Beauty and the Art of It . . .

Art Book Reviews


Richard Schmid  Richard SchmidFor artists, one of the premier art instruction guides for more than a decade has been master artist Richard Schmid’s Alla Prima: Everything I Know About Painting, Richard Schmid. Stove Prairie Press 1999. Now he has come out with a revised edition that promises to be even more inspirational. Alla Prima II: Everything I Know About Painting and More, by Richard Schmid with Katie Swatland, is over a third larger, with over 328 pages, including 262 images of paintings, photos, and step-by-step sequences that clearly share the master’s techniques and thought processes. This is a must on the shelf of any artist and would make a great gift for the artist in your life, one that would be enjoyed for a lifetime. More details. BUY now from Amazon.

Edward CurtisShort Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis, Timothy Egan. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012. Edward Curtis was a celebrity photographer of his time, socializing with presidents, stars, and leading thinkers. At the age of 32, in 1900, he gave all that up to follow his passion for capturing the culture and customs of native inhabitants before they disappeared. He spent the next thirty years traveling throughout the West and documenting stories, people, and rituals of more than 80 tribes. He took more than 40,000 photographs and preserved 10,000 audio recordings, and he is credited with making the first narrative documentary film. Pulitzer Prize and National Book award-winner Timothy Egan does a magnificent job of acquainting us with this legendary artist. Author’s website. BUY now from Amazon.


Drawing Surrealism
Drawing Surrealism
, Leslie Jones, with contributions by Isabelle Dervaux and Susan Laxton. Prestel/DelMonico Books 2012. An expansive and informative book that reveals the importance of fundamental drawing skills to the genre of surrealism and delves into some of the techniques that surrealist artists have used to tap into the subconscious realm. It surveys a wide array of international artists, from the great figures in surrealist history to lesser-known surrealists from Japan, Central Europe, and the Americas, where the movement had a profound and lasting effect. Includes reproductions of drawings and other works by more than 100 artists as well as an historical essay by the exhibition’s curator and essays by leading scholars. 200 illustrations. BUY now from Amazon.


Grand Canyon PhotographyPath of Beauty: Photographic Adventures in the Grand Canyon, Christopher Brown. St. Martin’s Press 2010. Brown’s collection of photographs and essays is a refreshingly different kind of trip to the Grand Canyon, presenting a new perspective of the familiar historic landmark. From luxurious broad views to intimate details he approaches the Canyon as a giant art gallery full of undiscovered tableaus, exploring its remote and seldom seen grottoes along the Colorado River. Brown has created a profoundly beautiful visual experience that documents the author/photographer’s lifelong love affair with the earth and has written elegantly about what it all means to him. He shows us a Grand Canyon full of aesthetic delights that will please lovers of photography and fine art alike. Chris Brown’s website. BUY now from artist.

Blues for Smoke
Blues for Smoke
, edited by Bennett Simpson. Prestel 2012. This book accompanied a large-scale thematic exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. It looks beyond musical category to cover nearly half a century of the blues as a visual and cultural language “that has informed multiple generations of artists—from Romare Bearden and William Eggleston to David Hammons and the television series The Wire.” It includes a fascinating panorama of illustrations, including paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture, installation, and video stills, as well as critical writing, poetry, and fiction. If you love the blues, its history and its manifestations throughout American culture, this is a book you will want to explore! BUY now from Amazon.


California Quilts
Quilts: California Bound, California Made, 1840-1940
, Sandi Fox. University of Oklahoma Press 2013. Fox, formerly Collection Curator of Quilts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is a renowned curator, author, and scholar in the field. This is the story of California’s quilts, a chronicle spanning a century of quilt making with 204 color and black and white illustrations. Quilts includes those made by travelers crossing the country to settle in California and those created on farms, in villages, and in cities across the state. Each has its story and many of them in this book are accompanied by letters, diary entries, and historical records to help us understand the social, political, and cultural contexts in which they were created. MORE on the history of quilt making. BUY now from Amazon.


Egon Schiele's Women
Egon Shiele’s Women
, Jane Kallir. Prestel 2012. Egon Schiele (1890–1918), Austrian painter and protégé of Gustav Klimt, is known for his expressionistic, emotional, intense, and highly sexual figurative artwork. His career was brief, but during his productive years he created hundreds of drawings, watercolors, and oil paintings of the women in his life. The quality and evocative character of his lines are unmatched even today. Jane Kallir takes a close look at the backstories of these works and demonstrates how these women relate not only to Schiele’s development as an artist but also to “the larger issue of feminine representation.” There’s a lot to learn here about artistic passion. MORE on this unique artist and his work. BUY now from Amazon.



View the art of  TED COCONIS and ROCKY HAWKINS, two very individualistic artists who are passionately devoted to their art. Each follows his own unique vision and has achieved increasing recognition for his talent and skill. We think you’ll enjoy getting acquainted.


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