Book Club

Art Book Recommendations









Yay!!!! I’ve reclaimed my time! It’s a precious commodity you know? And, after last week’s realizations about “over-helping” others and running into a lack of time to pursue my own goals, I’m stepping into the space of taking a big breath, relishing time in my studio and developing my new painting series of ‘Love Songs.’ When they’re ready for prime time, I’ll be sure to share some photos with you!

Given my new found space and potential, I have a bit of leisure time and am ready for a good read. Well, of course, it should be an art book….or something related to creativity. So, I thought maybe you could help me with some recommendations. I’ve started a list to share with you of some of my favourites. These include:

Improving the Workings Between Your Ears

The War of Art – Steven Pressfield

Steal Like an Artist – Austin Kleon

Show Your Work – Austin Kleon

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

Improving the Workings in Your Studio

The Creative Edge – Mary Todd Beam

I’d Rather Be In the Studio – Alyson B. Stanfield

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain – Betty Edwards

 Voyeurism of Other ArtistsArt Book Recommendations

Inside the Painter’s Studio – Joe Fig

Art History

Art of the Twentieth Century – Flaminio Gualdoni

The San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism – Susan Landauer

Art – Everything You Need to Know About The Greatest Artists and Their Work – Susie Hodge

Modernists in Taos – David L. Witt

Okie, dokie, so….I’ve shown you mine, show me yours! Feel free to leave a bit about why it’s one of your favourites – or at least how you would categorize the book. Come on, I KNOW you artists are wonderful book collectors – please share!

Hopefully we’ll all find some good books to read.




Michelle Andres is a writer and artist. She writes this blog to share tips for a well-lived Studio Selfielife and finely run art business…just for you!

Michelle Andres Calendar



The 2015 Art and Inspiration Calendars are HERE!!! Buy one for you and one for a friend while I still have some in stock! Each month features a painting and quote from the blog. The cost is $20 plus a shipping fee of $4.99 or they can be picked up in my R. Street Studio. 12 months of art and inspiration!!!

Find Michelle on Facebook or  Twitter or Instagram

For a free gift that will help you boost personal productivity “Join the Tribe” and subscribe to this blog (Over there on the left sidebar)!

34 Replies to “Book Club”

  1. I’ve heard Steven Pressfield’s Do The Work is good, and also The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Life Coach for Creative Women by Gail McMeekin. I haven’t read either yet but they’re on my wish list. 🙂

  2. I’ve started reading Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and I’m finding it very helpful in going back to the basics and also helping me tutor a student of mine. I’ve also gone through about half of “The Bay Area School” and have recently looked back at “Expressive Drawing” which was recommended by Noel Sandino. Enjoy your “me” time.

  3. A few books:
    Color and light, a guide for the realist painter, by James Gurney.
    Imaginative realism, by James Gurney.
    How to survive & prosper as an artist, by Caroll Michels.
    Portrait painting atelier, by Suzanne Brooker.
    The big book of drawing and paintoing the figure, by Muntsa Calbo I Angrill.
    Your artis’s brain, by Carl Purcell.
    The drawing book, by Sarah Sinblet.
    Anatomy for the artist, by Sarah Simblet.
    Botany for the artist, by Sarah Simblet.

    Have fun reading.

  4. My top 3 art books at the moment are:
    -Stephen King’s “On Writing” (first half is his memoir, 2nd half is amazing tools for managing your inner demons and your time, for creatives of any kind);
    -Twyla Tharp’s “The Creative Habit”; and
    -Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”.

    These could all go in both Improving the Workings in Your Studio & Improving the Workings Between Your Ears, because they offer insights on both creating daily habits AND reflective exercises to tap into your creativity and get around artists’ block.

  5. “The Value of Art” by Michael Findlay, a director of Acquavella Galleries, shares current and historic information of how a work of art acquires value; the motivation of collectors and many insider stories of scoundrels, scams and celebrity collectors.

  6. I could list more but these are I think some essentials that all Artists should read

    The practice and Science of Drawing – Harold Speed
    Oil Painting Techniques and Materials- Harold Speed
    The Art Spirit – Robert Henri
    Alla Prima (I and II) – Richard Schmid
    Composition of Outdoor Painting – Edgar Payne
    Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting – John Carlson
    Classical Drawing Atelier – Juliette Aristides
    Oil Painting Secrets from a Master – Linda Cateura
    Understanding Composition – Ian Roberts
    Creative Illustration – Andrew Loomis (any of Andrew Loomis’s books are great)
    Draw From Your Head – Doug Jamieson

    These are just a few of many I could add.. These are the most dog-eared in my library.

    1. Wow, Fausto! That’s quite a list! I don’t work in oils – would those books still apply? Even if they don’t, I’m sure other readers can benefit from them. Thank you!

      1. Although some of the information in some of these books is focused directly at the oil painter, (Alla Prima for instance) the concepts would certainly still be applicable to any medium..

        Another wonderful book that I intended to mention was Harley Brown’s book ” Eternal Truths for Every Artist” I’m not sure if it’s still in print anymore but it can be found in used books stores.. He paints primarily in Soft Pastel, but the principles conveyed are applicable to art and artists in general.

  7. artist’s biography :
    ”BLAKE” by Peter Ackroyd.
    A well written biography which gave me more inside into the times and mr.Blake himself.
    Art :
    The Complete Illuminated Books
    by William Blake, John Commander (Foreword by), David Bindman (Introduction)
    A wonderful work, lavishly illustrated and with all the texts also in normal typescript to make it a easier reading.
    After reading Peter Ackroyd’s book i took this one from the shelf again and it spoke even more to me than before.

  8. Thanks for the recommendations Michelle! I will be purchasing some of them. I maintain a Pinterest board called “Reading Lists for Artists” for our business. I’ve got several suggestions on there such as “The Mission of Art”, “The Zen of Creativity”, “Letting go of the Camera”, and “Ignore Everybody & 39 Other Keys to Creativity”. My husband and I attend a monthly book club focused on business books. I think it would be neat to do something like that with art books. Of course, finding the time is another issue. 🙂

  9. art history :
    ”A World History of Art”
    by Hugh Honour (Author), John Fleming (Author)
    Not always easy to read (like Gombrich’s works are very readable) ,but worthwhile.
    Another art history book -very readable- is
    Julian Bell :
    ‘Mirror of the World’.

  10. Just read these in our book club and enjoyed them all. I love this discussion because we are always searching for new and old good books to read or re-read.

    Hold Still: Sally Mann
    Between Lives Dorothea Tanning
    A life Sacred and Profane: Carravagio

    Quick and good Reads
    The Painted Word Tom Wolfe
    An Open Life Joseph Campbell

  11. Here’s one that is very beneficial to any artist selling their works. I read it cover to cover in no time.

    “Your Art Is Your Business – A guide for the working artist” by Robert Roy Reed, PH.D., CFP

    It’s all about the business end of of things.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *