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Review of “Pop Painting” by Camilla d’Errico


Pop Painting-Inspiration and Techniques from the Pop Surrealism Art Phenomenon
PopPainting
       Camilla d’Errico is a Pop Surrealist Artist who, in her book Pop Painting, has opened the door to her studio, and her mind, and given us all an up close look at the makings of her beautiful paintings. When you pick up this book, you aren’t just getting a step by step guide to painting, you are getting a personal one on one look at the process and techniques used by a wonderfully talented artist, Camilla d’Errico. You are getting a look at her studio environments, what inspires her, what started her with painting, her journey into the Pop Surrealism Art world, and how through it all she stayed true to herself as an artist.
         An artist myself, this book was so much more then I could have imagined it would be. It was as if Camilla herself was a close personal friend or mentor, her book is so laid back, and funny, as we as inspiring and encouraging. I’ve bought, borrowed, and checked out so many art books in my lifetime, looking for the one that would help me better myself as an artist. All had tips and tricks, the typical walk through/study guide, and how to’s. It’s easy to read a book that tells you how to paint with acrylics, but it’s not the same as actually seeing it done. Camilla gets down deep and personal, and delivers a complete step by step of her paintings.
        When I chose to review Camilla’s book, I hadn’t really spent the time to look into it, and upon receiving it I instantly became a huge fan of her work. I grew up a manga fan, and actually spent much of my childhood drawing manga, so there was no question I loved Camilla’s style. Within the first couple chapters you get to know Camilla more. Being an artist myself made it so easy to connect with her personality, and I literally found myself laughing and agreeing with every silly habit and artistic quirk she has. Again, it was like hanging with a good friend, she made reading her book so easy and so much fun.
      Camilla introduces you to Pop Surrealism, which was a first for me, as I knew art had it’s classifications, but I had never really read far into what art classified as what. Next you get to know Camilla a little more, and what it is to be an artist. Part of what I loved about her book, was amidst introducing herself, she manages to turn the focus on you, yourself, the reader. Next she starts walking you through inspiration, choosing color, creating titles for your work, and little tips and tricks to being a better artist.
       Her book is set up in two parts, Part 1, Chapter three is where she introduces you to the tools of the trade, her materials, or weapons of choice, when creating her masterpieces. Whenever I walk through a studios, fairs, or any place where I can get a up-close look at another artists work, the first thing that goes through my mind is; what brand of paint do they use? What brushes are their favorites? What surface is their canvas of choice? Do they free sketch their work first, or just put brush to canvas and hope for the best? Do they use water or a mixing medium? Literally, a million questions go through my mind. When I got to chapter three, my face was glued to her book like it was my bible. I was taking in every bit of detail I possibly could.
      When I got to the photos of her work station, or studio, I was all smiles. I love getting to see the work place of other artists. My dream is to one day have a real studio of my own, one I don’t have to clean off my living room or kitchen table when we have guests over, ha ha. Next, and I know this might sound silly, but I love studying another artists paint pallet. They way they arrange their pallet and mix their colors speaks to me in a sense. Art is just a beautiful process, and getting to read/see another artists process is just beautiful.
Camilla pretty much answered every question I would ask, all in a few chapters. She graciously opened up her studio to those silly, curious young artists like myself to admire. She covers everything from painting surfaces, to setting up and organizing your studio, to choosing the right place and/or lighting for your studio. Chapter five covers sketching, from sketching your inspirations into a book to getting it onto canvas. From there, chapter by chapter, Camilla walks you through building your work of art. Using her own paintings as a guide, she covers things such as, Composition, Blending, Light and Shadows, Depth, and So much more!
      Part 2 starts with Top Ten Questions people ask her, followed by Tips and Tricks, and then goes into Step-by-step examples. Now, I loved this part, of course. It really is the next best thing to watching an artist paint on You Tube. She goes through the entire process of painting her girls. She starts with their eyes, then the lips, their hair, and their skin, which, if you’ve ever tried it, is not as easy as it looks. Next she walks you through painting some of the animals you can find in her work, some special effects she uses, and some of her black and white work. Her book then finishes with her journey from Passion to Profession. She touches on how she learned to love painting, how she found a home in Pop Surrealism, and how she dealt with becoming a professional artist (as well as dealing with rejection).
      Camilla’s book now sits on my studio table at all times. It is definitely one of my favorite reads as of late. Most might think of artists as a special breed of human who can just put a brush to canvas and like the fairy stepmother’s wand just Bibbidi-Bobbidy-Boo, create a masterpiece. But it truly is hard work that takes loads of time and dedication. Painting is my passion, but some days I will find myself grumbling and pouting as I drag my feet, coffee in hand, and make myself sit down and work a piece. I have been up into the wee hours of the night, eyes held open by toothpicks, and my hand  barely able to hold a brush without cramping up.
     Then comes the nerves of delivering a piece you just spent hours upon hours pouring yourself into. Your heart is pounding, your palms are sweating, and part of you, a very delicate part of you, could break into tears any second as you wait to see what people will think of your work. Art is an emotional mess from beginning to end, a rollercoaster that takes you through inspiration, excitement, and ambition, to artist block, then frustration, want to throw your canvas out into the rain, or punch a hole through it, to I love it, it’s mine, it’s my baby, I could just stare at it for hours, followed by heartbreak, letting go, hoping, praying, trusting that those who adopt your work will love it, treasure it, and put as much care into it as you have. It’s a crazy ride, but we love it!
Thank you Camilla, for opening your heart, mind, and studio to an artist like myself, who has barely got her foot at the door, just waiting for an opportunity to open up so I might make a home in the art world for myself. You are an inspiration, and I am elated to have gotten the opportunity to review your book.
-I received this book for free through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.