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  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BC Paperback
  • Publication: 25 February 2019
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781782216506
  • Stock: 50+
  • Size: 225x225 mm
  • Illustrations: 140
  • Pages: 112
  • RRP: £12.99
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Abstract Acrylics


New approaches to painting nature using acrylics with mixed media by Waltraud Nawratil

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Book Description

Austrian artist Waltraud Nawratil shows you how to combine a love for nature with a passion for expressive abstract painting. The reader will learn how to use acrylics, watercolours or airbrushing, as well as natural materials such as sand, bark and leaves, to create captivating pictures full of colour and vitality.

There is a wealth of stunning abstract pieces by Waltraud which will provide inspiration for more experienced painters as well as the beginner. The book covers the variations through the seasons, teaching the reader to see the natural world with creativity and a fresh new perspective.

Table of Contents


- Reflections 4

- Materials and tools 6

-- Painting surface 6
-- Painting tools and accessories 7
-- Paints 8
-- Acrylic tools 10
-- Templates found in nature 11

- Sources of inspiration 12
-- Ideas 12
-- From a photo to a painting 18

- Techniques 28

- Refining painting techniques and discovering new ones 30

-Transfer technique 33
-- Technique 34
-- "Magnolias in Spring" 37
-- "Sunshine in the Autumn Forest" 39
-- "Abstract Poppies" 41
-- Grasses by the Wayside" 423
-- Sunshine Yellow in the Forest" 45

- Spray paint technique 47
-- Technique 48
-- "Through the branches" 51
-- "Autumnal Harmony" 53
-- "Goldenrod" 55
-- "Leaf by Leaf" 57
-- "A Summer's Day in the Meadow" 61
-- "In Rank and File" 63

- Photo transfer 65
-- Technique 66
-- "Flotsam" 69
-- "Wild Magic" 71

- Painting knife technique 73
-- Technique 74
-- "Romantic Floral Dream" 77

-- "Dandelion" 79
-- "In the Shade of the Old Tree" 81
-- "Flowers and Leaves" 83

- Mixed media technique 85
-- Technique 86
-- "Like Blossoming Islands" 89
-- "Summer's Here" 91
-- "Beautiful Flowers" 93
-- "The Colours of Summer" 95
-- "Evening Primrose" 97

- Watercolour technique 99
-- Technique 100
-- "Meadow of Wild Flowers" 103
-- "In the Shade of the Forest" 105
-- "Brilliant White Flowers" 107
-- Golden Sunflowers" 109

Final words and about the author 111

Publishing details 112

About the Author

About Waltraud Nawratil

Waltraud has always been inspired by the natural world, choosing subjects from her surroundings with vibrant and attractive colours. She began her artistic career with watercolours before moving on to experiment with other techniques and media. Waltraud has worked as a freelance painter since 1995 and today she offers painting courses combining watercolour and acrylic painting techniques. She encourages her students to attempt variations on ordinary subjects in order to gradually develop their own style. Waltraud works from her own studio near where she lives in Schönering, Upper Austria. Some of her pieces are available via the artists’ platform International Graphics. http://www.waltraud-nawratil.at


If you're looking for new ways to expand your horizons in nature painting, this exciting book will provide a waelth of instruction and inspiration.

Abstraction is not just about technique, but about observation and Waltraud will show you how to be enquiring and think about how you look at what's around you. Then, in a series of projects, she'll show you how to get this down on canvas or paper. She exploits the flexibility of acrylics and their ability to behave in different ways, both as washes and in impasto.

Techniques include transferring found materials to create textures, the use of sprayed colours to soften backgrounds and edges, photo transfer, knife painting, mixed media and, of course, the watercolour technique.

Each project comes with straightforward instructions and is complete in itself, so you can pick and choose what interests you and move around the book at will.

Follow Waltraud's helpful advice and you'll find ways of seeing you'd never thought of before.

Customer review

I found the book very different in the approach to abstracts that I have not experienced. Nevertheless, I found the style very interesting using materials such as leaves, twigs, and sand etc.

The author gives the reader 27 projects to have a go at, and every project is explained well, so is ideal for beginners as well as the more experienced artist. Some of the canvasses used for the projects are quite large so be warned!

The projects are delightful and one gets the experience of using a variety of mediums: acrylic paint, plastic wrap, sand, leaves, twigs, stalks, spray paint, all sorts. I cannot wait to have a go at a project as they are so colourful and a different way of abstract painting to what I have ever done.

