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Book review: Acrylic Expressions

North Light Books, publisher of beautiful art books, has another winner.  Are you interested in learning how to paint more intuitively?  Do you enjoy abstract designs, but haven't a clue how to approach painting them yourself?  Staci Swider has written Acrylic Expressions to do just this: "This book is a collection of methods for working intuitively and organically in order to let paintings evolve rather than push a preconceived idea," states Staci in her introduction.

To do this, Staci takes you through a series of demonstrations on how she works.  Rather than trying to duplicate her pieces exactly, you are encouraged to think about your own favorite items, symbols, phrases, and such.  A typical project will have you laying down texture and color somewhat randomly, looking for what emerges and sketch-painting it in, and then filling in the background with colors that will make the showcased colors pop.  It's an interesting approach, and can definitely be paired with planning rather than done completely randomly if that is your preference.

Later on in the book, Staci tackles power tools and using unusually shaped pieces of wood as substrates.  She also teaches you how to edge your piece with copper tape, which is a really nifty trick for giving the piece an "important" finished look.  Even the first chapter is fun, covering tools, materials, color palettes, and texture-making products.