Monday, November 26, 2018

Best Art Books

I recently hosted an open house and studio visit for my students. At the end of the visit, someone commented on seeing art books around the house and asked for a list. It wasn't my first request for book recommendations so I thought I'd share a list on the blog of art books I've enjoyed from my collection. Art books can be found throughout our house. Maybe one day I'll get organized and put them all in one spot, but then again, to quote my student, ours is a "house dedicated to art."

I've read and enjoyed each of these books and they are the ones that have survived various book purges. Get those Christmas wish lists out!

Books on the nightstand.

I have separated them for you into How ToArt Theory and InspirationBooks About Artists categories.

How To:

Classical Drawing Atelier, by Juliette Aristides (I recommend ALL of Juliette Aristides book. I learned so much from them and continue to refer to them.)

Lessons in Classical Drawing, by Juliette Aristides

Classical Painting Atelier, by Juliette Aristides

Lessons in Classical Painting, by Juliette Aristides

Oil Painting Secrets From a Master, by Linda Cateura- (One of the first books about oil painting that I ever bought, other than textbooks. It is written by a student of David Leffel and consists of ideas he presented in class. It was helpful in my journey to being a good oil painter, but not great if you are looking for a step-by-step)

Alla Prima II Everything I Know about Painting--and More, by Richard Schmidt (The first book was out of print so I was really happy when this one came out a few years ago. Expensive, but chock full of good info about oil painting)

The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing, by Anthony Ryder (so good)

The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards (This was the text years ago when I taught as an adjunct at Brevard Community College in FL)

The Human Figure, by Vanderpoel (I've read this one multiple times and new things click every time)

Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing From Life, (left over from college days and I still refer to it)

Artistic Anatomy, by Dr. Paul Richer (anatomy reference, also left over from college)

Drawing the Head and Hands, by Andrew Loomis (if you look around this one is available as a free pdf for download)

The Practice and Science of Drawing, (Illustrated) by Harold Speed
Books in the studio.

Art Theory and Inspiration:

ART & FEAR, by David Bayles and Ted Orland

The Art Spirit, by Robert Henri

The Age of Insight, by Eric R Kandel, (this is a fascinating book about science, medicine, and art, and how the mind and brain relate to art)

The Story of Painting, by Sister Wendy Beckett

The Painted Word, by Tom Wolfe, (A short, but must read for contemporary realists)

The Object Stares Back, by James Elkins

What Painting Is, by James Elkins (this book changed the way I think about painting.)

The Art Instinct, Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution, by Denis Dutton

What Painting Is, by James Elkins

On Ugliness, by Umberto Eco

History of Beauty, by Umberto Eco

The Secret Language of Symbols, by Fontana

The Artist's Way- A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron (Still working my way through this one)

The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How, by Holly Dewolf

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg (not specifically about art, but about navigating the business world and the ever-changing role of women in our culture)

The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection, & Courage, by Brene Brown (Audible) Brene's work and research is a powerful force for reason, understanding, creativity, and love, and living a meaningful life, her other books are on my to-read list)

Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, by Krista Tippett (not specifically about art, but valuable for connecting with ourselves, the world, and people around us.)

Guns Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared Diamond (not specifically about art, but very thought-provoking about societal issues)

Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind, by Jocelyn K. Glei (editor)

Books About Artists:

Leonardo Da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson (Still reading this one)

A Life, Sacred and Profane: Caravaggio, by Andrew Graham-Dixon

J. W. Waterhouse, by Peter Trippi

Essential Klimt, by Laura Payne

The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh, edited by Mark Roskill (this is an amazing insight into Vincent's mind and process)

The Passion of Artemisia: A Novel, by Susan Vreeland

Behind the Easel: The Unique Voices of 20 Contemporary Representational Painters, by Robert C. Jackson with Pamela Sienna

Many of these books are probably available used, in paperback, or the out of print ones might be available as downloadable PDFs. A few I have on audible, but if there are pictures I like to own a hard copy.

If you have favorites, please put them in the comments section below, because books are great items to put on a Christmas list. And as artists, we are always looking for inspiration.

I have a book about my work, too The Incognito Project. If you have a book about your art feel free to leave a link in the comments. Happy Reading!
The Incognito Project

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Terry Strickland Portrait Workshop at The Florence Studio, Fall of 2018!

I'm so pleased to announce that I'll be teaching again in Florence, Italy this fall. Here's a video created from a few clips one of the students took, (thank you Leslie) and other miscellaneous shenanigans from our trip last year.

I didn't have room to include pictures of the delicious gelato, so much great art, picture-postcard sunsets, our wonderful hosts, and the food, oh the food. You'll have to experience those for yourself.

Dates: Oct 1-5, 2018 - 
The Florence Studio

What: Oil Painting Portrait Workshop
5 days instruction Mon-Fri 10am-3:30pm

Price: 875 Euros, 50% non-refundable deposit due at time of registration. That price includes model fees. Students are responsible for their own airfare and accommodations. Register through The Florence Studio or Email me for more info at

About the workshop: This is a back to basics, oil painting, portrait class working from a live model. All skill levels are welcome from beginning to advanced. We will spend the first two days working on drawing, value and color mixing. The last three days we will put it all together in a painting of a single pose. I will give step-by-step demonstrations and individual easel to easel critiques. Most of all it's going to be fun!

Have you seen my TEDx Birmingham talk about empathy and realism?


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