HollyDeanArtist: Often Medieval in Mood: "Acrylic Solutions" Book Review + Giveaway!

Friday, May 17, 2013

"Acrylic Solutions" Book Review + Giveaway!

A "Must Have" for Your Mixed Media Art Library

I am a Chris Cozen and Julie Prichard devotée, having taken most of their online workshops over at The Land of Lost Luggage. They are wonderful mixed media art teachers, tireless in their pursuit of sharing valuable information and demonstrating techniques through video with voice over. Their book, "acrylic solutions: exploring mixed media layer by layer", is the perfect complement to their classes.

I spent a delightful day pouring over this book, soaking up the colourful images, practical information and painting techniques. "acrylic solutions" is ideal for artists just embarking on their painting journey and for mid to advanced artists looking for ways to add more complexity to their work.

I love that the book itself is written in layers, from preparing the surface of your support to varnishing the final piece. We follow Chris and Julie as they each go through the process of creating a painting. Useful tips are highlighted throughout the pages and there are LOTS of high quality pictures, including demonstrations, finished pieces and detail shots.

You are encouraged to "own this book" starting with developing your own composition, using one or more techniques from each section. This will inspire you to explore further by using several techniques from each section of the book, creating your own unique piece of multi-layered art. I can't wait to take this fabulous book into the studio and start painting!

I heartily recommend "acrylic solutions" to everyone who wants to create mixed media art.

I am also thrilled to tell you that I was a contributor! You will find one of my favourite paintings, "Altered Perception", in a small grouping of artists' mixed media work at the end of the book.


Julie and Chris have very generously given me a signed copy of "acrylic solutions" to give away here on my blog. For your chance to win this fabulous book, leave a comment on this post, along with your email address by the end of day, Thursday, May 23rd. The lucky winner will be drawn and their name announced on my blog and FB page on Friday, May 24th. Good luck to all!

paintings inspired by Chris and Julie's online workshops

 A quick overview of "acrylic solutions":

the basics
design, colour, materials and more
- the elements of art: line, space, value, colour, shape and texture
- materials, tools and supplies: limited paint palette for colour mixing; brushes, sponges, palette knives, stencils and mark making tools; acrylic mediums for extending working time and colour; gels and pastes for creating texture
- a simplified overview on how acrylics work, including paint formulations; the difference between fluid and heavy-body; earth vs lab pigments
- colour wheel, mixing colour, making glazes, understanding what colours work well together

laying a good foundation

prepping your substrate: canvas, paper and wood
gesso, collage, cardboard

adding structure

"the framework upon which you hang every other technique"
- texture, mark making, collage, colour, imagery
- how products behave: great chart explaining the properties of textural products
- crackle paste [my favourite]
- creating raised, layered stencil patterns
- different techniques for laying in colour
- using line as structure to draw the eye; understanding the emotion and mood line invokes
- image as structure: collage transfers, collage

developing complexity
"create mixed media compositions that are visually compelling and exciting"
- simplified drawing, mark making, mono printing; painted lines, blocks and design; sheer collage elements, paint skins, patterns with stencils, glazing, shading
- it's all in a glaze: great chart of glaze formulas for grit, grime, rust and patina
- fine tuning with colour
- developing contrast and dimension

finessing the details
"this is your opportunity to correct and refine your composition"
- a list of great critique questions to ask yourself as you develop your piece
- finishing touches: rubber stamps, ink, pens & sticks, oil crayons & pastels, charcoal pencils
- painting a surface to draw on with an acrylic ground, paste or medium
- using colour as detail
- special effects with metallic and interference paints
- a page of sample mixes and examples
- using acrylic spray paint with stencils

Words from Julie and Chris:

Julie: "When you mix and match techniques, you can achieve countless variations and looks. I hope you enjoy learning from this book and expanding your painting repertoire."

Chris: "Writing this book has only reinforced my commitment to mixed media. Where else in the art world can you use such diversity of materials and develop such a range of outcomes?"


  1. Looks like a great book. Enter me in your drawing! Marciadotcom@yahoo.com

  2. Can't wait to read this book! Sounds fabulous!

  3. If that's a book that has influenced you Holly, and helped you make such wonderful pieces, then it's one I should really study.

  4. I am THRILLED to have found your blog and website through Julie Prichard. WOW! Thank you for the great giveaway!
    Robyn (reddoggrrl@gmail.com)

  5. This book is in my shopping bag to buy but if I was lucky enough to win it I could of course substiute another great art book and keep the learning and growing going even more. This book has to be a great addition to an artist as I enjoy Chris's books that I have bought previously and The Land of Lost Luggage online courses of which I am due to resume. Thanks for a great review. Your opinion counts for much.

  6. Hi Holly! Looks like a great book, thanks for the recomendation.

  7. Wow! This does look like a book I need to have! And...you are just so wonderful to have this give-away!!! Thank you so much!!!!

  8. Janice JohnstonMay 17, 2013 9:24 am

    Hi Holly,
    This book sounds like a great resource, and I'll look for a copy when it comes out, it I dont win the draw. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. Janice

  9. This book looks like a tremendous addition to any mixed media artists' library! I have been working in mixed media for a while, but sometimes get stumped on either the technical or compositional aspects (usually not on the same work!) Thanks for posting. How exciting that you have a work included in the book! Can't wait to see more!

