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Etched Glass: Techniques & Designs
Etched Glass: Techniques & Designs
by Norman Dobbins
Edition: Hardcover
15 used & new from CDN$ 37.93

5.0 out of 5 stars Drop-Dead Gorgeous Book, Nov. 11 2001
I credit this book hands-down with inspiring and introducing me to the beautiful art of glass etching. Page after page of breathtaking sophisticated etched glass carvings are interspersed with photos of smaller examples easily within reach of a beginner. The authors have had over 25 years in the business and now hold beginner through master level classes at their art studio in New Mexico.
This is a thorough book describing the various methods of etching, the materials, types of glass, types of techniques, etc. For example, etching cream - which is what I'm learning to use as a beginner is only capable of surface etching. Even so, this simple technique can make very beautiful designs on different types of glass. I've been practicing on jelly and juice jars I keep after finishing off said jelly or juice. That way, if or when I mess up it doesn't matter as much like it would had I practiced on an expensive wine glass or bowl. Soon I'll be ready to move on to the next project and type of glass to practice on. The authors discuss in particular detail surface etching, carving and shading. Applying and cutting various types of resists and etching creams, numbering patterns so you know which order to etch for a proper 3-dimensional effect, beveling, how to hold the carving/blasting wand, etc. is all here. Most of these techniques can be done now (at least on a small scale) with a small air compressor like the ones used for airbrush, portable blaster and tabletop sandblasting cabinets. Chapter 8 gives extensive advise on the various types of equipment (from hobbiest tabletop units to industrial room-sized) used for sandblast etching along with each piece of equipment's pros and cons.
I'm looking at one tabletop unit that is moderately priced (less than $270). With this one tabletop unit (which the book shows a photo of and discusses) anyone can start recreating even the most sophisticated designs and projects included in this book for beginners and beyond. Detailed step-by-step photos for each project are shown in each chapter and the patterns for each project are provided in Appendix B. The other Appendices cover a glossary of terms, suppliers of etching machines, stencil sources, sources for glass, further reading and handy reference charts covering Moh's hardness scale, volume/linear/pressure measurements and abrasive grit sizes including microgrit powders. It really presents a very broad overview of everything one needs to get started making beautiful glass etching/carvings.
And I want to stess again that page after page is a visual feast of gallery designs of what professional glass etchers can do. The cover of the book does not even begin to show how beautiful the artwork displayed inside really is. I can not stress this point enough. The artwork shown inside is truly worthy of anyone's coffee table. The fantastic thing is that I'm having a ton of fun learning this beautiful art - and all thanks to this one comprehensive book. Bravo! I want a sequel!

The Elements of Drawing
The Elements of Drawing
by John Ruskin
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.19
38 used & new from CDN$ 1.39

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Treatise on Drawing from a 19th Century Master, Nov. 11 2001
Ce commentaire est de: The Elements of Drawing (Paperback)
John Rushkin originally published this little volume in the winter of 1856/57. It promptly sold out and went into multiple printings. It is surprisingly still relevant today. Rushkin gives the reader many exercises beginning with a dip pen and ink and later moving to pencil and then watercolor (which in the 19th century was classified under drawing). I was so intrigued I actually bought a speedball dip pen and some india ink and began to practice the many exercises he gives. They work. By the time I finished the ink exercises I noticed a definite improvement from my early attempts compared to the later ones. And I am continuing the exercises.
Another fascinating aspect of this book is the snapshot it gives into the mind of a prominant 19th century art critic. Rushkin not only was a master draughtsman and painter but a widely respected art critic in his day. Monet was quoted by a British journalist to have said, "90% of the theory of Impressionist painting is in Rushkin's Elements of Drawing." A young George Seurat obtained a copy and admitted to having read it carefully. Now I'm no Monet or Seurat but I figure if these guys valued Rushkin's instruction I should certainly pay attention to what he had to say.
Rushkin explains exactly what the goal of each exercise is. He also recommends specific paintings or drawings to examine along with critiques of why this or that area in the drawing/painting is superior or lacking. He strongly believed it more profitable to study in-depth a few highly superior drawings/paintings to a wider assortment of middling/average execution. And he believed this even of famous artist's work - famous or not he advises to ignore for the moment their less masterful work and focus on the truly great ones. Rushkin pulled no punches. The entire treatise is full of his opinions right along side the exercises - yet I would say they are not opinions without merit. He gives you something to think about when looking at works of the art masters and something to strive for in your drawings and paintings so that you can become more than just technically competent. He addresses the heart and soul of drawing and painting. It made me think of why this or that particular line, shading or painting technique in an art master's drawing/painting touches me the way it does.
This is the best marriage between technical competence and artistry. And you grow in understanding that all the exercises he gives are only in service to the spirit of art. It is an emphasis that most modern how-to books don't touch. Analysis this deep in modern art books are left for books that are advertised as art critiques. Since almost all my art books fall under the "how-to" category (as anyone who's read my other book reviews will see) I found this critique aspect rather refreshing and wanting to read more such types of books.
I strongly recommend this book. Despite the lack of photos or modern step-by-step illustrations (the illustrations are line art - the most up-to-date technology for book illustration then available in an affordably priced book) I think it is very worth getting and reading. Perhaps artists who have been formally trained in universities or art academies will find this kind of instruction typical. But for someone like me who is entirely self-taught from the books he/she buys it is a great investment into expanding boundaries and knowledge of art in general.

