Sometimes I like to go to the library and bring home my own weight in books. {Don’t we all.} A recent trip yielded some great finds on the art front which I thought I’d share with you in case you’re looking for some new energy in your work.

{You can click the book titles or images to find out more and/or buy them; these are affiliate links so if you decide to purchase I’ll receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!}

Acrylics Unleashed by Glyn Macey

Why I like it

Apart from the fact that the author is from Cornwall and makes a lot of seaside paintings… ;)

  • An array of fun and easy techniques to create varied and interesting marks
  • An in depth look at unusual materials to use
  • Lots of rich and inspiring visuals
  • Simple explanation of composition
  • Step by step demonstrations that show clearly how the paintings come together




The book centres on land, sea and city scapes, so not for those looking for figurative, specifically abstract or still life help, although the techniques here could be used on any subject. If you like textured work, collage, interesting and easy ways to create layering and textural effects and step by step instructions, you’ll likely get a lot from this book.


Beginner’s Guide to Abstract Art by Laura Reiter

Why I like it

  • Beginner's Guide to Abstract Art by Laura Reiter
    Super easy to understand and colourfully illustrated explanations of composition and design {how to make a painting work}
  • Some great projects to try
  • A look at colour mixing that isn’t too overwhelming
  • Explorations of texture and mark making
  • Inspiration through work by other artists
  • Discussions of things like how to tell when a painting is finished, keeping a visual diary and developing your own visual language


Not all the work included is fully abstract – several pieces are loosely representational, which is great if you’re an abstractifier like me. :)


Taking Risks with Watercolour by Shirley Trevena

Why I like it

  • Bold and unusual approaches to a traditional medium
  • HEAPS of little tricks and techniques, some I haven’t come across before {and I’ve read a lot of art books!}
  • A step by step of a painting from start to finish runs through the book, interspersed with Shirley’s thoughts on – and experiments in – topics like values, developing a painting, texture and line.
  • Discussion of her own processes and progress over the years
  • The constant inspiration to push your work further


Obviously I’m not a watercolour artist, but this book was so brilliant I don’t think that’s as relevant as it might seem. There is plenty in here that can be applied to all sorts of media, including a look at monoprinting and mixed media.

Fun fact: I bought my current home from Shirley, and it’s her beautifully created studio that I get to work in every day!

What art books have you found that really inspired you, even if they weren’t necessarily in your usual area?


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