Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Art Books That Rock

It's no secret that I love books. Add in some beautiful art and I am in heaven. Seriously. (Me + books = 4ever!) And lately I have found some awesome ones that deserve to be talked about.

'Small Works'

'A colourful collection of some of the artist's favourite small paintings from 2009-20011. Enjoy!'

Kim is awesome. Her work is equally awesome. Her blog is one that I stalk daily because there is always something fun and happy that I find when I look at her paintings. This book just bursts with Kim's personality and vision. It's obvious that Kim loves what she does and her joy for painting is contagious. The thing I liked most about this book was that I was able to get a closer look at Kim's work. Brush strokes, texture and color are more visible. It felt almost like I was looking at the real thing. :)

a picture book for children published in 2008
by Helen Ward
Illustrations by Marc Craste

Once, the only sounds to be heard were the buzzing of bees in the grass, the murmuring of moles in the earth, and the song of birds in the sky. These warmed the hearts of those who cared to listen —- until the others came to fill the sky with buildings and the air with a cacophony of noise. With dramatically lit artwork and a spare, intriguing text, Varmints tells of a pastoral world in need of protection and of the souls who love it enough to ensure its regeneration. blurb taken from Goodreads.com

While browsing the shelves of the book sale at my kids' school last week I spotted this amazingly gorgeous and epic picture book. I took one look at it (and the half off price tag, which, let's face it, sealed the deal right there!) snagged it off the shelves and had to restrain myself from petting it in front of the other parents. It is SO beautiful!

The illustrations in this book are more beautiful than any I've ever seen before. Seriously. It has an edgy, urban feel to it that I adore, and I love the huge scope of some of the page spreads; the huge skyscrapers and tiny creatures, great grassy fields and little bees. The characters are cute, without being overly so, and there's this whole conflict of dark versus light in the story and the illustrations so that there is this big, undeniable message of hope that is simply incredible.

If you don't collect picture books (like a squirrel hoarding nuts for the winter like I do) then see if you can find a copy of this at your library. You won't be disappointed I promise.  

'Working South'
by Mary Whyte

In Working South, renowned watercolorist Mary Whyte captures in exquisite detail the essence of vanishing blue-collar professions from across ten states in the American South with sensitivity and reverence for her subjects.
"When a person works with little audience and few accolades, a truer portrait of character is revealed." Mary Whyte

For a watercolor portrait artist this book should be required reading. Page after page of gorgeous reproductions of Mary's paintings featured in her Working South exhibit along with pages out of her own journal that chronicles who these people are and why she felt so drawn to tell their story in paint.

This is my desert island art book. If I could only take one it would be this one, because it reminds me of why I want to paint portraits. To showcase what makes each of us human and remarkable no matter who we are, how much money we have, or what we look like.

Mary is a master. Her work deserves every bit of acclaim she's received and more. I dare you to look at this book and not feel inspired to run for your brushes. No, wait, I take that back. I double dare you. :)))

And if you are lucky enough to live in the area of one of Mary's exhibits you should run and see it. Like right now. Check out this link for more details about this exhibit.

So, tell me what art books are your faves? Any undiscovered finds you simply must share? ;)

Huzzah my friends!

P.S. I am working on a Halloween painting that is SO fun. I'll be back on Thursday with a post about it. See you then!


  1. I only have a couple, though I sure love art books too, even if all I do is looking at the pictures! Two I have that I like are Interpreting the Landscape in Watercolor by Don Andrews and How to Enter Shows, Win Awards and Become Famous by Harold Walkup. Long title, beautiful images. Good luck on your upcoming class! You'll be awesome.

  2. That "Varmints" book looks a-mazing! Will have to find that one for my own collection. May even let my son look at it from time to time. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Merci de nous faire découvrir ces livres...
    Je connais bien le travail de Kim, qui est une personne généreuse tout comme sa peinture.
    Gros bisous et excellente journée à bous.

  4. Strange that WORKING SOUTH really grabs me - but I don't do portraiture and am practicing hard just with figures in the town/ landscape. Looks a wonderful read. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful books with us. I will definitely look out for them!

  6. I really enjoyed learning a little more about you by what you like to read. Kims book is wonderful, I have already seen it :0) Now I just want to read one of yours - so hurry up!! ;0)
    I wish I could real out a list of intellectual, cultural books that I have read, but I have to confess that I like things that make me laugh! Bridget Jones's diarys were so funny - and she reminded me so much of me in my 30's that I could really relate to her character. I could read them again and again - SO much better than the films (aren't books always?) And 'A Tiny Bit Marvelous' by Dawn French is totally histerical from the very first paragraph! Again I can really relate because she has based it on her own life as the mother of a teenage daughter who is going through that awful stage of thinking that the mum is the most EMBARRASSING person on the face of the earth, lol! If ever you can read it, do! :0)

  7. My dear Book Worm, thank you for this great post on the books. It seems I must try to find Varmints and Working South; they look like wonderful books. And again ... HUZZAH!!

  8. thanks so much for posting these books. I have my reading list in my iPhone!
    Also, I have a weakness for art books!

  9. Thanks for sharing --and I found out I am going to be one of the lucky ones --there will be a Mary Whyte exhibition in a city near me :) I will be sure to mark it in my calendar!

  10. I was fortunate enough to go to this show in Greenville. Her work is exquisite.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment they really do mean so much to me! Because not all bloggers have their email enabled so I can reply directly through email I will try to reply here in the comments. If I don't please forgive me, life must have been hectic that day! :)) Huzzah!!

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