Rembrandt, Self portrait with Saskia image from artrenewal.org
A reader e-mailed and asked if I would write a list of ten good books, or favorite books. I thought about it for a while and I will restrict it to books that are available, or if out of print, affordable. That leaves out some cool stuff, but whats the point if my recommending a book that you can't find? I have posted ten authors really, several entries list two books, because one is out of print and expensive,but worthwhile if you can afford it.
Carlsons guide to Landscape painting. I have written a lot about this book. Here is a link to some of that.
The Composition of Outdoor Painting by Edgar Payne, another classic text,written by an important California impressionist explaining methods of designing paintings. Only available used, but is routinely reprinted. Worth spending some money to get though.
The Human Figure by Vanderpoel I felt I should include one artists anatomy book, I like this one. It is clear, well illustrated and approachable.
Sargent, by Carter Ratcliff, I have a whole shelf of Sargent books, but this one is a good overview of his whole career and different sorts of paintings.
Gruppe on Painting Great outdoor painting book. Another classic by a fine American painter.Explains his one shot, full sized canvas, rapid painting techniques with bold color and brushwork. Power painting!
Edward Seago There are several books of his paintings in print here is one.
The second is an out of print book, it is available but expensive. If you can afford that, it is the best book and I treasure my copy. I have duct taped the spine back together.
The Boston Painters by R. H. Ives Gammell (my teacher) Out of print but not expensive. Also Twilight of Painting , by Gammell. Out of print AND more expensive. Good book though. A bit of a tirade. Still informative. This book changed my life.
Keys to Successful color by Foster Caddell. Simple presentation on color in the impressionist landscape. Caddell uses a clever means of presenting tje material. He shows you an amateur version of a painting and then his and explains what he did differently. So wonderfully simple it could be used as a middle school text. I learned a lot from this book long ago.
The Painted Word, by Tom Wolfe. Great contemporary writer and author of The Right Stuff and Bonfire of the Vanities takes on the philosophical underpinnings of modern art.
Everything I Know about Oil Painting by Richad Schmid A living master writes down his approach. Worth the price. Schmid has mentored a great number of young painters and this book does cover a lot of information. A few of the ideas in here I have found no where else as clearly. Well illustrated and based on a lifetime of experience by Americas most admired traditional, impressionist painter.
This list is books that have I have returned to and studied many times. I could have written a far longer list. I included only one artist monograph, that of Sargent. I could have listed a hundred of those. But if I could have only one, this would probably be it.
Lastly, I include a book I treasure as an addendum. This book is out of print and I treasure my copy. It is quite expensive, that's why it is number eleven on a list of ten.