Silver Crow Project

Artful Readers Club - Acrylic Solutions

I'm a couple of months behind with the Artful Readers Club so instead of giving up I'm jumping back in with this book I've been reading. I'll catch up at the end of the challenge.

Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Acrylic Solutions by Chris Cozen & Julie Prichard * A book review

Acrylic Solutions by Chris Cozen and Julie Prichard

I only recently discovered Julie Prichard via Natasha's link love post and serendipitously it was at the same time as she was releasing this book with Chris Cozen. (Who I had yet to discover.) At the time the book on Amazon was £16.99 and I will admit I thought that was expensive. I searched everywhere to try and get it cheaper. (I'd like to inject here that I'm not a Scrooge just really skint.) About the same time I won £10.00 online with one of those free birthday lotteries - it seemed the Fates wanted me to buy this book. So I did.

First impressions - the book is a nice size. Hardbacked and roughly 11x9" and 127 pages (incl index etc.) The pages are spiral bound and I have found this format excellent for working through the book. It either lays flat or, if I'm short of space I can stand it on end without fear of losing my place or it falling over.

The authors both very openly admit that they purely use only GOLDEN products. They also say that's just their preference and to experiment and see what works best for you.  I have seen some reviews slamming them for this and I'm not sure why. I don't own a single GOLDEN product - never tried that brand, just haven't found any where I shop. I worked through this book with what I had on hand - this was Liquitex and the Winsor & Newton Galleria mediums, Kaiser Colour, Eco and Liquitex Basics paints plus my big old tub of white gesso. (I think that might be W&N too.) The techniques worked very well for me - so if you are put off the book because of the GOLDEN references and can't be bothered to see what is actually available to you - the book wont be for you. And it will be your loss.

The main body of the book comes in 5 chapters:
1 - The Basics: design, colour, materials and more
2 - Laying a Good Foundation
3 - Adding Structure
4 - Developing Complexity
5 - Finessing the Details

Every page of the book is scattered with beautiful examples from both Julie and Chris and there are various step by step exercises with clear pictures throughout the chapters for you to complete. Again - I didn't have all the colours they used and sometimes not all the different textured mediums. I just used what I have.

Hands up - I am still only two thirds through this book but I got to page 24 and realised this was not a book you just read. This is a book you work through.  To me it feels like a workshop in book form. So I went back to the beginning and started afresh. I still haven't finished the book because I keep stopping to try everything out. I have been 'messing about' with Acrylics for a couple of years but never got past feeling like I was just messing about. No matter how I researched I never did understand what all the mediums did. Or how to blend and get depth.  The mediums are explained clearly over and over again. What they do, how they work with other mediums, water, paint etc. Never again will I stand in The Range looking at the shelves and just... not know. I have a shopping list pages long of things I want to try, different mediums and tools. It's not all new - we all know I love my texture and drips but I've learnt new ways of incorporating them, layering them, blending them. Bringing it all together - knowing when to stop.

This book, hand on heart, has already become the most used and abused art book I own. The cover and pages splattered in paint. I no longer think the initial £16.99 was expensive - although, already it can be bought much cheaper than that. I actually think the amount of information packed in here, for me, they have been incredibly generous. 

Acrylic Solutions is a book I will refer back to again and again. It's been a game changer.

Julie Prichard's blog
Chris Cozen's blog
So what did I create? This first picture shows some of the backgrounds I've done. Using Acrylic Glazes (the pink/orange one) over a previously collaged/gessoed canvas that was sitting unloved on my shelf. The other two are canvas board and using colour blocking and colour patching.
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Prepped backgrounds
This one shows what the green canvas board from above looks like now - a few layers and techniques later. Still a way to go.
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Prepped Background, additional layers
Trying the techniques on paper - index cards to be exact.
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Grungy Index Cards
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Mixed Media Grungy index card

And this is a small canvas I made for a friend... (Both the index card above and this canvas I was playing with the Summer of Color final colour combo which was Sage & Sepia.)
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Grungy Mixed Media canvas - In Your Heart The Key Had Survived

Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Grungy Mixed Media canvas

I feel I have developed in so many ways while reading this book - bearing in mind I am still just two thirds through, I cannot wait to see what else I learn. If I were to ever meet Julie or Chris I would thank them. They've literally kicked open a door in my brain and all this creativity and inspiration is just flooding out. 

I'm undecided what I'll read and review for next months Artful Readers Club so I'll leave that as a surprise to you and me both ;)

Thank you for stopping by today.


  1. The book sounds fascinating, and I love your experiments with what you've learnt so far. (or should that be learned?) Anyhow, will go and check out their blogs now. Thanks for sharing your review.

  2. whoaaa, now THAT's a review!!! I think, just maybe, I ought to actually open this book that I bought months ago but haven't even looked at yet lol. Loving all your artwork too!

  3. Wowsers! Im so glad now I ordered this book from Amazon before I came away to the caravan as I cant wait to get my hands on it now. Its good to hear you say you are managing to work through it with what you have to hand as like you Im on a strict budget and cannot always afford to get what is recommended etc.