Paperart: The Art of Sculpting with Paper, a Step-By-Step Guide and Showcase
Paperart: The Art of Sculpting with Paper, a Step-By-Step Guide and Showcase
by Michael Lafosse
Edition: Hardcover
19 used & new from CDN$ 15.43

5.0 out of 5 stars So Good I Want a Sequel!, Nov. 11 2001
I can not begin to praise this book enough. Never have I seen paper used to create such beautiful works of art. This book is definitely not geared for the "get-it-done-in-one-day" weekend craft mentality. Correspondingly, many of the projects involve access to space you can set aside as a workshop. Probably the only projects in the book that could be done without wanting or needing separate studio space are the origami projects or paper collage. Paper casting and paper pulp in particular benefit from space set aside for these needs.
So if you are interested in attempting these styles of art be ready to set aside space in your house for the papers, vats, molds, wire armatures, etc. That said, if you are prepared to do that you can use this book as a guide. Each artist lists the material he/she used with step-by-step photos detailing the process. The end of each chapter displays a gallery of that artist's work. My favorite chapters were the paper casting and japanese dolls. Even if one never intends to try any of these projects or methods of paper art it is a beautiful book for the coffee table.

Paper Sculpture: A Step-by-Step Guide
Paper Sculpture: A Step-by-Step Guide
by Kathleen Ziegler
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from CDN$ 24.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Relief-Style Paper Sculpture, Nov. 11 2001
I liked this book's diversity of relief-style paper sculptures. By relief-style I mean paper that is cut and then folded, rolled, mounted, etc. onto a flat surface. Other types of paper sculpture, such as cast paper sculpture are not covered. If you are interested in other ways to use paper I recommend the book The Art of Sculpting with Paper by Michael G. Lafosse.
This book is a combination gallery of each artist's work plus one project each artist did step-by-step demonstrating their techniques. The beginning chapter gives an overview of the basic techniques every relief-paper sculptor uses and types of paper suitable for relief paper-sculpting. It then launches into the artist demo/gallery format. The nice thing about the step-by-step demos is that you can copy that project for practice if you wish (although patterns are not provided so you would need to recreate the pattern on your own.) Each step-by-step demo is definitely of professional quality. Most, if not all, of the artists featured are graphic illustrators who work on these kind of projects as a living for various commercial clients. Therefore, you can expect that the art displayed inside is of similar quality to the cover photo.
Using this book I've begun a small project that I designed myself. It's definitely fun but I can see how it could become more time consumming. One thing I would've liked to have seen in this book was an estimate of the time it took for each artist to complete their project (not including the very initial sketch design). This would give me a better estimate of how long a similar project might be for me (although I'd estimate about 1/2 to 2/3 more time since I'm a beginner). I've enjoyed this book so much I plan to get the sequel. It's an excellent introduction to this style of paper art.

