December 2021 MBR The Art Shelf

Skip to first unread message

Midwest Book Review

Jan 1, 2022, 4:00:08 PMJan 1
The Art Shelf

Creative Acrylics
Carla Co Chua
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
9780760373279, $22.99, PB, 144pp

Synopsis: Acrylic paint is a fast-drying paint made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion and plasticizers, silicon oils, defoamers, stabilizers, or metal soaps. While most acrylic paints are water-based, some become water-resistant when dry. Depending on how much the paint is diluted with water, or modified with acrylic gels, mediums, or pastes, the finished acrylic painting can resemble a watercolor, a gouache, or an oil painting, or have its own unique characteristics not attainable with other media.

Acrylics are one of the most versatile, affordable, and accessible art mediums, and "Creative Acrylics: A Step-by-Step Beginner's Guide to Creating with Paint & Mediums - Create Paintings Filled with Color, Texture, Unique Effects & More!" by Carla Co Chua is an ideal instructional guide with all the tips, tricks, and techniques for blending colors and building texture, plus excellent instruction on how to paint a range of different subjects.

Confused about which types of paints to use, and how to use them? "Creative Acrylics" cuts through the clutter and offers clear fundamentals for working with a variety of paints and mediums to produce beautiful results. Acrylic paint is water-soluble, dries quickly, and is forgiving, making it perfect for those starting out. Begin your acrylic painting journey with an expert who will guide you through enjoyable techniques and projects as you build confidence and ramp up your skills.

Step-by-step techniques, lessons, and projects cover a wide range of styles and genres, including color mixing, brushwork, glazing, and how to paint easy florals, still lifes, landscapes, and animals. Take your new skills even further and paint on different surfaces to create an apron, painted shells, a paintbrush rest, clay pot, and more.

"Creative Acrylics" includes: How to set up your workspace to make painting more enjoyable; A guide to the different types of acrylic paint; Basic techniques such as understanding color and value, and how to add texture and other effects using paint and mediums; Lessons and projects that build skills: creating still lifes, florals, landscapes and skies, and painting on fabric, wood, shells, clay, and more

Critique: An ideal instruction manual and guide for all skill levels, "Creative Acrylics: A Step-by-Step Beginner's Guide to Creating with Paint & Mediums - Create Paintings Filled with Color, Texture, Unique Effects & More!" is a fun, practical, effective, and thoroughly 'art student friendly' approach to learning about and working with the medium of acrylic paints -- making it especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, art school, college, and university library collections.

Editorial Note: Carla Co Chua has hosted several public and private art workshops since 2017 and has collaborated with art supply brands to teach acrylic and watercolor and painting at art events around Metro Manila. Carla continues to inspire artists with her beautiful artwork that includes florals, animals, portraits, landscapes, and still life. Carla lives in Manila, Philippines and can be followed on Instagram: @carlacochua

The Beginner's Guide to Wheel Throwing
Julia Claire Weber
Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
9781631599354, $26.99, HC, 144pp

Synopsis: A complete introductory course in pottery making utilize a potter's wheel, "The Beginner's Guide to Wheel Throwing" by pottery making expert Julia Claire Weber, will enable novice pottery makers to develop the skills (and patience) needed to make their first forms. "The Beginner's Guide to Wheel Throwing" starts at the very beginning of the process. It also presents a tour through a typical ceramics studio, a discussion of the best clays for throwing, as well as a variety of centering methods.

Additionally, "The Beginner's Guide to Wheel Throwing" includes: Starter projects like cups, bowls, and plates to hone your skills; Tutorials on important topics like trimming and handles; A unique decal workshop, unlocking the potential of image transfer.

Throughout "The Beginner's Guide to Wheel Throwing", skill-building is front and center, with tips and tricks to help to crack the code and make pieces to be proud of. Gallery work from some of today's top artists are sure to inspire potters of all levels.

