How many color theory and painting technique books do you have in your artist library? When I first started painting, I soon realized that many of us are art instruction book junkies. We are fortunate to have so many artists willing to share their knowledge and skills with us in print and video.
One of the final pages for me to write for my forthcoming book, I Just Want to Paint: Mixing the Colors You Want! is the Resources page. This is a list of various art instruction books I have collected over the years and have continued to reference throughout my art career.
Before I share some of these with you, writing the Resources page spurred me to reminisce as I looked upon my large stack — I think I have over thirty books just related to the subject of color — and reflect upon the important role these books have played. Because I am a self-taught artist, I was highly disciplined and would pour through each book when it was new to my library. I continue to do this today whenever I purchase a new book.
Then I remembered an art book club that I participated in. What is an art book club?
It was about six painters meeting monthly in one of our homes or studios to discuss a particular book. We would speand about three to four meetings per book. Often we would bring paintings or sample exercises from the book to share. These meetings deepened the understanding of the book’s content, plus they served as a meaningful catalyst to furthering our respective skills and knowledge. The benefits were significant.
I highly recommend that you consider starting an art book club. Participants do need to be committed to meeting regularly. It is another way to talk art and broaden, as well as, deepen your art community.
Note: When I first started painting, I worked in watercolor and did so for 15 years. I then went onto paint in oil, pastels and acrylics. Consequently, my art library includes all media. With regard to the subject of color, I learned about applying color no matter which medium the author was working in.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Making Color Sing by Jeanne Dobie, explains her approach to using color with watercolor. The 25th anniversary edition is now available.
Exploring Color by Nita Leland, was probably my first color book back in the late 1980’s, and just when art book publishing industry was taking off. Early in my career, I often referred to this book for color scheme ideas. The 30th anniversary edition is coming out this year. I think of her as the “Queen of Color.” She has written several books, not all of them are about color.
Note: Nita Leland recently commented on my Facebook page where I had posted my new book cover design. She immediately understood the content to the book just by seeing the cover (which made me very happy) and stated, “I’m so glad you are teaching the split primaries!” Followed by, “You are definitely doing a service for artists in using and teaching the basics. Hooray for you!”
Color Choices by Stephen Quiller, is loaded with excellent color scheme exercises. His palette is overly complex, in my humble opinion, but you can glean valuable information about applying color.
Painting Better Landscapes by Margaret Kessler, is a good book on landscape painting. I particularly like her explanations and demonstration on how to paint colorful clouds.
Capturing Radiant Color in Oils by Susan Sarback, is based on the color school of Claude Monet. Ms Sarback studied with Henry Hensche, who was a Monet student. She is an excellent teacher and is the founder of the School of Light & Color near Sacramento, CA.
This is a short sampling of the books that are referenced on my Resources page. There are so many art instruction books available. I hope you are able to take advantage of this resource. By the way, libraries and used book stores are excellent sources for art instruction books. I have also heard of painters swapping books.
Will you consider starting an art book club?
What are some of your go-to art books? Please share them below.
If you found this post helpful, please share it.
Colorfully and gratefully yours,
PS The interior design of I Just Want to Paint: Mixing the Colors You Want! is taking place as I write. The Resources page can be tucked in at the last moment.