Posts Tagged ‘Pastels’


I have some other non-fiction books that I find very helpful and important to me in some ways but I will save those for another time. Today a quick list of 5 of my favorite books having to do with technical help or otherwise inspirational to the process of making art. Because I have worked primarily in the medium of soft pastels for many years, a majority of them have to do with that type of material.

It is also worthing observing that these are all books that I own. I CB068378have actually gone out and purchased them whereas with non-fiction, “pleasure reading material” I almost never buy but borrow from the library as previously mentioned. I will often get these kinds of non-fiction works from the library first if they are available. It’s a great way to audition something and see if I want to own it. In fact, that’s how I sometimes realize it is a volume I should purchase. When I find myself borrowing it out of the library twice or even 3 or 4 times, it’s clear that I need to have it in my permanent personal library.

So here’s a list of 5 that I have gone to time and again. There are others and I’ll probably make mention of them another time. So it is not a top ten kind of list, nor ranked in any way in order ofbooks02-619x6852 importance. But perhaps you’ll find something you like in one of these for your own artistic purposes – or in a future list to follow.

  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron http://theartistsway.com Many folks are familiar with this and the companion volumes such as “Walking in this World” . Being a writer herself, Cameron sometimes seems to speak a little more to the literary arts. And I have never gotten into writing the “morning pages” she swears by but then I have my own morning prayer routine that works for me. For her, naturally writing seems elemental but not for me. However another plus as I see it is if you are familiar with, and appreciate the original “12-step” program this is patterned after, you would find something good in it for helping your creative/spiritual connection. I have read just about all of her others. Some later works, in my humble opinion, are a bit redundant. Or I get a bit sick of hearing how many wonderful, miraculous things have turned out in her very lucky life. I think it can be taken too far and become kind of cultish to form an Artists Way group and all. But to each his own and the original book is a good one.
  • The Pastelist’s Year, painting the 4 seasons in pastel by Elizabeth Mowry http://elizabethmowry.com This is the one that first made me realize there were some books I had to own and used time and time again. She’s a terrific landscape artist and I enjoyed and own a couple of other books of hers. I especially recommend her for landscape painters, not just those who work in pastel.
  • Wolf Kahn’s Pastels and Wolf Kahn’s America http://www.wolfkahn.com Again, I am partial to pastelist and landscapes. These are big “coffee table” art books to enjoy and be inspired by rather than giving technical advice. And Kahn, who was Hans Hofmann’s student and studio assistant, is more abstract than Mowry above. But I find his unique use of color lovely and his work moving.
  • The Oil Painting Book and The Pastel Painting Book, Materials and Techniques for Today’s Artist both by Bill Creevy. These are both good, basic primers on the respective media. Though they are not the only ones, I find his books very thorough on tools, materials and techniques. I was actually well into my work with pastel before coming across him. But I began working seriously with oils only a couple of years back with no prior training from my college years. His book was a very good foundation and reference.
  • The Yin/Yang of Painting by Honqninan Zhang and Lois Woolley This is as much a philosophy book about your approach to painting as a technical reference. If you are partial to strong contrasts in your work in particular, you may really enjoy exploring the way of working outlined here. It is not media specific and I have seen it used effectively in pastel as well as acrylics and oils.

Where a specific website was possible for the artist/author I have supplied a link. And I would always encourage the patronage of small independent bookstores whenever possible. However in these tough times and when speed is of the essence, you should know that all of these volumes are immediately available and can be purchased through Amazon.com .



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