|The reading nook in my studio. The bookcase just beyond the chair holds all my favorite art books .|
As a mostly self taught artist, books about art are as important to me as brushes, paint and canvases. I have to confess: my addiction to them is hopeless. I troll the latest titles on Amazon, eagerly read reviews of new releases in art magazines, and browse the shelves at Barnes & Noble every chance I get. Given a choice between the gift of a luxurious designer handbag and a newly released book about abstract art, I'll choose the book. (Maybe that's why I'm not famous for looking like a fashion plate, haha.)
When younger artists ask me how they can advance their careers, I tell them to do two things: spend as much time painting as possible, and take advantage of the incredible universe of knowledge found in art books. (Yes,YouTube is a wonderful resource also. But only a book allows you time to read, mull over what you've just read, and dream up ways to apply it, even making notes in the margins.) I consider art books to be an essential part of an artist's development. Read enough of them and you'll get an education to rival that of attending art school. Maybe even better.
I paint with acrylics, I paint abstracts, and I also work in mixed media and collage. There's no shortage of terrific books out there covering every conceivable aspect of these topics. Here are some of my favorite titles. They're the books I read for information and inspiration -- the ones I consider studio essentials:
Surface Treatment Workshop by Sandra Duran and Darlene Olivia McElroy
Abstract Explorations in Acrylic Painting: Fun, Creative and Innovative Techniques by Jo Toye
Create Perfect Paintings: An Artist's Guide to Visual Thinking by Nancy Reyner
Abstracts in Acrylic and Ink: A Playful Painting Workshop by Jodi Ohl
The Art of Expressive Collage: Techniques for Creating with Paper and Glue by Crystal Neubauer
Gelli Plate Printing: Mixed-Media Monoprinting Without a Press by Joan Bess
Alternative Art Surfaces: Mixed-Media Techniques for Painting on More Than 35 iDifferent Surfaces by Sandra Duran Wilson and Darlene Olivia McElroy
This is by no means a complete list. It just happens to be a list of the titles I happen to have at hand right now. If adding to your skill set is your aim, you can't go wrong with any of these titles. So grab a good book, a cup of tea, and let these authors lead you to improvements in your work.
Image and text ©2018 Lynn Edwards