Saturday, February 11, 2012

Art Books

Besides working on art, attending workshops and walking through galleries full of the work of arts from all over the world (or just around my area), I have a nice little collection of books about art.  One of the first books I remember picking up is a little, thick book on Vincent Van Gogh.  This artist is one of the reasons why I took up painting and also why I keep going with it.  He had the worse medical problems around; and to make things worse, he didn't just have one problem, he had a few.  There was Manic Depression, Epilepsy and Bi-Polar; all of which really screwed with how he lived.  But could he paint!  His brother had a similar condition, but he had it under control; unlike poor Vincent.
The only other book I have on one other artist is 'Michael Whelan's Works of Wonders'.  It's a collection of his cover art; of what it looked like as a book cover and what it looked like before it became a book cover with his description of how he came up with it to start with.  This is a book I stumbled upon in a Life Line where it was hiding from the world on the top of a bookcase and it only cost me $4.00.  When I got it home, I looked it up on the net and found out that it's out of print and worth so very much more!  Now, it's one of my most prized possessions in more ways than one.
Other books I have collected are about how to get my brain to work the right way to be an artist.  I know this sounds strange, but 'The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron and 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain' by Betty Edwards are two such books that have helped me in the past.  Even though I rarely use them now, it's always good to know they are here in my bookcase just in case I need them - or somebody in my family does.  

The most interesting books about art I receive are always from my Mum.  She bought me 'Essential Impressionists' by Antonia Cunningham.  This book covers a wide range of Impressionists from all over the artistic arena who changed the art world.  Some of them I like; some I don't.  But they are all there in this wonderfully large, heavy book to see; in full colour!  Another book Mum bought me - and I love delving into just to exercise my brain a little - is 'Incredible Visual Illusions' by Al Seckal.  This is a book full of the most brilliant visual illusions that by the end you'll have a headache, but it's always fun to look at some of them; especially if you wish to put something like them in your paintings or sculptures.  This kind of book can give you great ideas.

The last set of books are something I bought on a whim; and didn't think much of until recently.  They are 3-volume set of home decorators books from the 1940's.  The first book shows you how to paint a house... from peeling the paint, choosing your colours, brush size, primer to the the final coat.  The other two volumes work on the inside of the house; showing you how to wallpaper, choose wood panelling, shades, curtains and how to get your house looking very modern.  These kinds of books don't exist in these sets anymore; so I picked this set up very cheaply at a charity store and kept them as I find this is another type of art form in itself of interior design.
So, what kinds of art books do you own in your bookcases?  Are they up-to-date and modern, of your favourite artists lives or do they date back centuries?  Or are they all to do with the other side of the arts - the learning side of it all - where you delve into the studies of the arts?  Love to know which books you guys own.  Until my next post, keep creating!

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