books / reviews

the reviews are in…


61RV1FXlXSL._SX381_BO1,204,203,200_The Art of Brusho: a guide to beautiful paintings by Carrie McKenzie

I’ve had a set of Brusho color crystals on my shelf for a while.  When I first gobrushospritzerset 001t the set, I opened it up, reviewed the general info sheet that it came with and thought well this is pretty cool stuff and how do you not just love those little pots of glorious color but I never got around to actually trying it out.  So the box went on the shelf where it has stayed ever since.  A couple of weeks ago I pulled this beautiful “The Art of Brusho” book out of the mailbox and I knew that it was time to take a serious look at these paints.  This new book by Carrie Mckenzie is a fabulous guide to working with these highly pigmented water soluble water color crystals.  She starts by going over the essentials – everything you need to know about Brusho, the brushes and paper to use etc.  There is a great review of the composition of design, value and basic color theory and then she covers the basics of using brusho.   There are step by step demonstration exercises that will walk you through techniques ranging from the basics of working wet on wet and wet on dry to blending, working with masking and resists, negative painting techniques, working with bleach, creating abstracts using Brusho with starch, on Yupo paper as well as creating texture using gesso, soap bubbles and bubble wrap.  Her easy to read and understand instructions are accompanied by beautiful clear photographs.  While this book is filled with gorgeous finished artwork it’s more than just a book of pretty pictures.   It is a comprehensive guide to all you need to know about working with Brusho.

A Visual Guide to Free-Motion Quilting Feathers: professional quality results on your home machine by Natalia Bonnerindex

I’ve been wanting to explore some new quilting designs to add to my quilts and have been doing a lot of studying and practicing on how to quilt feathers.  This new book by Natalie Bonner is a treasure trove of ideas for taking the 3 basic feather designs: the single, the bump back and the curl and applying it 68 different ways.  The first 14 or so pages of the book covers the three basic feather types,  how to stitch them and then talks briefly about marking, needles, thread and tension, batting, layering and basting.  The rest of the books 119 pages is devoted to diagrams for using those feather types in single block designs and borders.  The single block designs covers using them in diamond layouts, stretched centers, pod, binary, quadrant, flower, medallion, flirty, square, straight line, triangles and flying geese.  The 11 border designs cover large and small borders and like the 57 single block designs each design is illustrated with large, clear  photographed examples and illustrations and easy to read and follow written directions.  If you want to add feathers to your free motion quilting tool box then you definitely want to add this book to your personal library.

Read this if you want to be great at drawing by Selwyn Leamy

I have a weakness for books on the subject of drawing (which goes with my weakness of not being able to pass by the colored pencil display at the craft store!) and when I saw indexthis book on the book store shelf I couldn’t resist picking it up.  On the back cover it says that the book is “a jargon-free guide packed with simple diagrams and practical activities” and that’s exactly what I found when I opened this book.  There is nothing fancy about this book – the cover is pretty plain, it looks and feels like a plain everyday sketchbook, the inside is all in black and white and there are no glossy pages of beautiful artist sketchbook pages that look ready for framing.  But this deceptively plain looking book is absolutely packed with all you need to start drawing and to do it with confidence and success.  Broken into 5 sections: Starting, Tone, Accuracy, Perspective and Explore each of the lessons and exercises within each section are easy to understand and follow and are accompanied by the authors drawn illustrations as well as inspirational drawings by some of the greats including Picasso, Matisse, Duchamp, Escher and many more.  This is definitely one of my favorite books on the subject of drawing.

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4 thoughts on “the reviews are in…

  1. Thanks for the reviews. I received some Brusho crystals for Christmas, but haven’t yet tried them out. The book sounds like a good jumping off point. The drawing book sounds wonderful. I appreciate your reviews. You have never steered me wrong and saved me from buying some.


  2. I, too, have only played with Brusho a few times, so I appreciated your review of Carrie’s book. But can Brusho successfully be used on fabric? I’d like to know if the author covers that subject. Thanks


    • Hi Sue, Brusho is a water based pigment so while you could use it on fabric the results won’t be permanent if the fabric is washed. According to the Brusho site: “Brusho can be used to colour fabric but not fixed for washing”. Judy Gula talked about using it on fabric by mixing it with some textile medium to make it permanent on fabric on her blog here: This book does not cover working with it to color fabric so you would need to experiment.


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