Texture and Detail in Watercolor
Texture and Detail in Watercolor
by Richard Bolton
Edition: Paperback
16 used & new from CDN$ 22.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Textural Detail Feast!, Nov. 11 2001
This book's emphasis on texture techniques has been a boon for my own paintings. I was growing bored with my paintings because all the areas were painted with the same techniques. When I got this book I sat down with my watercolors and watercolor pad and began to practice many of the texture techniques the author explains.
There are chapters devoted to paper surfaces (hot, cold, rough, handmade, etc), various brushes (kolinsky, synthetic, bamboo, toothbrushes, flats, rounds, riggers, etc), miscellaneous materials (salt, sponges, plastic wrap, etc.) and pigments. All are discussed from the point of view of trying to exploit the properties each has for creating unique and convincing textures and details. Each chapter is packed with paintings and accompanying analysis of how the author achieved a particular effect. Unlike most painting books it does not use the painting-in-progress method of explanation. Instead, each painting is shown on one page and the opposite page has a detailed discussion of the various steps the author took. Interspersed at times are close-up photos showing details on some of the more interesting textural details. The subjects are everything from rusty iron, rotting wood, rough stonework, adobe brick, rough bark, pottery, etc. And all of it as applied to landscapes with rusty farm equipment, ponds or lakes with watersogged wood, closeups of buidings, trees, grasses or other plants.
The pro is that this means a lot of paintings demonstrating a wide variety of techniques are displayed and explained. The con is that you don't see the paintings in various stages of completion which some readers might feel would be more helpful for their learning style.
Overall I believe this book achieves exactly what it set out to do - i.e. explain in detail a large number of textural detail techniques. It doesn't wander off into discussions on composition, values, light, etc. It is very tightly focused and therefore can go into much greater depth on the subject than more wide-ranging watercolor books.

Painting Spectacular Light Effects in Watercolor
Painting Spectacular Light Effects in Watercolor
by Paul C. Jackson
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from CDN$ 22.54

4.0 out of 5 stars Great examination of how light affects paintings, Nov. 11 2001
This book is aimed for an intermediate to advanced level watercolorist. The majority of the book focuses on the author's fascination with portraying light as it hits colorful subjects. The subjects range from beautiful colored glass such as wine and perfume decanters to brass musical instruments to breathtaking architectural and landscape paintings.
Other than the first chapter that gives a very quick overview of a few techniques such as blotting, drybrushing, scraping, pouring, etc. it is not an overly comprehensive book on every aspect of watercolor painting. For example, only 1-2 page cursory discussions are given to subjects such as composition, creating textures, values, leading eye movement arrangements of a painting, etc. When they are discussed the subjects are always tied back to the book's main theme - light. So eye movement is discussed, for example, in how light helps achieve this goal to make a strong painting.
Another subject which the author doesn't address is color mixing and color theory. Some of the paintings use of alizarin crimson which some new painters may not know is a fugitive color. Fortunately there are 2 relatively new very permanent pigments on the market that are dead-on ringers for traditional alizarin crimson when you mix them together. W&N Permanent Carmine, which is a quinacridone/diketo-pyrole pigment + any brand with only PR122 as the listed pigment. In fact, W&N offers these two pigments as a convenience color mix named Permanent Alizarin Crimson. I have painted washes of my true alizarin crimson right next to the quinacridone/PR122 mix and could not tell the difference. Neither could my boyfriend when I asked him to try to pick which was the real alizarin crimson and which was the mix.
One of the most intriguing chapters was on painting light at night. The cover painting is only one of the types of night scenes this chapter covers. There are others such as streetlight fog at night and architectural spotlighting. I am especially envious of the author's beautiful architectural themed paintings. I'm still trying to get down perspective myself so anyone who demonstrates such mastery is someone I pay attention to.
Overall this book is a very good look at seeing how one element of painting - light - can be pushed to amazing effect. It is fascinating to see how just one of the criteria (in this case, light) needed for a successful realistic painting can contribute to creating your own signature style. And although I said this book is of most use to intermediate to advanced watercolorists it can not fail to help beginners since the paintings are so inspiring and beginners will eventually move up to intermediate level anyway.