Customer review

The book starts with details of different paints to try and the different tools to use. It's surprising how few tools are needed compared to the number that are on the market.

I love working with acrylics and they are my medium of choice when starting a painting, but this book has given me insight into new techniques to try and new materials to add to my work to give additional texture and different styles.
The first one I tried was using modelling paste, which I would never have thought of trying beforehand. I find using palette knives gives a really good texture, but adding the paste gave an added depth which was very effective.
I'm going to try the photos transfer technique next, am just waiting for the transfer glue to arrive. Hopefully it wont be long before I can see whether this is as easy as it sounds in the book.

Tips for finding inspiration and stencils around you in nature are always good and something that often isn't considered when painting and this book gives lots of advice on how to use them. The step-by-step paintings are very easy to follow, for you to create your own pieces of art.

Customer review

Using basic art materials found in most art shops, and collecting natural items such as leaves, grasses and stems, Waltraud is able to produce stunning representations of the natural world around her.

The book starts with a brief overview of tools, equipment and paint before each technique is explained step by step. There are many examples of her work alongside the reference photos used to inspire her, which is a great aid to our understanding of how each piece is made.
The remainder of the book focuses on each technique through 27 different projects: transfer technique, spray paint, photo transfer, painting knife, using mixed media and making watercolour. Each technique is carefully explained step by step through 3-4 projects. Be prepared to buy lots of new paints and to get messy! Each project looks appealing and easy to follow.

It should be noted that the majority of projects use large canvases around 80cm square, so youll firstly need a large space to work in and space to store your finished work (unless youre intending to hang them straight on the wall, in which case youll need a lot of big walls!). You could use smaller canvases but some of the techniques like spray paint wont achieve the same results on a smaller scale. With so much information and examples in the book it appears a little overwhelming to begin with, but I would suggest reading one section at a time, giving the techniques a try and developing them before moving onto the next technique. Each technique produces amazing results, with a painting you will be happy to hang on your wall.

Abstract Acrylics manages to do several things: firstly, Waltraud encourages us to look beyond our normal creative practices and see the potential not only in us but also the potential of the natural environment around us to inspire us to get creative. Secondly it encourages us to be bold and confident in using new techniques, and thirdly Waltraud is obviously a very talented and creative artist who has developed a style which is her own, which she kindly wants to share with others. Its one thing to be able to paint like this, it takes another skill set to be able to explain and teach it to others in such a varied, interesting and practical way.

Overall this is a great book for both amateur and professional artists who want to explore the versatility of acrylics in a new way.


An experimental approach to painting. Abstract painting using a variety of mediums and methods that you can follow in 27 step-by-step projects. The step-by-step is brief and although there are photographs, they do not show every step. I would therefore recommend this book for experienced painters, and also for those who understand how different paints work - are knowledgeable about the flow of paint etc. Some great examples of finished works and I do like Waltraud's methods and style. She introduces you to a different way of working. For example with a palette knife and spray paint as well as actual leaves and petals. The book concentrates on interpreting the natural world in a beautiful way. Discover how to transform the reality of the landscape and flowers into interesting abstract paintings.

The Artist, June 2019

This is a book about working with natural subjects to create images that are more than representation and which encompass the essence of the subject and the artist's reaction to it. The book is based around a series of 27 projects, each presented in a single spread. You get the finished results, a list of materials and a series of short steps to completion. These are not hand-holding demonstrations and the more experienced painter might prefer to use them as jumping-off points for the technical sections they inhabit - transferring textures and photos, spray painting and mixed media. This is an engaging and thought-provoking book that should spark your own ideas into life. 

Crafts Beautiful - April 2019

Be inspired by nature to create beautiful and expressive abstract paintings that combine acrylics, watercolours and airbrushing with mixed media techniques. This includes incorporating actual natural materials in your artworks, such as sand, bark and leaves.

Leisure Painter, April 2019

Push the boundaries of your working practices with Austrian artist, Waltraud Nawratil's new book Abstract Acrylics. Aimed at both experienced painters and beginners, Waltraud uses natural materials in her work, such as sand, leaves, and bark, as well as her love of nature through the seasons to create energetic and colourful paintings. Her teaching methods are clear and concise, encouraging you to experiment with acrylics, watercolour and airbrushes, using creative mixing techniques, painting knives photo transfers, collage and imprints. 

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