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Product Review: Rethinking Acrylic

September 22, 2010

I’m conflicted about this book, so this is being categorized as a “Product Review” rather than as a “Book Recommendation”.  The full title is Rethinking Acrylic: Radical Solutions for Exploiting the World’s Most Versatile Medium by Patti Brady from North Light Books, 2008 .  I just finished going through the whole book; it has a spiral bound interior with a hard cover and retails for $29.99 USD.  I will list the negative and the positive aspects of this book.

Here are the downsides of the book:

  • It’s pretty short, there are 155 pages of material before you hit the index.
  • The author is employed as the Working Artist Program Director for GOLDEN Acrylics and all of the techniques in the book hinge on the use of various GOLDEN Acrylic products.  There are no substitutions or comparable products mentioned at all.  If the publisher just dropped in prices and an order form and made this free, it would be the greatest catalog ever.

GOLDEN Acrylics are very good products and I’ve heard many people say that they are the best acrylic paints available.  I have greatly enjoyed the few products I have bought from them, but the bulk of their merchandise is cost prohibitive for me at this stage.  So I was a little disappointed to learn the book is basically an A – Z guide of GOLDEN products, techniques of using them and ways of using different products in combination.  I was hoping for something more oriented toward optimizing the use of the acrylic paints I already have.

At least one other artist featured in the book also has a business relationship with GOLDEN Acrylics; business overlaps such as this for both the author and the other artist probably enable access to materials for a wide range of experimentation, so this book seems like the results of this partnership or enterprise.  Maybe the book is mis-titled and should have indicated its origins from GOLDEN Acrylic.  A better title for this book would be Rethinking Acrylic: Methods, Tricks and Techniques with GOLDEN Acrylic Products.

That being said, here are some of the upsides of the book:

  • There are lots of photos and step-by-step techniques in the book.  I found a lot of them to be interesting.  Many featured artists’ paintings are shown as examples of the techniques and materials used.
  • There are a wide range of techniques, finishes and methods featured; such as how to mimic encaustic, photo image transfer techniques and more.  See the index for the chapter headings in the link below.


That is the whole book in a nutshell.  If you already have a sizable stash of GOLDEN products or can buy the needed products for the various techniques, you will benefit from this book.  It gave me ideas of different finishes, multi-media ways of working with different acrylic media and some methods of combing collage techniques with painting by using layers and films of acrylic media.  The book did make me want to buy into the different products featured in its pages.   I just wonder if product promotion was the focus of the book to begin with because I’m not “rethinking acrylic” as much as I am thinking about GOLDEN Acrylic.

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