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Book review: Abstract Explorations in Acrylic Painting

Work small and often...and in multiples.  That's the take-home message that I received loud and clear from Jo Toye.  Her North Light book, Abstract Explorations in Acrylic Painting is exactly what I've been looking for, and yet somehow I almost missed it!  It was published last March, and I am so so so blessed to have stumbled upon it, almost a year later!

Why am I so enthusiastic?  Because Jo paints the way I want to paint.  There are many many good books on acrylic painting, and I have reviewed many of them, but this one suits my style, yet pushes me to do better.  Jo is an evangelist for line, something that I don't always consider in my paintings.  It has always taken a back seat to color and texture in my work, but now I'm reconsidering the error of my ways.  Line work gives vibrancy and direction.  Duh.  And this is what I was missing.

The first half of the book covers the why and the how, while the second half contains eight step-by-step demonstrations to make practice samples for yourself.  I am so happy to have a book that goes beyond the usual list of techniques, like splattering, scrumbling, etc.  Jo shows you gesso pulls, layered masks, clear tar gel, and much more.  Work small and make a lot...these are fun and rewarding.  As an example, see the layered mask piece I made at the link, using Jo's ideas!