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Your favorite art books?

by Clint Watson on 5/8/2008 8:25:24 AM

<b>What's YOUR favorite<br>art book?</b>
What's YOUR favorite
art book?
What are your favorite art books and why?

I want to share great art books with our whole community!  That's what FineArtViews is all about.....sharing view about art from different people.

Please just post a comment with the title and author of your favorite book about art.  It might be a coffee-table book featuring works by a famous artist, or it might be more of a "hands-on", "how-to" kind of book.  Also, I'd appreciate a quick one-liner letting everyone know why that's your favorite art book.

There are no rules for the can share one book or many....the idea for us all to share the art books that influenced us.

I'm really looking forward to everyone's recommendations!


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Topics: Books | Creativity and Inspiration | Inspiration 

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Nicole Hyde
via web
It's hard to narrow it down as I have a ton of books in my art library, but...

"The Painter: Joaquin Sorolla" by Edmund Peel.

"Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Art Making" and "The View from the Studio Door: How Artists Find Their Way in an Uncertain World" by David Bayles & Ted Orland.

The novels about painters (Renoir, Emily Carr, Vermeer, Artemisia Gentileschi) by Susan Vreeland.

"The Portrait" by Iain Pears.

"Paintings in the Musee d'Orsay" by Abrams

"Landscape Meditations: An Artist's Guide to Exploring Themes in Landscape Painting" by Elizabeth Mowry.

...this list could go on and on. LOL I'll be interested to see the compiled list.

Carol Zirkle
via web
That's easy!

"Harley Brown's Eternal Truths for Every Artist" by Harley Brown with Lewis Barrell Lehrman.

If I lost it all, I would fight to scrape together the coins to get another copy of this book. If you can't afford college, or formal classes, get this book and you'll have enough juice to get you going.

Thanks for asking!

via web
What we need as an artist is business books...

Marilyn Meyer
via web
Hot Marketing: The Business of Selling Your Art by Robert and Kate Burridge.

Bob Ragland
via web
Taking the Leap-by Cay Lang
How to Sell Anything to Anybody-Joe Girard
Any book On Picasso
Being An Artist-by Lewis Lehrman
The Creative Companion-by SARK
The Art Spirit-By Robert Henri

Diane Shields Spears
via web
Drawings of Rembrandt Volumes I and II, Dover Publications, 1965 remains one of my favorites. I have referred to it many times, and I seem to never tire of the images. I love the effortlessness and economy of the drawings, and it reminds me not to become too "tight" in my renderings in drawing and painting.

Trish Stevenson
via web
My current favorites:

I pick up Harley Browns "Eternal Truths for every artist" when I my overdone details and backgrounds are boggin' me down and I need to be reminded that wonderful loose strokes like his,(that suggest instead of overdefine)can do the job in a much more interesting way.

I found the landscape almost overwhelming until I studied Kevin MacPherson's "Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light & Color". He communicates very well , simplifying and clarifying light, color and form.

Lastly, one of my all-time favorites is "The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri, because I can open it up to any page and find something to remind me of why we do this crazy thing called art and why we will continue on...

Nancy Hunter
via web
One of my many favorites is David Hockney's Secret Knowledge. I am always astounded as to the amount of intense negativity directed toward this book. When I ask people if they have actually read the book, the usual reply is "no". But this is a book that should be read carefully by serious artists. Hockney does not devalue the drawing and painting skills of the masters. He only suggests that by using devices like the concave lens, camera lucida and camera obscura some artists were able to get a rough map of their subject, thus enabling them to paint more quickly. He still finds merit in working from life, as I must concur. Working just from the photograph does not give you a painting with depth, color or vitality that working for live can give. Form is not understood, and there is no feeling of actuality. Artistic skills will never be realized if one only paints from the photo. Interestingly, he feels that much of 20th century art is a rejection of the photographic image, because of the perceived ease of painting with the photo or device. And, yet, he feels that art that does not have an image which is recognizable, is not capable of making us have that intense emotional connection. It leaves us somewhat empty. So in the end, he supports both representational imagery and the hard earned skills of hand to eye coordination.

Loretta Puckrin
via web
Because I still work full-time I enjoy "A Year in Art" most of all - it is a 'daytimer" that gives you a different painting each day along with a quotation from art masters - a fantastic way to keep in touch with art while working on left brain activities. As I don't write in it, this book forms a great 'history of art' for each year purchased.

Ariane Goodwin
via web
No matter how many classes you take, or skills you amass, your artist voice is the single determining factor to the enduring strength and power of your work.

And sometimes, just sometimes, the classes and skills actually lead you further away from that which is uniquely, and only yours.

Michele Cassou's "Life, Paint, and Passion" is an extraordinary leap into the creative void. I double dare you to take it.