The Wilcox Guide to the Best Watercolor Paints
The Wilcox Guide to the Best Watercolor Paints
by Michael Wilcox
Edition: Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 26.00

1.0 out of 5 stars Out-Dated and Misleading Information, Oct. 22 2001
I bought this book expecting scientifically verified tests of the various pigments used in all the major (and some minor) brands of watercolor paint. Sadly this is not the case. First of all nowhere in this revised edition is it stated real-world testing of the various paint brands and pigments was re-done. Since the book was first published practically every watercolor manufacturer has revamped their line to offer more lightfast and permanent pigments. Nowhere in this book did I see evidence of new testing and a lot of information is out-dated. Quite a few brands that don't exist anymore are still included. For example, the U.S. corporation Colart Americas, Inc. (owners of Liquitex since year 2000 [and now also the owner corporation of famed Winsor & Newton!], quit making Liquitex watercolors years ago in order to focus that brand more on the acrylic market.
The guide states no evaluation of any companies' brands of student grade watercolors was done - only artist grade paints are covered. But here's an example of why I'm suspicious of the testing claimed by this book - I bought some DaVinci watercolors based on the praise they received in the book and immediately noticed the brand is "student grade" in quality. The filler used is so high that the chalky appearance of the watercolor squeezed out onto my palette is visible to the naked eye once its had a few minutes to begin to dry. It doesn't have any clarity or beauty of my Winsor and Newton, Daniel Smith or Holbein watercolors. If you wish to see it for yourself merely buy a single tube of DaVinci watercolor, squeeze out some onto your palette, mix a small puddle of the paint with water then let the puddle of paint dry a bit. You will see exactly what I'm talking about. If visible-to-the-naked-eye chalky filler doesn't shout "student grade paint" I don't know what does.
Another note about DaVinci watercolors - Mr. Wilcox has contracted the DaVinci company to supply the watercolor paints used in his own paint brand for the School of Color correspondence color mixing course. Nowhere in the guide does he disclose this commercial arrangement with the DaVinci paint company. I think it only fair that artists should be made aware of this fact in a guide that posits itself as an un-biased guide to watercolor brands.
I also found his constant harping on "gummy" paint odd. Since I like to be able to control the runny-ness of my paint I don't see thick-or-thin-ness of paint out of the tube as a problem. How difficult can it be to simply add water or ox gall medium anyway? And what does "gumminess" have to do with the lightfastness of the paint being discussed - which is the main thing this book claims to be handing out grades on?
Given these flaws - inaccurate information, very out-of-date information and less than un-biased reporting I can not recommend this book for watercolorists in good conscience. A better book is Hilary Page's Guide to Watercolor Paints. Furthermore, she explains exactly how she conducted her tests and under what conditions. An added bonus is that she tries to keep the book current by giving regular updates on new pigments, new watercolor brands or reformulations of existing brands on her website. It's really sad that I give such a low mark to Wilcox's Guide to Best Watercolor Paints. If the author took the time and effort to conduct tests similar to what Hilary did it could be a great resource. What a wasted opportunity....

Harley Brown's Eternal Truths for Every Artist
Harley Brown's Eternal Truths for Every Artist
by Harley Brown
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from CDN$ 111.35

