Book Review: Experimental Painting: Inspirational Approaches for Mixed Media Art

Experimental Painting: Inspirational Approaches for Mixed Media Art

By Lisa Cyr

Lisa’s writing is an art form in itself. Her use of words is a wonder that led me to reading random sentences aloud just to hear them spoken.

“Ideas ignite from within, prompted and propelled by one’s interests and surroundings. The manifestation comes to the surface only when all the necessary components are available to bring it to fruition. The coalescing of the internal and external spurs an inspired thought to take flight, and it is up to the artist to recognize and make sense of the relationships that begin to unfold once it surfaces.”

“Unveiling a world beyond the picture plane, the dimensional landscape takes on a more expansive, symbolic role in the pictorial realm, making a visceral connection with all who encounter its presence”

The book takes you from the initial stages of creating, the planning and sketching, through to gathering the tools and materials (and good ideas about using found items and altering existing tools), through to the stages of a painting, and a myriad of demonstrations of different techniques and constructions.

The depth of information was incredible. Beyond the actual painting she even discusses the marketing of you work and creating sustainable series of work and creating multiples. In terms of sheer information there is a lot in this book.

You also get to admire and ogle Lisa’s work which is quite frankly stunning. Her storytelling is inspired, and seeing the actual story behind her works, and then how she translates the story to images and symbols to bring it to life was insightful. Down to the way the work is presented and how that adds to the story, she gave me much to think about.

She does not show you step by step how to create one of her works, because this is not what the book is about, it isn’t learning to paint like Lisa. You can see the level of work she has put in to produce the images she does and that comes about through your own practice and dedication, not something you see shown in a book and reproduce. But there is so much more in the book that will help you tell and illustrate your own stories.

Her use of texture, and where and why she used it was illuminating and I had several “lightbulb” moments. She goes into creating textures a wee bit and some of her techniques seem so linear and obvious I was left wondering how I had never made the jump myself. Her work is truly representative of the term mixed-media in a way that I have never seen so completely in single pieces before. The combinations of materials, and the range she uses will inspire you.

Sometimes the writing was almost overwhelming, particularly at night sometimes after the children were put to bed, the words (as much as I also loved them! :)) had me turning to other books because I just wasn’t up to this book all the time.

Overall however, the book was inspiring and educational and I recommend it to people as a glimpse in how to add not only texture to their work but a real depth and combine the two to tell their stories.

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