‘Portrait Revolution’ is a Hand-held Art Gallery

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy.

My latest book selection is Portrait Revolution: Inspiration from Around the World for Creating Art in Multiple Mediums and Styles by Julia L. Kay, which was released as a trade paperback on April 11.

Kay herself is a gifted and established artist. She brought together hundreds of artists from around the world for a Portrait Party, in which the artists drew and painted one another’s portraits in different media and in different styles. Portrait Revolution features 450 of those very portraits from artists around the world.

Portrait Revolution is laid out in sections, much like a museum or gallery, with a section for “Portraits by Media,” “Portraits by Style” and “Portraits by Theme” followed by “Featured Artists” and ending with “On Making Portraits” with a sprinkling of “Featured Subjects” throughout the book.

“Featured Subjects” show a single artist captured by multiple artists on a two-page spread. Seeing individual works of the same person side-by-side is an interesting juxtaposition that allows the reader to fully immerse themselves in the featured portraits comprised of different mediums. I found it intriguing to see how individual artists approached the same model and captured his or her likeness.

“On Making Portraits” is a gathering of quotes from the artists who participated in Kay’s Portrait Party. I find this section to be the least compelling; it simply does not engage me the way the rest of the book does.

In “Portraits by Media,” different types of artist media are broken down into type, i.e. colored pencil and digital printmaking, with explanations of each type of media. This gives Portrait Revolution value as both an art education book and as a hand-held collection of artwork. Each portrait in the Portrait Revolution is identified exactly how pieces in museums are identified: by piece title when available, artist name, year created and medium used.

Portrait Revolution is a learning tool; I was learning about new art techniques and what captures the eye visually. My advice to readers is to take plenty of time to fully immerse oneself in Portrait Revolution in order to experience each piece as its own work of art and to compare and contrast works with one another, much like a person would view art in a museum or gallery.

The front and back covers are engaging and tease readers with eight beautiful portraits. The back cover copy is clean and absent of reviews and public praise. The book’s font is easy to read and does not compete with the portraits themselves. Portrait Revolution includes a directory of artists, an alphabetical index and an index of subjects.

At $22.99 for the trade paperback edition, Portrait Revolution is an engaging book for anyone who appreciates art in general, portraits, art education or exploring museums. People who appreciate exploring new topics or learning in general will derive pleasure from Portrait Revolution as well.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


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