5.0 out of 5 stars A Few Appetizers of Eternal Truths, Oct. 18 2001
A lot of reviewers give their reaction to the book reviewed. While that's helpful I'm going to do something a bit different. I'm going to show a few examples of some of the "eternal truths" the author gives.
1. The author on beginning a painting of a ballerina and after explaining in detail several of his measurement techniques continues, "Believe Your Eye. But Trust Measurements - ...every professional artist I've ever seen, without exception measures. You need to do it too. ...it will save your artistic life."
2. From the chapter 'Composition - Who Needs It?' - "Not Everything Should Be Equal! - We have a natural (though distressing) tendency to equalize everything in art, which is a problem. Placing equal amounts of warm and cool in a painting, and equal amounts of light and dark, can make a painting look weak and indecisive. Face it: dominance of color or value is easy to talk about, but much harder to pull off. That's one reason why many pros do one or more, sometimes many more, small studies to arrive at one powerful visualization of the intendeded work. Then they'll follow the little study closely to avoid their natural tendency to equalize."
3. From Chapter 6 - "Edges, in case you haven't figured it out by now, are among the half-dozen most important things in a painting."... "The more gradually an object turns away from the light, the softer and wider its shadow edge will be"... "As a shadow goes from light to dark, the soft transitional edge is called the 'core'... "These principles go way back in art. The Impressionists understood them well. Hardly an artist in history, painting a nice pink cheek, would miss the opportunity to make it pinkest just where it goes into shadow."
4. From "30 'Magic' Solutions to Common Problems" - 2. We've all seen the stereotypical artist holding his thumb before his squinting eye. He may be measuring proportions, but he might have something else in mind: comparing relative values of the objects before him. His thumb has a constant value to compare them with. Try it right now and see the revelation."
Hopefully this gives an idea of some of the insights this book contains. It's chock full of step-by-step examples demonstrating all the hints, tips and tricks. I re-read this book frequently. Often I'll pick a page and then critique a picture I'm working on to see if I've forgotten or misapplied one of the principles mentioned on that page. Sometimes I'll do the same for a technique. It's a good way to reinforce what I've learned and strive to improve. Artists of any medium can benefit from this great book.

Design & Composition Secrets of Professsional Artists: 16 Successful Painters Show How They Create Prize-Winning Work
Design & Composition Secrets of Professsional Artists: 16 Successful Painters Show How They Create Prize-Winning Work
by International Artists
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from CDN$ 28.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Design Tips from Canada, Oct. 17 2001
This book has an interesting approach to teaching design and composition. Each artist wrote an essay explaining their approach to creating dynamic paintings. My only wish is that the book offered insights from artists around the world rather than focusing exclusively on Canadians.
Most of the paintings are in a realist style although some begin to approach a bit more non-representational styles. The quality of the essays also seemed to vary. Some essays I found very helpful, for example, one gave a tip list of points to keep in mind while composing a painting. Another gave a tip of making a cutout of your subject in different sizes and then seeing which size and placement worked the best. Yet another gave a Rule of 360 tip - i.e. keep turning the composition because you might find alternative compositions more interesting than the one you're working on currently. It might even spawn several new painting ideas to follow up on.
For me personally, the less helpful essays were more rambling musings by the artist on their spiritual thoughts on composition. While I understand some artists may find these type of essays enjoyable or helpful I find it hard to translate such spiritual musings into actual practices I can use to improve my own work. Fortunately, most of the essays had plenty of interesting tips and practical approaches and exercises I've never thought of that I will be using now. Overall the quality of the book is very high. It definitely shows the same high quality as the magazine affiliated with it. Get this book and discover all kinds of fascinating exercises and tips to improve your artwork.

Painting the Drama of Wildlife Step by Step
Painting the Drama of Wildlife Step by Step
by Terry Isaac
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from CDN$ 22.63

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just for Acrylic Painters, Oct. 17 2001
In contrast to the abundance of books on oil and watercolor painting there are few high quality books on acrylic painting. This book however helps fill that gap. The numerous photos of step-by-step techniques for painting everything from backgrounds to various types of fur (dry, wet, patterned, white) to eyes, feathers, leaves, grass, clouds, water, waterdrops, rocks, snow, special effects and a gallery of textures is a feast for the eyes. If not for the close-up photos I would think Mr. Isaac was painting in oil.
The author covers composition do's and don'ts, balance, repetition, lighting, getting a correct pose and other tips for integrating the subject into the scene. The numerous demonstrations list the supplies used for each painting followed with step-by-step details of composition and techniques. The end of the book shows a gallery of some of Isaac's paintings and an index. These techniques can be used by anyone wanting to paint wildlife scenes in an opaque manner - not only acrylics. I've sat with this book open beside my paintings and continually used these techniques for several wildlife paintings I made in casein, Chromacolour and even alkyd. This is a book to be used, not read then stored away on the bookshelf. Get it and see your wildlife paintings improve.

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