• Carol Wiebe

Art Books That Give You the Tools and Impetus to Create Meaningful Art

Last night I got home from work and found a BIG box from Amazon sitting on the inside step. My heart performed a little leap.

I waited until supper was done, made myself a soy chai latte, and sat down to immerse myself in the inspiration that art books can deliver. I was not disappointed. In fact, my thoughts were racing with possibilities and the longing in me kept shooting upwards, like one of those carnival high strikers that you hit with a large hammer in order to test your strength. The strength of my longing was high, and the bell rang, loud and clear!

Here’s what I was perusing:

  1. New Acrylics Essential Sourcebook: Materials, Techniques, and Contemporary Applications for Today’s Artist (Rheni Tauchid ~ I own her previous book as well.)

  2. Paper Transformed: A Handbook of Surface-Design Recipes and Creative Paper Projects (Julia Andrus ~ a fascinating recipe book approach to acrylic techniques.)

  3. Collage Journeys: A Practical Guide to Creating Personal Artwork (Jane Davies ~ She calls her offering practical, but it is so much more than that.)

  4. Live & Learn: Expressive Drawing: A Practical Guide to Freeing the Artist Within (Steven Aimone ~ if the artwork in this book is any indication, Steven is an inspired teacher.)

  5. Painted Paper: Techniques & Projects for Handmade Books & Cards (Alisa Golden ~ she’s a handmade book diva.)

Obviously, I cannot absorb this amount of material in one sitting. I must say, I am thrilled with all of them, but at first blush, Live & Learn: Expressive Drawing: A Practical Guide to Freeing the Artist Within really contributed the most to my elevated high striker score. Granted, it has a different purpose than the others, but I can see that it will occupy my attention for some time. Here’s a small taste:

You, the artist, are a unique filter through which life’s experiences are processed. As a result, responses and expressions emerge that are completely your own. Your drawings reveal things that are not easily spoken of or experienced in any other way (Aimone, 2009, 11).

Collage Journeys also looked very intriguing. I really appreciate Davies’ approach to journaling:

[W]hen it comes to actually using one of my handmade books, or even a store bought art journal, I get The Blank Page syndrome. After years of wrestling with my seeming inability to find a satisfying approach, I came up with a way to make a visual journal that solves the Blank Page Problem. I call it my “unbound collage folios” journal  because you begin by creating random collages on unbound folios, and then assemble them into a book. Each page spread offers something that you can respond to. Collage, write, paint, sew, cut, tear, draw – anything you can think of. There are no mistakes and no blank pages! This workshop takes you through the process of unbinding your visual journaling, resulting in a beautiful handmade collage book.

Find out more about the authors listed above by visiting their websites:

Rheni Tauchid:

~~ Tri-Art instructor

~~  New Acrylics Books

Julia Andrus:

~~ Julia Andrus website

Jane Davies:

~~ Jane Davies Studios

Steven Amoine:

~~ Aimone Art Services

Alisa Golden:

~~ never mind the press

~~ at the Donna Seager Gallery

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