    Im glad its a "doing" book and how fab for an art book to be paint splattered - signs of a successful book

    Loving your examples - cant wait to see if I can produce anything even a fraction as good. Particularly loving the textures on the green canvas board

    1. It really is a 'doing' book Suzy. I even did the colour wheel exercise and colour blending at the beginning. I have my wheel pinned proudly on my wall.

  4. This book sounds terrific and what you created is just great! I love the colours, the textures, the text and that interesting little face on the key canvas. I really missed your contribution last month; it's great to see you back and to hear how inspired this book has made you! You've made me want to buy it, as it really sounds worth investing in. Julie Ann x

  5. I love when a person uses a book so much that the poor thing looks nearly departed. I know this might sound weird coming from a writer and book lover, but I think it is one of the best compliments a writer can receive.

    And your art? Solid! It tells such a lovely story. The key continues to survive...

  6. Carmen! You have us blushing from your compliments. BUT, we are so happy you are doing what we hoped people would do with our book and making it your own, paint splatters included. We believe doing is how we learn and we so appreciate when someone leaps into the unknown based on our guidance. Thank you for all your words. They are realistic and we didn't pay you a single penny for them! They are worth their weight in gold. Please visit us on FB and post some of your accomplishments to my Chris Cozen, Artist FB page! I'd love to brag about you and your work!

  7. Lovely work! Thanks for your thoughts on the book - I love how you realised you need to WORK through it, not just read it!

  8. Great review .... am definitely buying this book! Thank you

  9. great review! The book is on my list since it came out, only a few months until my birthday :) I did some online courses with Julie and Chris and they are both wonderful tutors.

  10. :) I am waiting for my book, that you actively encouraged, like a circle completing. HAHA. And how fabulous that your honest words have been so heard and appreciated. Rock star famous!! xx

    And gorgeous backgrounds as well. :)

  11. A very interesting review and wonderful that you have found the book so useful. It may well fall into my basket at the checkout at some future date. Love your work, especially the key canvas.

    Janet xx

  12. Marvellous getting a comment AND invitation from one of the authors! Although what you show are techniques I've followed from other books, I'll have a look at it on Amazon and hope they have a Look Inside section. Your enthusiasm shines through and it has got my pulses racing, so as it's birthday time I'll mention it to the boss. He keeps buying me things as a present and then can't resist giving them to me so then he says 'I haven't got you a present yet'. So I'll let you know if I follow your lead. Great review and your artwork is impressive. I love that impressed key.

  13. Ok, so this is only the second review that has resulted in me actually buying the book. I did the birthday line ( silly really when it all comes out of the joint account!) and ordered it. The approach and contents are quite different from other books I have and it looks so clearly written and well laid out. So, success from your review. Thanks.

  14. I had heard of this book and am thrilled that you found it so inspiring. As I have already bought one book that has been reviewed this week I will have to wait to get this one lol :D XXX

  15. Great review Carmen but more importantly I love the paintings you've done, I mean I really love them!!! Think you have found soomething here... will be keen to see what you do next!!

  16. This is a great review (the book is now on my Wish List!), and here I am doing a Snoopy Happy Dance 'cos that wonderful artwork (in your heart the key had survived) is now mine, all mine!!! It's even more amazing IRL than is shown in these photos (I know that doesn't seem possible, but it is!).

    Thank you thank you thank you, Carmen.


  17. Hi Carmen. I'm catching up on gorgeous Prom Girls and handsome hat wearers and hot air balloons and bike riders and everything else that has made me smile on your blog today. It's good to be back :)

    ps I really like your stripey carpet

  18. Oh Carmen, I love your review. You did a marvelous job As far as Golden products are concerned, I've always said to use what you have. Now I realize Golden is their product of choice, but I only own Golden Fluid Acrylics. Everything else is either cheap craft acrylics, store brand, or Liquitex gel medium, because it's SO much cheaper than Golden's gel medium. Like less than half the cost for an equal amount.

    I remember you left a comment on one of our SOC entries and warned me that's all these gals used after I slammed Claudine Hellmuth. The big difference is, these gals tell you to use their product OR use whatever you have on hand, which is not true of Hellmuth. She tells you in no uncertain terms to use her products or the projects won't turn out right. She makes it seem like a sin to use anything else. I prefer artists who allow you options.

    I love your lovely canvases. I especially like the green one. I will be interested to see what you finally end up with when it's finished. It's already looking great with all those added layers.

  19. Great review, the book sounds so good. Your art work from working through it is super. Will look out for it.
    Jen x

  20. Great review, I certainly will be buying the book. I am taking some online workshops with Julie and Chris and they are both fantastic talented teachers and have amazing patience and time for each person taking their workshop. What I also love is that there is no pressure to complete the workshops they are open always and both Julie and Chris continue to support the lessons. They are so passionate about sharing their knowledge and skills.
    I see many online workshops that are extremely expensive and are open for a limited time.

  21. REally enjoyed this review and I just loved seeing your art that it inspired! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  22. Great review, definately off to add this to my wish list. love your canvas, not my colours but i adore the texture.

  23. I want this book! Am a little low on cash right now but it's the first thing I'll buy!
    I love what you created so far!!! ♥


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