One of the best things about Christmas for me is the promise of new art books under the tree. This year was no exception and I received some beauties. Listed below in no particular order are my new treasures. I look forward to delving deeply into each of them, but for now, I will just give you an overview.
1- Color and Light- by James Gurney:
This is Gurney's follow-up book to last year's very insightful Imaginative Realism. Both books are based heavily on concepts that James profiles on his popular blog Gurney Journey. This volume examines various techniques and principles that any artist can use to better capture a realistic sense of light and color into their work.The principles are laid out in a concise yet thorough manner which allows the reader to digest each principle with a minimum of cerebral overload. This is the type of book I would have loved to have had available when I was struggling with nebulous theories of color as they were vaguely presented during my undergrad days. I wonder how many failed color schemes could have been avoided in my work if I had had a resource like this to draw upon.Even now after nearly twenty years in the business, I found myself having light bulb moments while reading through this book. I will be recommending both Gurney books to my students as must have resources.
2- The Legend of Steel Bashaw- by Petar Meseldzija
I admit I wanted this one purely for Petar's amazing paintings. It recounts a Serbian legend that Meseldzija recalls from his youth of a Young king's quest to rescue his sister and then his own love from the ruthless dragon Steel Bashaw. The sumptuous oil paintings are meticulously designed and painted with an alla prima flair that is admirable. I found myself looking closely at the details of each painting and wishing the reproductions were even larger than the 9" x 12" format. Luckily, there is a section at the back of the US edition that includes various drawings and details of the finished paintings as well as a step by step description of Meseldzija's working methods. This one will be giving inspiration for a long time to come.
3- The Art of Maynard Dixon- By Donald Haggerty
I admit I am a sucker for Maynard Dixon books. He is one of my all time favorite western painters, a master of design and color, he breathed incredible life into his vistas of sagebrush and stone. I own several and couldn't resist asking my wife to make sure this one was under the tree as well. This volume expands upon Haggerty's previous volume on Dixon in a slightly larger format with a number of paintings that I had not seen before. I admit I have not read the text yet but based on the previous work I have read from Haggerty, I expect this to be well written and insightful as well. The best part though are the full color reproductions the are plentiful throughout the book. Already a big fan of Dixon's work, I expect this will fuel me even more to reach for expression in my landscape work that I have not yet achieved.