental, there’s plenty to get you interested.

As this isn’t really my field, I don’t feel qualified to comment further, but it’s nicely done and certainly worth a look.


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The Artist Unique || Carmen Torbus

This came out of a mixed box, a lot of which covers very similar areas of paint-based crafts and which, if I’m honest, starts to look a little similar after a while. If I was an enthusiastic crafter, I’d probably want them all, or at least be able to offer an opinion on which is the best. As it is, all I can really say is that, if collage and texture are your thing, have a look at all of these and pick the one/s you fancy. They’re well done and it’s really just a question of working out what floats your particular boat.


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Experimental Painting || Lisa L Cyr

If you’re looking for new avenues to express your creativity, this is full of ideas. Oh, goodness, that sounds like a publicity blurb, but this is actually an intriguing book.

The author presents a series of projects based on mixed media and assemblage to produce visually stunning results. Techniques include using textures and resists to modify your surface, and materials such as clay and patinas to create a different finish. It’s all quite hard to explain and you do really need to see the results to decide whether this is for you. It won’t be for everyone but, if you’re prepared to think outside the (paint) box, you could find it has plenty to offer.

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Abstracts – 50 Inspirational Projects || Rolina Van Vliet

This is a nice change of direction in the literature of abstract painting. When it comes to abstracts, it’s the ideas behind the work that mainly count and it’s difficult to come up with a strictly instructional approach because you’re not simply representing a subject but interpreting it and, if you don’t have something to say, there’s not really any point in even getting started.

However, there are various muscles you can develop and working from a set of ideas and exercises based on what other artists have done will help you get the idea of where you’re supposed to be going and how you might get there. Rolina has come up with a good range of approaches such as the interplay of lines, monochrome working, even painting from photographs and to music. This latter is something that’s cropped up before and is an intriguing idea – you use a favourite piece to put yourself in a specific frame of mind and then simply (well, I say, “simply”) transfer that creativity to paper.

As well as the projects, Rolina has some useful comments on where you might look for sources of inspiration and, in her conclusion, a list of do’s and don’ts that every artist should have taped to their studio wall.

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Abstracts: How to Paint || Dani Humberstone

At first sight, the idea of including abstracts in a basic series that’s mainly aimed at the beginner with little or no previous experience seems a bit optimistic, to put it mildly. However, with previous books on abstraction concentrating more on the creative and philosophical aspects of the style, it’s rather good to find something that deals with the actual process of getting ideas down onto your surface. The author’s mixed media approach means that you’re not tied to one particular style and she’s absolutely sound on the techniques you need. As well as the basic introduction, there are also four demonstrations showing how the final results are built up.

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