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While I wait for the paint to dry, I thought I’d share some of the creative books I’ve read, want to read and will be reading soon. I’ve posted before on books other than genre fiction that adorn my shelves. The last post was on anthropology, literature, and writing. This post will focus on a few art related books. I’ve taken courses in Renaissance and Baroque, American Art, as well as Art Theory/Criticism. Somewhere along the line I’ve read books on Ancient Art and Archaeology too. But in both cases I couldn’t tell you the books I read. They were those bulky textbooks that weighed a ton! Two books I do remember reading both left lasting impressions.

The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone

If I haven’t completely lost my mind, I believe I read this in high school. After which, we watched the film with Charleton Heston.

Irving Stone’s classic biographical novel-in which both the artist and the man are brought to life in full. A masterpiece in its own right, this novel offers a compelling portrait of Michelangelo’s dangerous, impassioned loves, and the God-driven fury from which he wrested the greatest art the world has ever known. (from Goodreads)

 The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracey Chevalier

I bought this book at the airport for a trip to Paris back in 2002, before the film was released.

Girl with a Pearl Earring centers on Vermeer’s prosperous Delft household during the 1660s. When Griet, the novel’s quietly perceptive heroine, is hired as a servant, turmoil follows. First, the 16-year-old narrator becomes increasingly intimate with her master. Then Vermeer employs her as his assistant–and ultimately has Griet sit for him as a model. Chevalier vividly evokes the complex domestic tensions of the household, ruled over by the painter’s jealous, eternally pregnant wife and his taciturn mother-in-law. At times the relationship between servant and master seems a little anachronistic. Still, Girl with a Pearl Earringdoes contain a final delicious twist. (from Goodreads)

Books on my Wishlist:

Natural History Painting by Rosie Martin

With the expert instruction of two award-winning artists who specialize in capturing the primal essence of the natural world, anyone can create lifelike and unerringly accurate portraits of plants, flowers, and wildlife. This book offers ideas on finding an inspirational subject, from natural outdoor settings to local zoos and museums; advice on composition; and techniques for using a range of materials. From learning to recreate the subtle shimmer of a fish’s scales to capturing the graceful curve a flower, every step in the creative process is explained through color photographs and illuminating text. (from Goodreads)

Color by Victoria Finlay

Discover the tantalizing true stories behind your favorite colors.
For example: Cleopatra used saffron—a source of the color yellow—for seduction. Extracted from an Afghan mine, the blue “ultramarine” paint used by Michelangelo was so expensive he couldn’t afford to buy it himself. Since ancient times, carmine red—still found in lipsticks and Cherry Coke today—has come from the blood of insects. (from Goodreads)

On my Nightstand:

The Anthropology of Turquoise by Ellen Meloy

This book is indeed sitting on my nightstand. I can’t wait to begin reading!

In this invigorating mix of natural history and adventure, artist-naturalist Ellen Meloy uses turquoise—the color and the gem—to probe deeper into our profound human attachment to landscape. 

From the Sierra Nevada, the Mojave Desert, the Yucatan Peninsula, and the Bahamas to her home ground on the high plateaus and deep canyons of the Southwest, we journey with Meloy through vistas of both great beauty and great desecration. Her keen vision makes us look anew at ancestral mountains, turquoise seas, and even motel swimming pools. She introduces us to Navajo “velvet grandmothers” whose attire and aesthetics absorb the vivid palette of their homeland, as well as to Persians who consider turquoise the life-saving equivalent of a bullet-proof vest. Throughout, Meloy invites us to appreciate along with her the endless surprises in all of life and celebrates the seduction to be found in our visual surroundings. (from Goodreads)