Thursday, August 19, 2010


"Summer Reading" smacks of a grade school assignment, doesn't it? Before leaving home in May, I solicited my friends to let me borrow books for our great boating adventure. In addition, I made many purchases and have done a lot of reading. There's been plenty of time to read while boating through the waters of Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska.

The three best art books I have read so far this summer are the ones you see above in the photograph. I highly recommend them to you and suggest that you get ahold of them and read them yourselves.

#1. Art and Physics by Leonard Shlain. This is a thoughtful book, filled with wonderful insights about the parallel discoveries in the worlds of art and science. Even if you are not too interested in Physics, you will find this a great read. I'm still pondering these words, by J. Baldwin as quoted in the book,
"The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers."
#2. Like Breath on Glass: Whistler, Inness, and the Art of Painting Softly by Marc Simpson. Written as a collection of essays that went with the art exhibition of the same title, this book amazed me with its depth and breadth. Plus, as a resident of the Pacific Northwest, I am challenged with painting misty, rainy, foggy vistas and found this book helpful in giving me some hooks on which to hang new ideas. I've copied into my sketchbook this quote by James McNeill Whistler,
"The imitator is a poor kind of creature. If the man who paints only the tree, or flower, or other surface he sees before him were an artist, the king of artists would be the photographer. It is for the artist to do something beyond this."
#3. The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland. This slightly fictionalized biography of the life of Emily Carr was an easy and fun read. My enjoyment was probably enhanced by traveling through areas Carr painted and traveled in during her lifetime, but beyond that, the book was insightful about the life of an artist and particularly a female artist. Canada is in the midst of celebrating and rediscovering Carr's work and I find copies of her paintings on potholders and address books and note cards and all kinds of other objects. Before I leave Canada, I will make sure to pick up more books about Emily Carr and her life and art. Click here to see some murals of Carr's work on Vancouver Island. More about Carr here.


Jan Yates, SCA said...

Thanks for the recommended reading! FYI try to get your hands on books written BY Emily Carr-if you haven't already--I highly recommend KLee WYke for starts

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Thanks for the suggestion! I will keep my eye out. Lots of new and used bookstores to search through. I think there's a great one in Nanaimo and another that I like in Ganges. Thanks!

Ralph said...

Thanks I am always looking to find meaningful tings to read.