Because I often feel a lull in my creative spirit after a time of hard work I usually visit the library stacks in search of inspiration. I wish these books would have been available years ago, when I felt really stuck and though I was playing and experimenting, I felt a little lost for awhile. I don't necessarily read these books cover-to-cover but the images, words, and sometimes a technique or two are enough to get those creative juices going...
Cultivating Your Creative Life by Alena Hennessy
What I particularly love about this book is the artist's focus on watermedia...particularly watercolour...and on contemplation. I was labelled a 'dreamer' as a child so exercises such as 'Make a list of ten things that inspire you' are quite exciting for me.
Water Paper Paint by Heather Smith Jones
I've been following Heather's blog for several years (love her studio) so I was excited to see her book on watercolour and mixed media. It's filled with technique and is once again a visual feast.
Print Workshop by Christine Schmidt
This is definitely a technique book with directions on how to create at home with a variety of printing techniques. It's also filled with great project ideas, including a step-by-step on making your own aspen wall which was interesting to read since I created my own birch wall for my daughter's room last winter.
Painted Pages by Sarah Ahearn Bellemare
The artist, Sarah, seems like such a sweet soul and her work is so soft and beautiful. The focus of this book is sketchbooks & mixed media but my absolute favorite part is the gallery of her work at the end. Such light-hearted and colour-filled work that resonates with a vintage feel and honouring of the past.
Daring Adventures in Paint by Mati Rose McDonough
This is one of my favorites and I have read it cover-to-cover several times. I love her reflections & questions...designed to help you find your flow, trust your path and discover your authentic voice. Her work is whimsical and very, very happy. There was just something about the way she presented her material that I connected with.
Inner Excavation by Liz Lamoreux
This book appeals to me particularly because of the poetry and artist's interviews. It's filled with great, great writing prompts and I love the chapter titles: I Begin, I Seek, I Gather...I Know. I find that writing helps to feed my painting, even when I don't share it, and vice versa.
Printmaking + Mixed Media by Dorit Elisha
This is a great book on techniques and projects for printmaking in many forms - screen printing, monotype, collagraph, relief, sun - and is once again filled with lovely images.
Unfurling by Misty Mawn
This book is really lovely to look at and filled with a ton of inspiration. I love the fact that it begins with drawing, as that is something anyone can do anywhere, and really spending that time to draw will enhance anybody's art process (also a great way to get those creative juices flowing). My daughter loves to draw faces so this is a great book with tips and techniques. It's also filled with fabulous quotes.
Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts
This book has some great mixed media techniques but I wish the writing wasn't so small. I'm not going to admit that it has anything to do with my age (though my optometrist may disagree) but I do tend to prefer books where the font sizes vary a little more (I do like it when main points are in bold). But this book has a few techniques that seem interesting and great questions for reflection.
Brave Intuitive Painting by Flora Bowley
Well, many of you know I took Flora Bowley's class and loved it...it came at a perfect time as I had been experimenting with abstraction for a year, already incorporating many of the techniques featured in this book but wanting to push it further, to connect the canoes I was creating with the abstraction I was practicing. And this is what turned on the light bulb for me. I'm glad it turned into a book. Flora's work is colourful and very intuitive, which is how I like to work so I was immediately drawn to her, though I tend to prefer a little more representational work. Thank you Flora.
Many of these books overlap, using similar techniques and materials, and yet the work is all so individual to its maker. Love that. Such is art.