Creative Book List

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The Inward Garden
by Julie Moir Messervy

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Stephanie says: "I always feel like I'm creating art when I garden — and this book was introduced to me by another landscape painter. Messervy discusses the idea of analyzing one's attraction to different types of spaces, which was a very exciting concept to me."

World Receivers: Georgiana Houghton, Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz, and John Whitney, James Whitney, Harry Smith

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Mia says: "Inspirational portraits of some early 20th century modern artists whose work is only now becoming celebrated. I loved the intersection of mysticism and geometric form that unites these artists."

The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World
by Lewis Hyde

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Matthew K. says: "The main assumption of the book is that certain spheres of life, which we care about, are not well organized by the marketplace. That includes artistic practice, which is what the book is mostly about, but also pure science, spiritual life, healing and teaching.... This book is about the alternative economy of artistic practice. For most artists, the actual working life of art does not fit well into a market economy, and this book explains why and builds out on the alternative, which is to imagine the commerce of art to be well described by gift exchange."

See also:

Dinner with Georgia O'Keeffe
by Robyn Lea

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Janice says: "The minimalist way she approached food and the way her New Mexican kitchen looked reflects the way her art looks. It's another look at the psyche of the great artist whose life was endlessly fascinating. The book has good photographs and recipes as well."

Abstract Painting: A Celebration of Contemporary Art
by Jamie Markle

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Stephanie says: "Contains photographs of some stunning art. I don't like it all, but there's a really wide variety. Best of all, the author interviews the artists. Many of them are asked about their materials and techniques, and I am finding it an excellent starting place for my own experimentation."

The Creative Act: A Way of Being
by Rick Rubin

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Sarah S. says: "I like the way the book is written. Small snippets of wisdom that are easy to take in but give you a lot to think about. The book has really inspired me to value my own voice, get out of my own way and create!"

Gagyō 40-Shūnen Kinen, Kirie No Sekai: Kami No Japonisumu
by Shū Kubo

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Roxanne says: "This beautiful book is filled with amazingly detailed Japanese papercut art. My guess is that it highlights several different artists but since it is written in Japanese, I am not sure. What I do know is that the variety of subject matter and technique made every page a delight and I cannot stop pointing it out to everyone at the library."

Paper College Workshop
by Samuel Price

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A true workshop book with clear instructions and visuals for every step along the way. Simple projects to start, progressing to striking animal portraits.

Picture This: How Pictures Work
by Molly Bang

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Ever wonder what the Little Red Riding Hood story might look like as an abstract picture book? This book explains story structure and how design elements impact emotions. Includes simple exercises for you to explore these concepts using construction paper and simple shapes.

Color In and Out of the Garden: Watercolor Practices for Painters, Gardeners, and Nature Lovers

by Lorene Edwards Forkner

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A professional gardner creates a daily watercolor art practice to help her grieve after the death of her father. Part journal with a little watercolor instruction and a lot of gorgeous plants and vibrant colors.

How to Paint Abstracts

(Pocket Art Guides)

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This modest book combines just the right amount of definitions, history, instruction, and examples. Also includes some featured artists and instructions for painting in their style.

If You Can Cut, You Can Collage: From Paper Scraps to Works of Art

by Hollie Chastain

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An excellent introduction to collage for beginners. Includes instructions on painting your own paper and present composition principles simply and with visual examples.