A miscellaneous collection of resources you might find interesting. This list is sort of quirky and idiosyncratic. I add to this page when I have time or when I’m working on something that might be a good addition, and have time to include it. It’s not intended to be a “best of” or comprehensive survey. (For books, please use the title and author information to search at your library or favorite bookseller. I prefer not to point you to particular book vendors.)
Color: A Natural History of the Palette, Victoria Finlay. Fascinating collection of “stories and anecdotes, histories and adventures inspired by the human quest for color”. Chapters arranged by color
Bright Earth, Phillip Ball. Ball is a physicist with an undergraduate degree in chemistry, and a masterly writer. This books traces the intertwining of art, commerce, and the technology of pigments and dyes. (It will definitely make you appreciate the wealth of non-toxic and lightfast colors we have!)
A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire, Amy Butler Greenfield. The story of cochineal. From the cover blurb: “A Perfect Red evokes with style and verve this history of a grand obsession , of intrigue, empire and adventure in pursuit of the most desirable color on earth.” Reads as fast as any novel.
The Secret Lives of Color, Kassia St. Clair. Stories/histories of 75 different pigments/colors, arranged in rainbow order. Wonderful to dip into here and there for inspiration.
Color Choices: Making Sense Out of Color Theory, Stephen Quiller. The title says it all. This is the book that made color theory finally “click” for me so that I could actually use it. (Plus, Quiller’s paintings and drawings illustrating the book are drool-worthy.)
Making Color Sing, Jean Dobie. More extremely practical advice on creating glowing, jewel-like color in watercolor. And, although it’s not the topic of the book, directly, studying the paintings is a wonderful education in the power of simplifying shapes and strong design arrangements to create impact and showcase the luminosity of watercolor.
The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone and Sky, Ellen Meloy. Essays on natural history and human relationship to the landscape, revolving around turquoise (the color, and the stone). So of course, I loved it!
About Design, Composition and Planning:
Creative Discoveries in Watermedia, Pat Dews. Watercolor, acrylic, inks and collage, but even if you just want to work in watercolor, the info on design is great.
The Mind of Watercolor (Steve Mitchell). Hundreds of excellent videos on every aspect of watercolor technique. Steve Mitchell comes from a professional illustration background. We don’t agree on every teeny detail, but where we do things differently, it is mostly due to my preference for a lot of wet-into-wet effects and a bit looser style (not that his style is super-tight, he just maintains a bit more control over the water and paint–I’m messier!) Check the “Playlists” tab to easily find your way around the wealth of information on his channel.
Cafe Watercolor (Eric Yi Lin) – Gentle speech and an emphasis on painting the people and things that matter most in your life make this channel soothing and uplifting. Unhurried demonstrations, so you can really follow what’s going on, and wonderful openness about his thinking process as he paints.
Angela Fehr – A looser style, using more water. Lots of great information, very encouraging and really communicates the unique beauty of watercolor’s wet-in-wet effects.
makoccino – mako has a ton of simple exercises and projects that feel very doable, even if you are just starting out. Some people have told me they find it difficult to understand her accent. I think she’s quite clear, but then, my hearing is still pretty good. 🙂 If you find it a strain, she does have closed-captions enabled on her videos, so you can always turn that on.
Watercolor by Shibasaki – Shibasaki-sensei is known as the “Japanese Bob Ross of watercolor”. Joyful, calm and inspiring. In Japanese, with English subtitles, but he’s so good at demonstrating, you almost don’t have to look at the subtitles to understand what he’s doing.
Rick Surowizc – Excellent series on the fundamental skills and behavior of watercolor. Many demonstration paintings, done at actual speed, with narration explaining what he is doing.
Birgit O’Conner – Bold and dramatic florals, but lots of her tips and techniques apply to other subjects, too. Upbeat, encouraging instructor, and very knowledgable.
Paul Clark Watercolour – recommended by one of your fellow students
ArtistsNetwork – ArtistsNetworkTV is a paid subscription service that gives you access to hundreds of professionally-produced courses with well-known artists and many types of media. But they also have a ton of free videos on YouTube.
Independent Art Supply Stores
Independent art supply stores are a treasure for artists. Online prices might be lower, but the staff at most independent art supply stores are working artists and a wonderful source of help, advice and inspiration. Let’s support them!
I’d love to add your favorite to the list. Please contact me using the link in the footer and let me know the name, location and a word or two about what makes them special, if you want.
Wet Paint, 1684 Grand Ave., St. Paul, MN 55105, 651-698-6431, wetpaintart.com
My favorite art supply store on the planet! Huge variety of items, and an enormous selection of specialty papers from all over the world. A million enticing things you never knew existed for making all sorts of art. Lots of working artists on the staff.
If you need to find the right product to solve a creative problem, or learn the right way to use a product they carry, ask! Chances are good there is someone on duty who uses it in their own work and can answer all your questions.
If you can’t figure out what you need when ordering online, they will happily assist you over the phone. When we can spend hours and hours in a store again, this one is a great place to blow an entire day (and your budget, if you’re not careful!)
Please tell them hello from me!