The Mindful Art Studio Book List 2020

Dear Wonderful, Creative You:

Each fall I compile a list of books that have inspired me throughout the year. I love sharing the books that have inspired my work and enriched my life. While I’m usually share books mostly about art and artists, I’ve realized nature has such a close connection with my art process, it makes sense to including those as well.

The Lost Words, Robert McFarlane and illustrations by Jackie Morris

This book is such a marriage of so many things that speak to me – a love of words, a quest to preserve nature, and gorgeous illustrations of plants and animals. You’ll get lost in Lost Words in the best way possible.

Making Journals by Hand, Jason Thompson

I’ve had this book for years, but it’s one I return to often for inspiration when I want to enliven my journaling practice.

Print, Pattern, Sew: Block Printing Basics, and Simple Sewing Projects for an Inspired Wardrobe, Jen Hewitt

I took the online block printing course a number of years ago with Jen Hewitt and her work continues to inspire me. Her presentation of the block printing methods is straightforward and easy to follow, and she appears in many photos with her little doggie – what could be more inspiring than that? I’m not much of a seamstress, I just sometimes pretend I sew when I need to make curtains or a tablecloth, but seeing all these beautiful projects inspires me.

Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer

Kimmerer writes eloquently and tells engaging stories about “indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants.” The more I learned, the more I realized I wanted to know more. I learned so many things in this book, but a lot of what it gave me was validation for my love of nature and the ways I want to weave it more intimately into my art. Kimmerer also helped me think more deeply about ways I could approach the natural world more mindfully, with respect rather than entitlement.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, Elisabeth Tova Bailey

The way that Bailey tunes into a snail in the most quiet, slow way drew me in immediately. The space she made for attention to nature – that’s what inspires me. It created in me a feeling of spaciousness. This is a similar spaciousness as I feel when I practice slow drawing, and quiet exploration in the woods or on the shore. This little book has a lot to say about the gifts of slowing down and tuning in. For me it applies to my time in nature, but of course also in art.

Daily Rituals, Mason Currey

This is a lovely little read about the daily practices of artists, scientists, and philosophers. For me it reinforced the importance of respecting your own rhythm in your creative life, and then sticking to it.

An Ocean Garden, Josie Iselin

This gorgeous little book is full of the color, pattern and detail of dozens of different types of seaweed. Iselin has gathered and scanned them with incredible care, such that they seem to float in white space. It was beautiful to study the patterns and color shifts, but also to learn more about seaweed and how they survive and thrive.

O’Keeffe: Days in a Life: C.S. Merrill

This little book gave a fascinating peek into my favorite painter, her habits, and her life in New Mexico.

What books art and nature books are inspiring you right now? I’d love to hear about it!

Creatively Yours,

Amy

22 Comments

  1. Anna Y Guettabi

    fantastic compellation of books! Thank you! Reading is very slow for me since I have a regular day-job and an art practice after seven, when dinner is cooked and eaten. It sadly leaves very little time for reading. Perhaps if I don’t pressure to draw every day so much…

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      HI Anna:

      Yes, I hear you – there’s only so many hours in a day. 🙂 I guess it’s finding the rhythm that works for each of us. XO

      Reply
  2. linda higham

    good afternoon amy
    hope your well and staying safe
    Georgia O’Keeffe is my favorite artist
    my art prof in college introduced her to me
    when my indie outside the classroom drawings were
    like her mountains in NM
    I’d not known of her at the time and he had me look her up
    turned out not on;y did and still do wear alot of black and white
    but we were both born on Nov.15th
    yes my birthday was yesterday
    stay safe and be careful
    enjoying your friday classes also

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Linda:
      yes, finding out about Georgia is a beautiful revolution! XO Happy birthday.

      Reply
  3. Lyttlefish

    Thank you so much for the great list of books..none of which I have read and so look forward to.
    A book I go back to again and again is
    Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland.
    Thanks so much for alway being here, there and everywhere for me
    <

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      I LOVE Art and Fear, it made the list a couple of years ago. You might also love Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon? And I’m so happy I can be here for you.
      xo

      Reply
  4. Claudia

    Braiding Sweetgrass has become a favorite of mine. Her writing transported me. This book I savored and read every single word. It also promoted me to learn more, especially about the indigenous people here on the Cape. Looking forward to checking out your other titles.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Claudia – YES – I hear you. I’m on Wampanoag land here – it’s funny how with all I’ve been learning I’m finally having a little glimmer of an idea of what that means. So happy you liked it too.
      xo

      Reply
  5. Laila

    I live in the UK and my daughter received The Lost words for her 6th birthday. I love reading it to her and she recites it to her Aunt and Uncle who bought it for her. The pictures are a true delight.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Laila: Oh goodness, I LOVE this story. I showed it to my son who unfortunately was not as smitten with it as I was, but I know he appreciated the illustrations. I’m thrilled to hear your daughter got it as a gift as that helps reach the intention of the book.

      Xo

      Reply
  6. Gretta

    Two books that have inspired me are; The Invisble Thread by: Laura Schroff and The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates. Both of these are true stories!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Gretta: Thanks for reading and for the recommendations. Do you want to say what these books are about?
      xo

      Reply
  7. Carolyn Koesters

    I loved, loved, loved the snail book. I thought I was the only one! 🙂 Incredible story. Made me so grateful. I’ll have to check out a lot of these from the library!
    thanks so much, Amy

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      SO happy you liked it too! XO

      Reply
  8. 'Tamara G Suttle

    Amy! What a great little way to share what inspires you and then in turn inspires us! Thank you. I’m always curious about the books on other’s bookshelves and. Always looking for a good booklist, too! Found several here to go looking for!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Hey Tamara!
      Glad to “see” you. I’m so happy that you found a few good titles. Enjoy and I hope you’re well. xo

      Reply
  9. Diane

    There is a book you may really like…it is brand new and I have not read it yet–but want to. “The Radiant Lives of Animals” by Linda Hogan. It really sounds like you would love it.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Sounds fascinating, Diane, I’ll check it out. Thanks! xo

      Reply
  10. Judy Rosenbaum

    I always look forward to you booklist each year—and now look forward to reading some of them.
    Take care. ❤️

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Judy:
      I look forward to hearing from you! You always bring such a ray of light and warmth. Thank you for that. I think you’ll love the snail book, and the others too! xo

      Reply
  11. Nancy Norton

    Thank you, Amy, for another kind sharing.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      I’m so happy you enjoy it Nancy. Thanks for taking the time to say so! xo

      Reply

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