summer reading

Summer reading.

The dog days of summer are here and that had me thinking about lolling on the front porch swing reading a good art-related book, doing a little creativity feeding.

I went to my Facebook followers for suggestions and boy, did they deliver! Over 500 comments and counting. (Just click here if you’d like to peruse that list and add your own.)

So this is the short list I came up with for my summer reading…

Books I’ve read and am re-reading, and maybe some wishful thinking about books I hope to read from the suggestions (these are the ones with the ** in front).


On Art

Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay
Mesmerizing adventures and stories behind the pigments and colors on your palette and ones you’ve heard described. Easy to digest in bite-sized chunks.

The Invisible Dragon: Essays on Beauty by Dave Hickey
The Invisible Dragon is a little book of art criticism that brought the discussion of beauty and pleasure back to art.

Uncontrollable Beauty: Toward a New Aesthetics by Bill Beckley (Editor), David Shapiro (Editor)
A collection of essays around the theme of beauty and contemporary art from the late 1990s. It’s amazing how relevant it still is now.

On Artists

Color Creates Light: Studies with Hans Hofmann by Tina Dickey
Color Creates Light: Studies with Hans Hofmann is an overview of the artist, his paintings, ideas and teaching. For anyone who loves composition and color, this is required reading.

Another Figure in the Landscape by Fred Cuming
The thoughts, observations, and insights into the process and work of the English painter Fred Cuming. Coming is one of those landscape artists who’s a master at capturing atmosphere, light, and sense of place.

**Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of an Artist by Emily Carr
The journals from 1927 to 1941 of Canadian artist and writer, Emily Carr. Her ability to convey her deep connection to nature in both word and paint influenced West Coast art from Canada to California.

**Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art by Mary Gabriel
A look at the lives of five women who were an instrumental part of the Abstract Expressionist movement.

**Clear Seeing Place: Studio Visits  by Brian Rutenberg
Like Fred Cumins, Rutenberg gives insight into the thoughts, observations, process, and techniques feeding his studio practice. His childhood in the South Carolina Lowcountry still plays an integral role in his art making.

**Wolf Kahn: Paintings and Pastels, 2010-2020 by William C. Agee (Author), Sasha Nicholas  (Author), J. D. McClatchy (Contributor)
A look at Wolf Kahn’s luscious colorful landscapes in oil and in pastel made during the last decade of his life.

On the Creative Life

Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon
An inspirational read on how to keep feeding your creativity in the midst of all the ups and downs of life.

The Practice: Shipping Creative Work by Seth Godin
Seth Godin looks at the patterns reflected in the practices of successful creatives of all sorts and shows that consistency is the linchpin of success.

**Think Like an Artist: and Lead a More Creative, Productive Life by Will Gompertz
10 key lessons on living more creatively from artists like Caravaggio, Da Vinci and Warhol.

On Landscape

Landmarks by Robert MacFarlane
British writer Robert MacFarlane explores the breadth and depth of language, and how it can become a way to fall in love with a landscape.

Why the Sky Is Blue: Discovering the Color of Life by Götz Hoeppe  (Author), John Stewart (Translator)
The story of why the sky appears blue from ancient myths to the science of optics.

Fiction with an Art Theme

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
Psychiatrist Andrew Marlow, unravels the mystery surrounding painter Robert Oliver via a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.

Chasing Cezanne by Peter Mayle
A light hearted and rollicking tale of greed, the rich & famous, and a stolen Cezanne playing out across France, the Bahamas, England, and New York.

**Death and Restoration by Iain Pears
Ian Pears entertaining series of art history mysteries that are light but still full of references to the history of art.

**The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro
A mystery that taps into the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the world of art forgery.

**The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Goldfinch is a novel of love, grief, and loss that moves from the drawing room to the underbelly of the art world.

**Life of David Hockney: A Novel by Catherine Cusset and Teresa Fagan
Life of David Hockney offers a hybrid blend of novel and biography of the artist whose art is marked by continued exploration and experimentation.

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