Critique: Profusely illustrated in full color throughout, "The Beginner's Guide to Wheel Throwing" is an ideal DIY instructional guide and manual for aspiring pottery makers. It would also make a thoroughly user friendly how-to curriculum text for school pottery making classes. Simply stated, "The Beginner's Guide to Wheel Throwing" is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, art school, college, and university library Pottery & Ceramic Art instructional reference collections.

Editorial Note: Julia Claire Weber is a full-time studio artist (Julia Claire Clay) and a part-time gallery manager. An alumni of the Odyssey Clayworks residency program, Julia was previously studio manager of Clayspace in Erie, PA and is a graduate of the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania ceramics program. Julia keeps a full teaching schedule at craft and art centers across the country and her work has been widely featured and displayed, including exhibitions at NCECA, Pottery Northwest, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Objective Clay, and the Touchstone Center for Crafts. In print, Julia's work can be seen in Amazing Glaze, Creative Pottery, Ceramics Monthly, Ceramic Arts Daily, and more.

Hayao Miyazaki
Hayao Miyazaki, artist
Jessica Niehel, author
Daniel Kotheenschulte, author
Pete Docter, author
DelMonico Books
c/o Distributed Art Publishers
155 Sixth Avenue, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10013-1507
9781942884811, $38.99, HC, 288pp

Synopsis: For more than four decades, Japanese artist Hayao Miyazaki has been enchanting audiences of all ages. His animated films, often featuring children navigating unfamiliar and challenging worlds, offer timeless explorations of youth and what it means to grow up. Celebrated and admired around the globe for his artistic vision, craftsmanship and deeply humanistic values, Miyazaki has influenced generations of artists. The universal appeal of his evocative natural settings and complex characters, many among them strong girls and young women, cuts across cultural boundaries.

"Hayao Miyazaki" is published on the occasion of the 2021 inaugural exhibition at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, in collaboration with Studio Ghibli in Tokyo. It accompanies the first ever retrospective dedicated to the legendary filmmaker in North America and introduces hundreds of original production materials, including artworks never before seen outside of Studio Ghibli's archives. Concept sketches, character designs, storyboards, layouts, backgrounds and production cels from his early career through all 11 of his feature films, including My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), Princess Mononoke (1997), Spirited Away (2001) and Howl's Moving Castle (2004), offer insight into Miyazaki's creative process and masterful animation techniques.

Critique: An impressively informative and showcasing the artist's work in full color, "Hayao Miyazki" is a exceptionally well organized and presented coffee-table style volume (9.06 x 11.02 inches) that is a critically and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Animated Movies, Movie Direction & Production, Video Direction & Production, and Contemporary Japanese Art History collections in general, and Hayao Miyazki supplemental curriculum studies reading lists in particular.

Picasso: Painting the Blue Period
Pablo Picasso, artist
Kenneth Brummel, editor
Susan Behrends Frank, editor
Marilyn McCully, Eduard Valles, Sandra Webster-Cook, contributors
DelMonico Books
c/o Distributed Art Publishers
9781942884927, $50.00, HC, 244pp

Synopsis: Pablo Ruiz Picasso (25 October 1881 - 8 April 1973) was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and theatre designer who spent most of his adult life in France. Regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a dramatic portrayal of the bombing of Guernica by German and Italian air forces during the Spanish Civil War.

"Picasso: Painting the Blue Period" is a lavishly illustrated volume that reexamines Pablo Picasso's famous Blue Period (1901 - 1904) in paintings, works on paper and sculpture. Relying on new information gleaned from technical studies performed on The Blue Room (Le Tub) (1901), Crouching Beggarwoman (La Misereuse accroupie) (1902) and The Soup (La Soupe) (1903), this multidisciplinary volume combines art history and advanced conservation science in order to show how the young Picasso fashioned a distinct style and a pronounced artistic identity as he adapted the artistic lessons of fin-de-siecle Paris to the social and political climate of an economically struggling Barcelona.

Essays, a chronology and a summary of conservation findings contextualize Picasso's experimental approach to painting during the Blue Period. A major contribution to the burgeoning field of technical art history, "Picasso: Painting the Blue Period" advances new scholarship on one of the most critical episodes in 20th-century modernism.

Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated with an impressively informative and exceptionally insightful commentary by a series of expert commentators and editors, "Picasso: Painting the Blue Period" is an extraordinary, inherently fascinating, thoughtful, thought-provoking, and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Fine Art instructional reference collections in general, and Pablo Picasso supplemental curriculum studies lists in particular.

Outdoor School: Contemporary Environmental Art
Amish Morrell, editor
Diane Borsato, editor
Douglas & McIntyre
c/o Harbour Publishing
9781771622844, $39.95, HC, 192pp

Synopsis: For more than a decade, the Outdoor School project has provided a framework for interdisciplinary artists to come together and share projects that re-imagine ways of relating with the landscape.

The experiential and community-based art projects described in Outdoor School present an alternative to scientific, commercial and colonial conceptions of land and nature in the face of climate change and mass extinction. These art practices include activities like mushroom foraging, water witching, trespassing, pumpkin-boat sailing, cloud identifying, ravine running, honey extracting, spell conjuring, rabbit hunting, coyote walking and more. The project calls attention to creative, counter-cultural works that are focused on education, community and place, and blur the boundaries between art and life, nature and culture.

Comprised of interviews, essays and over 150 photographs, "Outdoor School: Contemporary Environmental Art" is deftly edited by the team of Amish Morrell and Diane Borsato and is an significant contribution to discussions of contemporary art and ecology, foregrounding work that is marginal and ephemeral by nature.

The artists featured and showcased in "Outdoor School: Contemporary Environmental Art: include Alana Bartol, Diane Borsato, Bill Burns, Carolina Caycedo, Sameer Farooq, FASTWURMS, Ayumi Goto, Maggie Groat, Gabrielle Hill, Peter Morin, Public Studio, Helen Reed, Genevieve Robertson, Jamie Ross, Aislinn Thomas, Vibrant Matter, Jay White, Tania Willard, Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson and D'Arcy Wilson.

Critique: Exceptionally well organized and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in presentation, "Outdoor School: Contemporary Environmental Art" is an impressively unique, eloquent, and thought- provoking read -- making it especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Conceptual Art collections and supplemental studies reading lists.

Editorial Note #1: Diane Borsato is an artist, as well as an associate professor of studio art and head of the Experimental Studio area at the University of Guelph. She has exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, the Art Gallery at York University, Art Museum at the University of Toronto, the Walter Philips Gallery at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the National Art Centre as well as in galleries and museums around the world.

Editorial Note #2: Amish Morrell is an educator, curator, editor and writer who teaches at OCAD University in Toronto. From 2008 to 2017 he was Editor and Director of Programs at C Magazine, one of North America's foremost visual arts magazines. He has also curetted numerous exhibitions and developed public projects including Nightwalks with Teenagers with Mammalian Diving Reflex; The Sauna Symposium with Hart House at the University of Toronto; and Reading the Bruce Trail with Public Studio.

Alexander Calder: Minimal Maximal
Staatliche Museen zu Staatliche, editor
Nationalgalerie Berlin, editor
Prestel Publishing
9783791379296, $50.00, PB, 200pp

Synopsis: Alexander Calder (July 22, 1898 - November 11, 1976) was an American sculptor known both for his innovative mobiles (kinetic sculptures powered by motors or air currents) that embrace chance in their aesthetic, and static "stabiles" monumental public sculptures. He didn't limit his art to sculptures; he also created paintings, jewelry, theatre sets and costumes. (Wikipedia)

Few artists are able to work successfully on both large and small scales, but throughout his career Alexander Calder brilliantly moved from the miniature to the monumental and back again. "Alexander Calder: Minimal / Maximal" focuses on the enormous stabiles he created mostly for public places, as well as his elegant hanging mobiles in sheet metal, miniature standing mobiles, and chess sets, shedding light on the social and performative aspects of his work.

