Thursday, 18 August 2011

Painted Pages by Sarah Ahearn Bellemare



Blurb: Sarah Ahearn Bellemare’s whimsical mixed-media paintings are layered with found images, fragments of text from old books, pieces of outdated maps and glimpses of inspiration from daily life.
In her new book, Painted Pages, she shows how to use the artist’s sketchbook as a daily working tool; a place to collect inspirations, scraps, photos and doodles that can fuel idea`s and lead directly to future mixed-media paintings.

Each chapter features an inspiring and fresh collection of photographs by Thea Coughlin. The images spur ideas and illustrate prompts, techniques and projects that guide you through creating individual and personal works of art based on a variety of themes.

Extras include profiles of well-known artists and bloggers who share a peek into their sketchbooks and journals and details about how they stay inspired and creative.

This isn’t a step by step “how to do mixed-media” book, it’s more a look at Sarah Ahearne Bellamare’s own personal creative process. She throws in a few hints and tips that she’s learned along the way and also details her favourite materials. She’s not saying these are the materials that we should all use, just that these are the ones she’s found work best for her. I like this approach and I like the explanation of what each thing does… for example, I’ve seen Golden Medium mentioned around the T’internet a lot but never really knew exactly what it was – well, now I do. I also like her take on image transferring and will be trying her technique - it seems less messy than others I've tried. I also love the way she uses the photos within her collages – it’s got my head buzzing with ways to put my own twist on this within scrapbooking.

A lot of Sarah’s tips I already do but there were a few in there that are so obvious I feel almost daft for not doing them already – using sketchbooks as mobile inspiration boards for example, carrying one with you and taping in found bits and pieces that inspire you on a daily basis – creating mini collages within the pages with jotted down thoughts and feelings, doodles and sketches… I do this on a larger scale in a huge sketchbook, why don’t I do it on the go as thoughts occur in a smaller book? I will be from now on.

I especially liked the last section. At first it annoyed me a bit throughout the book where she shows an idea or technique and then says “flip to such and such a page to see the finished painting.” I wanted it right there – on the next page but on completing the book I see why this was done. It kept the chapters sectioned off better and enabled the last chapter to be the one where we see a canvas go from idea, to thought process, to painting and collage, to finished piece.

I have to mention the size of the book too. At roughly 11” by 11.5” it was not to big and not to small, I enjoyed reading this leisurely each morning with my breakfast, a quick run-down the page you are on with your hand and the pages stay open not flipping closed again, allowing you to read easily while keeping your hands free to maybe work along (or eat!) while you read.

Whether you are an established artist or a complete beginner I think you’d find something for you in this book. Even if it’s purely the nosiness factor of getting to look around someone else’s space and seeing the creative process from their viewpoint. Even if Sarah’s style is not your style – it’s not mine, I’m much more grungy, there is still inspiration to be gained from this book. I found it an enjoyable read and have definitely come away from it with a few ideas of my own.

Thank you to Quarry Books for sending the book for review :)

www.quarrybooks.com
www.quarrybooks.co.uk

Sarah Ahearne Bellemare: Blog & Website

Thea Coughlin

Thanks, as always, for stopping by :)

15 comments:

  1. I've just been sent this via a kind of book crossing and am loving it - funny, I remarked to myself on the size too!

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  2. So glad you enjoyed it. Lovely review :D

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  3. Hooray, hooray, she's back!! This book looks YUMMY and right up my street! I will DEFINITELY be putting this on my 'get this book for me or I'll sulk forever' wishlist.

    xxx

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  4. Sounds good Carmen (though I don't think I'll go as far as Joanna to get it!lol).
    It's so good to have you back!!
    Hugs xx

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  5. i *Love* this book.
    i hardly buy any art books, but i bought this one.

    i'm glad to see it reviewed.

    also, i'm so glad you're back in blogland.

    xx,
    amy

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  6. WOW YOU'RE BACK YOU'RE BACK YOU'RE BACK - THE FANFARES THE FLAGS, THE TEARY TRIBUTES, EVERYONE'S KISSING AND HUGGING AND JUMPIN UP AND DOWN AND... WHAT DO YA MEAN YOU'VE NOT NOTICED, THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY CARMEN TRIBUTES - HONESTLY - YOU'VE NOT SEEN THEM - CATCH UP GIRLIE!!!!!!!!!!! SO GLAD TO SEE YOU BACK

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  7. Wahay, you're back! And this is the very book I told you about too! What a coincidence! Lucky you getting a free copy to review - with a great review btw. Think you would be adding a few more darker colours to her work if you were to do it! ☺

    Nicky x

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  8. Carmen! My long lost Blog Sista'!!! How's the new place? Have you set up your new studio yet? Is it bright and airy? Done any new pieces? How are the kids adjusting? Anything exciting happened while you were unplugged?
    Questions, questions....we want answers!!! Haha :)

    This book sounds wondeful, btw! You are so cute when you write reviews...so professional....teehee!

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  9. Welcome back - how was the move? Knowing you there will be stories to tell....
    Hope you are clear of boxes and ready to play.... lol.

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  10. So good to have you back in blogland!!!Great review, will have to add this to my 'WANT IT' list now!! x

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  11. Hurray! She's back! This one made it onto my pass The Book list because I loved it so much. Loved the review.

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  12. Hey Hun,

    fab review,

    show us your journal (s)?

    Dxxxxx

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  13. Missed your comment ...you have probably gone but have a great time ...its waterproofs you need rather than jumpers.xx

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  14. I think I need this after reading this!

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