William M. McCoy
via web
Favorite (most indispensible) book:

The Artist's Handbook
of Materials and Techniques
by Ralph Mayer (dec'd)
Fifth Edition, 1991(the most recent)--revised and updated by Steven Sheehan

This book is a "must-have" for practicing artists. Mr. Mayer's classic work (first published in 1940) explains (as the subtitle suggests) artists materials, and the techniques for using them properly so one's works will last. If artists had and used this work, they wouldn't write in to art publications' tech columns with stupid questions they should already know.

Maryann Harvey
via web
I have many how to books but I found reading "Andrew Wyeth A Secret Life fascinating." This is a man who seemingly had so much handed to him by way of training and inheritance, yet he had to fight for so much of his art. Critics can be fatal to your art if you let them.

Andrew Wyeth Autobiography is great too because he talks about each painting and does not gild the lily.

Deborah O'Sullivan
via web
My current absolute favorite book is...
I'd Rather Be in the Studio by Alyson Stanfield. Feels like I have a spy in my studio! Wonderful, wonderful book! I have already seen an increase in sales and productivity from implementing her suggestions.
2.The Complete Guide to Watercolor Painting by Edgar Whitney....A really great book not just on watercolor but compostion.
3. Drawing Horses by Sam Savitt..just an old time favorite!
4. The Way if the Artist by Julie Cameron

Jan Perkins
via web
A few of my favorites:
"A Proven Stratagy for Creating Great Art" by Dan McCaw
I refer to this book often. I love his approach and wisdom.

Phillip R. Goodwin, america's Sporting & Wildlife Artist" by Larry Len Peterson
I'm not into hunting, but his drawing skill and his knowledge of animals was awesome. Goodwin's designs, palette, painting and ideas continue to inspire me.

"Vuillard" by Cogavel
His interiors and gardens are my favorites.

Anything on Howard Pyle

"Sargent Abroad, Figures and Landscapes"
I refer to this book often. I think these paintings show who he really was as an artist and a person far more than the formal portraits.

"Isaak Levitan" The one that's all in Russian Love this book!

"On the Art of Drawing" by Robert Fawcett
This book is out of print and was published in 1958. He was the illustrator's illustrator and was famous for his Sherlock Holmes series, which are some of my favorites. This book is an excellent read! In fact, I think I'll read it again.

Lorraine Khachatourians
via web
My favourite art book is 'Alla Prima - Everything I Know about Painting' by Richard Schmid. This book was recommended to me by a wonderful artist who was leading a watercolour workshop I was attending. I was relatively new to painting at the time, having come to it later in life, and found the ideas and descriptions enlightening. Now that I am painting in oils as well, I go back and reread sections about the whys. I really like to find out what a painter is thinking as he/she works. I love the insights.

Barbara A Jones
via web
My favorite and most used book is "An Artist Teaches" by David Leffel. I really can learn alot from studying an artists work as well as reading the book.

Sondra Cromwell
via web
One of my favorite books to read is "Landscape Painting inside and out" by Kevin McPhearson. This book really helps with landscape painting, it gives you a real insight on painting plein air.

Keiko Tanabe
via web
"The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron - a phenomenal book to gain a deeper insight into creativity.

"Landscape Meditations" by Elizabeth Mowry - every painting in this book is simply peaceful and delightful.

Tommy Thompson
via web
My favorite art books are:

Alla Prima:Everything I Know About Painting by Richard Schmid

Landscape Painting:Inside and Out by Kevin Macpherson

Composition of Outdoor Painting by Edgar Payne

Hawthorne on Painting, by Mrs. Charles W. Hawthorne

Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting by John F. Carlson

Darrell Dalton
via web
I'm a portrait artist, my favorite is John Howard Sanden. I have the book called Portraits from life in 29 steps. This book i would recommend. it's a wonderful teaching tool, it has improved my portraitures so much.

Dan Clode
Hi Clint

Earlier this week I started a blog that provides reviews of recently published artbooks ( The purpose of the blog is to help other lovers of books on art to hear and share news on what are the nicest new books in the market and which books are a bit ho-hum. I regularly buy books on art (about one a week) and usually find that the reviews on Amazon seldom provide particularly useful and discerning advice (and many books have no reviews at all - particularly new releases). So I've started this blog to help other art book lovers in building their collections.

I think this blog will have some appeal for artists. I am a part-time artist myself, though I haven't yet mentioned this on the blog. While of course it's important to develop an individual style as an artist, there is some great inspiration to be found in gazing at the works of past greats. I was hoping that you might be generous enough to mention my blog on yours, for information of some of your readers. I have listed your blog on my homepage to feed some traffic in the other direction. This blog is only a couple of days old and while I have put up some postings so that people know what to expect, I have yet to tout it and build a following.

Thank you for taking the time to read this little note and thank you for the good reading you regularly provide me.

Kind regards

Dan Clode

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