From the Author
“No matter who you ask, the one word to describe acrylics is
‘flexibility.’ There are simply so many ways to use this wonderful
medium, and they haven’t all been discovered yet. Our intention is to
show you as many ways as possible within these pages.”
Enter the studios of
seven acrylic artists! You’ll find inspiration to experiment with
acrylics--and techniques to help you succeed.
Acrylics are famed
for their versatility. They can be used right from the tube to look
like oil paints, thinned with water or painting medium and used like
traditional watercolors, or applied with techniques unique to
This book brings
together seven top acrylic artists, each of whom uses the paints
differently to express their individual styles. In their work, the
medium takes on myriad faces--from the look of highly controlled
transparent watercolor, to abstract expressionism, and everything in
Meet the Artists
artist is profiled in a complete chapter, which includes details on
basic approaches, favorite paints and materials, and a remarkable
gallery of art. In step-by-step demonstrations, the artists share their
individual techniques, along with their own unique tips and tricks.
You’ll learn, for example, how to:
Here’s a quick introduction to some of the featured artists:
- intensify colors by glazing
- paint a light subject on a dramatic dark background
- achieve the look of snow, swirling water and other textures
- create unexpected edges with negative painting
- Joseph Orr uses textural techniques to enhance his traditional rustic country scenes. For
Orr’s approach, the strength of the medium is in using it like oil
paint, interspersing a variety of techniques that would be impossible
with oil. For instance, to create an illusion of texture he manipulates
the paint using a palette knife, plastic wrap or a paper towel. These
techniques, when used over a solid color or under a glaze of color,
create a remarkable sense of depth and detail.
- William Hook paints breathtaking vistas and lively flowers, achieving pulsating color with buttery impasto strokes.
For fine art, acrylics have been Hook’s medium of choice for over
thirty years, during which time he has explored most styles of
objective representational art. He sees no need to always paint with
the same style when the medium of acrylic paint will handle anything he
wants to create. So every one of his paintings has a multitude of paint
applications, from thick buttery strokes to thin watery paint, soft
blended areas to crisp geometric flat areas.
- Michael Nevin uses multiple thin glazes to build luminosity in his city and suburban scenes.
Attracted to acrylics more than 20 years ago because of their
simplicity, directness and versatility, Nevin first worked “flat.”
After returning to the Midwest in the early '80s, he began to paint in
a more traditional way, with a measure of modeling and painterly
effects, but continued to paint “thin” to allow the underpainting to
influence the finished work. His rule is, “The simpler the better.”
- Louise Cadillac uses experimental techniques to create her expressive abstracts.
Cadillac finds experimenting with user-friendly acrylics exciting,
productive and gratifying. The fast drying rate allows several painting
techniques to be applied in quick succession, experiments to be wiped
away and others applied over top. Watch as she demonstrates textural
techniques such as stamping with a palette knife, drawing with alcohol,
lifting and painting over collage.
You’ll hear the stories of how and why each artist came to use
acrylics. They are as diverse as the work itself. Mary Sweet turned to
acrylics in the mid '60s, when the chemicals and slow drying time of
oil paints became a problem after her son was born.
relationship with acrylics began with his 16 years in advertising
design and illustration, where quick-drying acrylics were the medium of
And Barbara Buer
picked up a tube of acrylics one day out of frustration when she ran
out of watercolor paint! She found that acrylics made it easier to
execute the large, smooth, dark backgrounds that are intricate to her
Experience the Excitement
no more enjoyable way to learn than by watching the masters at work. In
this book, you’ll see up-close how seven individual artists work, while
also getting an overall sense of the versatility and creative
excitement of acrylics.
Writes author Rachel
Wolf, “There is a lot to learn between these covers, as well as a good
deal of inspiring art. But most of all, we hope you catch the
excitement that these seven artists communicate about the flexibility,
variety and, therefore, possibilities of acrylics.”