Ann McMillan Art
Fine Art in Color

Studio Blog

teaching resources and studio blog

Five Art Books

Dear Reader, Here are five books I recommend to everyone who asks me how to paint, or to be an artist:

298536-M (1)Finding Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  This book in in my top five-favorite-books-that-changed-my-life list.  Did you know that watching tv uses less energy than REM dreaming?  This book talks about the psychology and biology of creativity.  I read it many years ago; it started me thinking about using my time more in the service of art, and less reading the interwebs.

21WVG41X8DL._BO1,204,203,200_Composition of Outdoor Painting, by Edgar Payne.  This book is an old one, but venerable.  The pictures are worth not only a thousand words, but also the stiff and dated writing.  I base most of my composition and design thinking on principles learned from this book. The writing makes me laugh-- to this day I "Stand up and paint like a man"!51KH6MVJ7WL._SX353_BO1,204,203,200_

A Proven Strategy for Creating Great Art, by Dan McCaw.   Another oldish but excellent book.  His ideas for planning and composing interesting compositions are unequaled.  He was in his Sorolla phase when he wrote this one.  Check out his Web site for more abstraction of the figure in recent years.

Daily Painting, by Carol Marine.  Carol Marine is the author I recommend to people starting out, her descriptions and style is pure and simple.  I love the way she paints, and how consistently and beautifully is has written this book.51NkpC3w+6L._SX459_BO1,204,203,200_

How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist, by Caroll Micheals.  This 51sq+I-HWlL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_book is like so many others about being a business person as well as an artist, but somehow her chapter on dealing with the mental challenges of creative self-employment helped me so much.  So I recommend it heartily-- being creatively self-employed is one of the hardest things I have ever done.

Have I missed one you love?  Let me know...