Ideas For Your Bookshelf

Episode 108 · January 25th, 2020 · 33 mins 19 secs

About this Episode

We talked last time about the role that art-related books play in the lives of artists, and the importance of continuing to educate ourselves in various ways. This week we turn our attention to the specific titles and authors recommended by Rebecca, as well as other artists who weighed in on our Facebook poll asking for input about significant art-related books. Many artists are very passionate about their books and recommendations, which were wide-ranging. Here is the complete list of the titles discussed in the episode:

Art History/Art Movement related

Kiki’s Paris: Artists and Lovers by Billy Klüver

Overlay by Lucy Lippard

3 books about abstraction:

Pictures of Nothing (Kirk Varnedie)

The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985

Kandinsky’s Concerning The Spiritual in Art

Contemporary art: My Art World (John Seed)

Discovering the LA Art World by John Marcella Grant

About or By Specific Artist’s work

Ninth Street Women (Mary Gabriel)

Artist bios by Ross King and Irving Stone (Agony and the Ecstasy) fictionalized

Sean Scully Inner: collected writings and interviews

Agnes Martin: Pioneer, Painter, Icon by Henry Martin

Several books about Lawrence Carroll who died in 2019, influential abstract sculptor


Hold Still by Sally Mann

My Life by Isadora Duncan

Just Kids by Patti Smith

Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over by Nell Painter

Daybook by Anne Truit

Turn by Anne Truit

Prospect by Anne Truit

Inspirational Books about Creative Process/Creativity in General

The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

The Alexandra Quartet by Lawrence Durrell

Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott

A Gentle Plea for Chaos by Mirabel Osler

Creative Habit by Twyla Tharpe

Free Play by Steven Nachmanovitch

Niamh O’Conner’s YouTube recommendations:

    -Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland

    -Letters to a Young Artist: Straight Up Advice for making a Life in the Arts by Anna Smith Deavere. (Also one with the same title by Julia Cameron.)

    -What Would You Be If by Patricia Fitzgerald.

Others also, watch on YouTube.

World Enough and Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down by Christian McEwen

Trust the Process by Shawn McNiff

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Brave Intuitive Painting by Flora Bowley

Expressive Drawing by Steven Aimone

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edward

Other Inspirational Books on Art, Life

Dancing With the Gods by Kent Nerbaum

The Invisible Embrace of Beauty by John O’Donohue

The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty by Soetsu Yanagi

Technical Info and Background—

Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair

A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finey

Living Craft: A Painter’s Process by Tad Spurgeon

How to Write About Contemporary Art by Gilda Williams

Cold Wax Medium: Techniques, Concepts & Conversations by Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin

This is just a random sample of artists who saw and responded to my Facebook post but hopefully we have given you some ideas for excellent new reading material. Art books especially heavily illustrated ones tend to be expensive, so it’s a good idea to check sources for used books including the used listings on Amazon and other online sources like Abe Books. And of course, it’s great to share your books but put your name inside and check up on the loan before too long—there are many tales of woe of books loaned to other artists that became buried in someone’s messy studio.