A thorough and beautifully produced guide to an ever popular medium.

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COLD WAX MEDIUM

TECHNIQUES, CONCEPTS & CONVERSATIONS

A debut book demonstrates the artistic use of cold wax. 

The manipulation of cold wax as an artistic tool is hardly new: its employment dates back 4,000 years to ancient Egypt, with a resurgence occurring in the 18th century. But Crowell and McLaughlin, both artists with extensive involvement with cold wax as a medium, noticed increased interest in it recently and, as a result, the need for an informational resource. First and foremost, the volume is a reference guide, providing a wide expanse of knowledge regarding cold wax, covering the various techniques available for its use and its properties, the relevant tools and materials, and its applications for different artistic media, including painting, sculpture, collages, and landscapes. There’s also a discussion of how to set up a new studio and a list of resources for supplies and products. A portion of the book is more wide-ranging; besides a brief history of cold wax, the authors also furnish an examination of a full “visual language” as a precondition for making works and a meditation on the process of discovering one’s “personal voice” as an artist. Additionally, there are several short interviews with artists reflecting on cold wax as well as art and creation in general. Not only are the various techniques explored in these pages well-illustrated, readers will also find color photographs of works from over 100 artists.  The authors’ guide is almost impossibly comprehensive—they manage to treat the proper lighting of an atelier, the utilization of cradled panels, and glazing all in one volume. The writing is helpfully lucid and refreshingly shorn of the kind of pretentious, postmodern jargon one expects to discover in a work about contemporary art. While there are extended ruminations on the nature of art and expression, this is principally a how-to book, and the collective experience of two veterans really shines through in the sections providing step-by-step accounts of techniques. The intended audience seems to include both beginners and more seasoned professionals: those who have never set up their own studios before and those on the hunt for specialized tools. The parts that stray from the chief subject for the sake of discourses on creativity tend to be overly broad, especially in contrast to the largely practical lessons otherwise delivered, and read like unnecessary digressions: “We must find the best means of expression for what we hold inside. This requires inner work.” Nevertheless, this is both a timely and timeless volume, and it’s hard to imagine that its scope and quality will be exceeded anytime soon. In addition, the photographic reproductions of art are visually gorgeous, making the offering an attractive coffee-table book, as enjoyable to peruse as it is instructionally valuable. 

A thorough and beautifully produced guide to an ever popular medium. 

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Squeegee Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2017

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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