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Art Books? Yay, or nay?

by Peta Tranquille

Art books. Do you have any? What is your favourite? Or have you never bought any?

I received my first art book when I was about 10. It was a Christmas gift from my parents to encourage me with my art. I still have it, along with all the other subsequent books they gave me for birthdays and Christmas for following years. I still have them all. One of them has water damage but it’s still going strong.

Christmas gift from 1981

Most of the books my parents bought were instructional and mostly drawing related. I didn’t own an art reference book or art history book until I started an Art & Design course in the 90s. At the time I was very excited about all the information I knew nothing about. If anything, it was a bit overwhelming at the time. The overload of information was too much, and I remember being frustrated as I couldn’t remember artist names, artwork titles or important dates. As a result, I only focused on practical classes and only a year into my course I left to start a family.

More books from that parents bought for me as a teen.

The fear of not being able to digest all the art history put me off to the extent that I never returned to complete the course and instead focused on my mapping career and the occasional portrait for friends and family.

It took 20 years before I began to be curious about art history and wanting to visit art galleries. Even then I would attend the exhibition, buy a book, and then put it in the bookcase to never look at it again.

The last few months I have started studying and must research artists for assignments and projects. This has ignited a desire to learn more about the subject that scared me all those years ago. I am discovering how good the books I have are and can’t believe I’ve barely looked at them.

Some of the collection I am enjoying.

I used to always feel that if I read and learned more about other artists, eras, and movements that it would mean my artwork and style would be too heavily influenced and not have its own signature or style. I am not yet fully convinced but starting to realise that it might just be good for providing ideas and a different perspective to my approach.

As a result of my new and refreshed interest in art books, and learning more about artists and art history, I suggested the idea of a book club, once a month, to the committee. They thought it was a great idea and so from next month we will be running an online meetup to discuss our art books. The meetup will be free of charge and available for our Facebook Group members, Website members and Associate Members.

I look forward to showing you my art books and seeing and discussing the books you have.

Happy reading everyone. Dates and times will be releases in coming weeks.


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