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.
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.
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!
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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…
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
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
yes, finding out about Georgia is a beautiful revolution! XO Happy birthday.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Hi Gretta: Thanks for reading and for the recommendations. Do you want to say what these books are about?
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
SO happy you liked it too! XO
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!
Glad to “see” you. I’m so happy that you found a few good titles. Enjoy and I hope you’re well. xo
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.
Sounds fascinating, Diane, I’ll check it out. Thanks! xo
I always look forward to you booklist each year—and now look forward to reading some of them.
Take care. ❤️
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
Thank you, Amy, for another kind sharing.
I’m so happy you enjoy it Nancy. Thanks for taking the time to say so! xo
I know this comment is late and way after the holiday season but one book you might want to check out is A Natural History Of The Senses by Diane Ackerman. I read it many years ago and it has stayed with me. There is an entire section devoted to roses and it is heavenly! Each chapter is intoxicating in its own way. I highly recommend it! And thank you for your work, Amy. I am thoroughly enjoying your classes. Now when I look at a blank page I see options and I love slow drawing as a practice. It helps.
OH this sounds lovely. I can’t wait to check it out, thanks Margaret! xo