Essays explore how Calder approached the effects of kinetics and space, solidity and transparency, stasis and activity, volume and void. "Alexander Calder: Minimal / Maximal" also looks at how Calder's small-scale sculptures echoed the public spectacle of his larger pieces, creating a "private drama" that encouraged direct participation.

Whatever the size, Calder's works employed movement and interaction in unpredictable ways, and this enlightening study helps readers appreciate the important continuity of his oeuvre.

Critique: This profusely illustrated and bilingual edition (German/English) of "Alexander Calder: Minimal / Maximal" is exceptionally well written, organized and presented. Impressively informative and a pleasure to simply browse throughout, "Alexander Calder: Minimal / Maximal" is a very special and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Art History collections in general, and Alexander Calder supplemental curriculum reading lists in particular.

Fayoum Pottery
R. Neil Hewison
American University in Cairo Press
200 Park Avenue, Suite 1700, New York, NY 10166
9781649031327, $39.95 HC, 192pp

Synopsis: The Fayoum, a broad, fertile depression in Egypt's Western Desert, is known for its great salt lake, its rich green fields, and its unique pharaonic and Greco-Roman remains. It is also home to three very different centers of pottery production.

The potters of Kom Oshim specialize in decorated garden pots and other utilitarian ware, and guard the special secret of how to make the largest clay vessels in Egypt, up to an extraordinary two and a half meters tall. At al-Nazla, ancient traditions are kept alive, as members of a single extended family continue to use millennia-old techniques passed down from generation to generation, hand-forming among other things their distinctive spherical water jars with amazing dexterity and speed. In the small village of Tunis, the establishment of a pottery school by a Swiss couple in 1990 led to a complete transformation, and the village now hosts more than twenty-five pottery workshops and showrooms, whose products are sold in Cairo, London, and New York.

"Fayoum Pottery: Ceramic Arts and Crafts in an Egyptian Oasis" provides lively insight into a varied and vital craft, author R. Neil Hewison reveals the stories of the three villages and the skilled potters who make their living there, looking at how they learned their trade and how they work, from the preparation of the clay to the formation of the pots on the wheel or by hand, to the decoration, the glazing, and the firing, and finally to the display or distribution and sale of the finished product.

Critique: Providing a beautifully and profusely illustrated exploration of the ceramics of the Fayoum, "Fayoum Pottery: Ceramic Arts and Crafts in an Egyptian Oasis" will inspire and enchant both the casual reader and the experienced pottery maker alike. Informed and informative, inherently fascinating and impressively informative, "Fayoum Pottery: Ceramic Arts and Crafts in an Egyptian Oasis" will have a strong and enduring appeal to lovers of the craft of pottery -- both practitioners, and collectors alike -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, professional, community, college, and university library Ceramic Art, Pottery Making, and Antique/Collectible collections and supplemental curriculum
studies lists.

Editorial Note: Currently residing in Egypt, R. Neil Hewison is the author of The Fayoum: History and Guide (AUC Press, revised edition 2008) and the translator of After the Nobel Prize 1989 - 1994: The Non-Fiction Writing of Naguib Mahfouz Volume IV, as well as fiction by Yusuf Idris, Yusuf Abu Rayya, and Gamal al-Ghitani.


The Midwest Book Review is an organization of volunteers committed to promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing. We accept no funds from authors or publishers. Full permission is given to post any of these reviews on thematically appropriate websites, newsgroups, listserves, internet discussion groups, organizational newsletters, or to interested individuals. Please give the Midwest Book Review a credit line when doing so.

The Midwest Book Review publishes the monthly book review magazines "California Bookwatch", "Internet Bookwatch", "Children's Bookwatch", "MBR Bookwatch", "Reviewer's Bookwatch", and "Small Press Bookwatch". All are available for free on the Midwest Book Review website at www (dot) midwestbookreview (dot) com

Anyone wanting to submit books for review consideration can send them to:

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129

To submit reviews of any fiction or non-fiction books, email them to Frugalmuse (at) aol (dot) com (Be sure to include the book title, author, publisher, publisher address, publisher website/phone number, 13-digit ISBN number, and list price).

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages