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

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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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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