This isn't a step by step "how to do mixed-media" book, it's more a look at Sarah Ahearne Bellamare's own personal creative process. She throws in a few hints and tips that she's learned along the way and also details her favourite materials. She's not saying these are the materials that we should all use, just that these are the ones she's found work best for her. I like this approach and I like the explanation of what each thing does... for example, I've seen Golden Medium mentioned around the T'internet a lot but never really knew exactly what it was - well, now I do.I also like her take on image transferring and will be trying her technique - it seems less messy than others I've tried. I also love the way she uses the photos within her collages - it's got my head buzzing with ways to put my own twist on this within scrapbooking.
A lot of Sarah's tips I already do but there were a few in there that are so obvious I feel almost daft for not doing them already - using sketchbooks as mobile inspiration boards for example, carrying one with you and taping in found bits and pieces that inspire you on a daily basis - creating mini collages within the pages with jotted down thoughts and feelings, doodles and sketches... I do this on a larger scale in a huge sketchbook, why don't I do it on the go as thoughts occur in a smaller book? I will be from now on.
I especially liked the last section. At first it annoyed me a bit throughout the book where she shows an idea or technique and then says "flip to such and such a page to see the finished painting." I wanted it right there - on the next page but on completing the book I see why this was done. It kept the chapters sectioned off better and enabled the last chapter to be the one where we see a canvas go from idea, to thought process, to painting and collage, to finished piece.
I have to mention the size of the book too. At roughly 11" by 11.5" it was not to big and not to small, I enjoyed reading this leisurely each morning with my breakfast, a quick run-down the page you are on with your hand and the pages stay open not flipping closed again, allowing you to read easily while keeping your hands free to maybe work along (or eat!) while you read.
Whether you are an established artist or a complete beginner I think you'd find something for you in this book. Even if it's purely the nosiness factor of getting to look around someone else's space and seeing the creative process from their viewpoint. Even if Sarah's style is not your style - it's not mine, I'm much more grungy, there is still inspiration to be gained from this book. I found it an enjoyable read and have definitely come away from it with a few ideas of my own.