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. This looks amazing; thanks for drawing the book to our attention. :)

    (Er - I was hoping my e-mail address would be included, but I'm not sure it has been. fmoffatt@gmail.com )

  12. love to own this book! kee13@aol.com

  13. Andree CazabonMay 17, 2013 11:52 am

    Thanks Holly!
    Looks like a great resource. I will check out their online courses too.
    Thanks for passing on this info.
    Have a great day!


  14. Thank you, Holly. I've been dying for this book. I have taken several of C & J's on line classes. Love them!!!

  15. I have been following Julie and Chris for sometime and have taken some of their courses. A signed copy would be great!! I am glad to have discovered you as you are situated close to me and the courses you offer sound interesting I hope to be able to take one soon.

  16. Thanks for the link to the workshops. I've just completed my very first online workshop and am so impressed I'll certainly be lining up for more. The book would be a great help to me. What a fabulous giveaway!

  17. How lovely to discover your blog and this book giveaway today. Special thanks to David Hayes for his tweet that got me here. Would love to win the book and I will look forward to learning more about your work and your workshops as well!

  18. Hi Holly! This book sounds fantastic...As a fan of Julie and Chris, it sounds indispensable!! Enter me in your draw!

  19. HI Holly!! Thanks for the great review and the giveaway! Chris and Julie are amazing, so I know the book will be too! I'd be thrilled to win!! emakesart@gmail.com

  20. Hello Holy,
    How generous of you.....I am a fan of Chris and Julie and would love to win their book =0)

  21. I would love to win this book! What a great tool!

  22. I would love to share this book with my art teacher and fellow art students. Thank you Holly for sharing your love of art! Sharon slstull64@gmail.com

  23. I'd love this book: Thank you for the opportunity.


  24. I'd love to have this book. Medieval art has always intrigued me!

  25. Your book looks amazing! I look forward to purchasing it, UNLESS I win it! :-)

  26. The book looks amazing! I'm just venturing into mixed media> saltiery@clearwire.net

  27. Holly, could not figure out how to post to blog and might be too late but wanted to comment that this sounds like a marvelous book and I have also bookmarked the site for the online tutorials. Would love to win the book if I can enter via this comment. Am in much need of a return to art and the exercise and growth of creating. Thanks for sharing!
    Deb Usselman Serre

  28. Congrats for having your work published in this amazing book. Please enter me in your drawing. I would so love to win this.

  29. Yet again, Holly, you are an Inspiration, on so many levels. And you continue to share your many Inspirations with us all. Thanking you, Truly. ~Alice Esther :o)

  30. What a great offer...for what sounds like a great book. I would defo count as a novice acrylic painter and I would love to benefit from their experience.

  31. I would love to win a copy!

  32. I followed a series of links and came across your wonderful blog! Having trouble w/ the IPad so will keep this short. I would love a chance to win the book.


    PS Hope I can subscribe to your blog!

  33. I'm so excited to learn from you and the people that inspire your work! Hope to have a copy of Acrylic Solutions in my repertoire, wether I win it or not ;)
    Christine 613.435.0353

  34. At our studio in Hendersonville, nestled in the Western North Carolina mountains- I have several artists besides myself who want to learn and understand Mixed Media using acrylics.
    We would love a copy to use and learn from!

  35. this book looks so exciting! thank you for the chance to win!


  36. Count me in please. Thanks, Spike =:)

  37. What a great giveaway chance! Thank you!

  38. Chris and Julie,

    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of your fabulous Book. It looks amazing and well thought out!

    Best Regards,

    Geary Herendeen

  39. I love the online classes Chris and Julie teach and this book would be such a great asset!


  40. Oh, the book looks yummy!! I would love a copy! I love Chris art!


  41. Thank you for the blog hop and the chance to win this beautiful book which would be put to good use! Lorraine at

    ndougl at telus.net

  42. This sounds like a great book. Thanks for the chance to win. Love mixed media!

  43. I held this book in my hands while drooling over it!

  44. I was sure I had already commented here, but I don't see it, so, as I don't want to be left out of this one, count me in. That's definitely a book I'd be interested in.
    yabut (at) yahoo (dot) ca

  45. Count me in too please! Beryl

  46. Wonderful! dragon01@xplornet.com

  47. Thanks for the chance to win.


  48. Acrylics. Who would have thought that a new, quick drying paint, developed in the 1940s as an alternative to slow drying oil paint would become such an incredibly versatile painting medium, perhaps the most versatile of all mediums? Acrylic paint, with its incredible variety of supporting gels and pastes. its ability to be applied to so many different surfaces and to be used as transfers and collages gives artists a freedom of expression and an ability to stretch their imagination and creativity to stages never seen before. Martin

  49. I would love to have this book. I hear so many wonderful things about it. I am relatively new to acrylics having done a few classes and instantly fell in love. Also have seen a snip of a Chris Cozen video and think she is a wonderful teacher.

  50. Would love to win this book! I love books and especially from a FAV artist! I would love to learn new techniques.... it would be an honor to win it, the books LOOKS AWESOME!!!! Thank you so much for the opportunity...

  51. Just in case my first entry gets lost in the masses...I'm entering again! You do know that I think you are the most wonderful, talented artist out there...and not just because I really would like to have this book!!! (o:

  52. OMG! I really would love to have a copy of this book! Thank you for this opportunity to win it. Arlene

  53. Please enter me to win!

  54. I'm all in!

  55. what a great book, just starting out in mixed media and would love to know how to create this wonderful looking art...thanks.......kate

  56. Please include me in the drawing. Thanks...Elaine

    1. Hi Elaine. Sorry, but yesterday was the cutoff for the draw. I announced the winner this morning. Thanks for trying :)



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