My Favorite Books on Art and Painting

Posted on February 13, 2017 by Angelique Abare | 0 comments

I wanted to pop in a share some books that helped me find my way in the studio. These books range from theory, to art history, and have had a huge impact on the way I look at art, both my own and the work of my peers and idols.

My Picks on Art and Life as an Artist

Ways of Seeing by John Berger

This book was first published in 1972, and was based on a BBC series. I first read this in my last semester of undergrad for an Advertising Crit. course, and it transformed not just the way I see art, but the way I think about viewers looking at my own work. This exploration into perception, intention, cultural impact of images and cultural heritage of fine art, was a vital introduction to the critical theory I relied on in Grad School. More than anything this book introduced and prepared me for the self-reflection that was needed to find my voice as an artist, and to look at my work critically.


Realism in 20th Century Painting by Brendan Prendeville

Many surveys of twentieth-century art gloss over the rich and vast presence of realism, and the critical impact realism had during this time period.  Additionally this book explores the transitional meaning realism has had over time, and how the organic definition of realism in painting has allowed such a wide and strong influence on modern ideas of visual language, politics and theory. This survey is a fantastic introduction to the arch of realism, and includes a stunning exploration of the historical and critical contexts and the western tradition of representational works. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in painting, no matter your preference for abstract or representational subject matter.



Living the Artist’s Life: A Guide to Growing, Persevering, and Succeeding in the Art World

A must read for when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of your own vision, and the confusing path that being a fulltime artist takes. A great resource for tackling gallery submissions, artist resumes, and generally what you need to accomplish to move your career forward. This book is written by a Gallery Owner, so it is great to get the perspective of what to do from the type of person who is looking at your submissions.


The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa by Michael Kimmelman

Not every aspect of this book is perfect. But overall, this is a gem! The book is about art and the comfort it can give, not just to the viewer, but to the artist/maker behind the work as well. One criticism is the lack of representation of female artists in his examples, but that doesn't necessarily detract from the overall message. I especially appreciate the suggestion to expand the definition of art beyond the framed pieces of work in a gallery, by also seeing art in the way you organize your life, or the things you devote your time and attention to daily. This is an accessible introduction to changing the way you think about what art is, and what it means to be an artist.

What are your favorite art related books or resource? Leave a comment and let me know, I am always looking to expand my Art-y library.

Until next time, keep hustlin',







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