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7 Art Books for a Creative Beach Read

Reading Woman with Parasol by Henri Matisse, 1921. Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1938

Looking forward to an upcoming vacation? Find the perfect book to accompany you on your plane ride, throw in your beach bag, or dive into during a long road trip. Keep your artistic side teeming with ideas during the whole summer! These books are a few of our favorites from our reading groups, including our Creative Practice Book Club coming up July 25, and our Art History Book Club on August 1.

The Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Joy in the Everyday

by Rob Walker

If you find the world to be a never-ending series of distractions, this book by Rob Walker might be just what you need to be present in your own creativity. With beautiful illustrations and fun exercises, Walker trains you to think more clearly, listen better, and reinvigorate creativity.  

Pick up The Art of Noticing through a special partnership with Old Town Books, order from them online or visit their store just a block from The Torpedo Factory.

The Secret Lives of Color 

by Kassia St. Clair

This book in itself is an inspiration…the graphic design of this little gem is worthy of your coffee table. The Secret Lives of Color tells the stories of seventy-five different shades, dyes and hues. Colors like Picasso’s blue to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, imperial purple to Acid Yellow, St. Clair tells history and our own stories through color.

Just for Fun: If you’re wondering what colors inspire you, check out this fun report from Year of Colour that generates a visual representation of you the colors you used this year on Instagram! 

Also, soon available at Old Town Books!

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

by Elizabeth Gilbert

The writer of Eat, Pray, Love (another favorite beach read) compiles inspiration and empowerment from her own generative creative process. This book offers the inspiration to banish fear and begin embracing what you love. Gilbert encourages the practice of uncovering “strange jewels” hidden inside each of us. Big Magic cracks open a world where dreams and plans long forgotten make their way onto your “done” list.

Big Magic is also available through a partnership with Old Town Books, order from them online or visit their store.

The Trickster’s Hat: A Mischievous Apprenticeship in Creativity

by Nick Bartock

“The Trickster’s Hat” features 49 exercises that will encourage you to forget the destination of your creativity, and instead focus on the journey. Bartock’s books are about discovery and curiosity and “Trickster’s Hat” is based off of his popular creativity workshop. All Bartock’s books are creative, whimsical, and innovative and this one is no different.

Soon to be available at Old Town Books!

Growing pains: the Autobiography of Emily Carr

by Emily Carr

Emily Carr, a famous Canadian modernist artist, created works featuring indigenous people and landscapes of her homeland. “Growing Pains,”  posthumously published in 1945, tells Carr’s story from her training as an artist in California and Europe, to the frustration of being rejected by the art community. Her story isn’t that of an easy road to fame, and the look into her creative process and struggle during the revolutionary early 20th century art world is unique and real. 

So Much Longing in so Little Space: The Art of Edvard Munch

by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Learn more about Modernist painter Edvard Munch through the lens of Norwegian, Karl Ove Knausgaard.  As a fellow Norwegian creative, Knausgaard is a natural fit to follow the artist’s winding and deeply moving life story and also examine how his artwork changed the world. This book was featured in last month’s Art History Book Club!

Conscious Creativity: Look, Connect, Create

by Philipa Stanton

This is handbook/ activity book kickstarts creativity with practical ideas and inspirational images. Those who attended our first Creative Practices book club may have read this one already. This handy book is the perfect catalyst for when you want to get right into the work of creativity and have some time on your hands to dive into observation, experimentation, and a deeper look at your world. 

This book is also available through an exclusive partnership with Old Town Books, order from them online or visit their store just a block from The Torpedo Factory.

If you’re shopping for a new beach book on Amazon, consider supporting The Art League through your purchase. Navigate to the Smile.Amazon.com portal before you shop and AmazonSmile will make a donation to The League! 

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