Recommended Reading

Recommended creative reading - art books - women artists, urban painting watercolor
Here is a list of books I’ve read and recommend. Click each title to learn more.


Find Your Artistic Voice: The Essential Guide to Working Your Creative Magic by Lisa Congdon. “An artist’s unique voice is their calling card. It’s what makes each of their works vital and particular. But developing such singular artistry requires effort and persistence. Featuring advice from Congdon herself and interviews with a roster of established artists, illustrators, and creatives, this one-of-a-kind book will show readers how to identify and nurture their own visual identity, navigate the influence of artists they admire, push through fear and insecurity, and appreciate the value of their personal journey.”

”Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age”
There are so many great lessons, and mind shifts, in Jeff Goins’s book, with examples from people as diverse as Michaelangelo, J.R. Tolkien, and Led Zeppelin. I’m truly inspired by this book. Read this uplifting description: “Today we live in a New Renaissance, an era of unprecedented opportunity in which you can share your creative work without fear of suffering or starving. Drawing lessons from the likes of Jim Henson, C. S. Lewis, Dr. Dre, and many others, bestselling author and entrepreneur Jeff Goins invites us to drop the myths, worries, and flat-out lies that have been drilled into us our entire lives and instead reveals an empowering truth: Real artists don’t starve. They THRIVE.” Order a copy here.

“A Big Important Art Book: Now with Women!”
I love how Danielle Krysa’s new book, “A Big Important Art Book: Now with Women!,” is divided into art themes and features living artists (so Danielle could ask them lots of questions), as well as deceased artists, as well as projects for the reader. Favorite quote from the introduction, “I was quite sure there were more than three women who had ever made art.” Danielle is the author of the wildly popular blog The Jealous Curator, creator of one of my favorite podcasts, Art for your Ear, and author of several other books including a favorite of mine Your Inner Critic Is a Big Jerk: And Other Truths About Being Creative.

“Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad.”
Austin Kleon’s Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad. I found myself nodding along with Austin’s creative advice, like carve out a creative space and/or time. Yup I have that. But there are other tips that made me think, “Wow I never thought about that.” I just finished it and am planning on reading it again. We all need the push to “Keep Going.” I also loved Austin’s other books: Show Your Work: 10 Ways to Share your Creativity and get Discovered and Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative.

“Working with Color: Techniques for Using Media on the Go.”
Shari Blaukopf’s “Working with Color: Techniques for Using Media on the Go.” I usually shy away from watercolor instructional books because they seem to say the same thing and are focused on the beginner. Shari’s book is more like a collection of her watercolor secrets. And I’ve wondered what her secrets were, since beginning to follow her blog “The Sketchbook” and admiring her work, back when I started blogging. Her ability to paint the colors and shades of snow has always amazed me. Her book has already motivated me to paint on the road – read about my travels and map making here.

A Glorious Freedom: Older Women Leading Extraordinary Lives
I am LOVING Lisa Congdon’s latest book. I’ve been inspired by Lisa forever. Lisa an artist, illustrator, and writer, is as a self described late bloomer who didn’t start painting until her 30s. In this book Lisa “explores the power of women over the age of forty who are thriving and living life on their own terms. Profiles, interviews, and essays from women who’ve found creative fulfillment and accomplished great things in the second half of their lives.” I was so inspired after only a few pages! Another favorite of mine written by Lisa is Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist.

Read more recommendations here: “Books for Creatives.”
19 Books for Creatives

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A Novel – Such a unique story about modern day social media and going “viral” but in the face of a world altering event. “A sweeping, cinematic tale about a young woman who becomes an overnight celebrity before realizing she’s part of something bigger, and stranger, than anyone could have possibly imagined.”

Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living – I really enjoyed this “The deeply personal story of how award-winning personal finance blogger Elizabeth Willard Thames abandoned a successful career in the city and embraced frugality to create a more meaningful, purpose-driven life, and retire to a homestead in the Vermont woods at age thirty-two with her husband and daughter.”

The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own – “Recognize the life-giving benefits of owning less. Realize how all the stuff you own is keeping you from pursuing your dreams. Craft a personal, practical approach to decluttering” your home and life

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – My book club picked this book, and at first I was groaning – I didn’t like Eleanor at all! By the end I was rooting for her with tears in my eyes. “Eleanor Oliphant struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.”

Believe It to Achieve It: Overcome Your Doubts, Let Go of the Past, and Unlock Your Full Potential – “a motivational guide to using the Psychology of Achievement to banish negative thoughts and behaviors and unlock your full potential for success”

The Art of Being Bill: Bill Murray and the Many Faces of Awesome – “a colorful collection of over 150 Bill Murray–inspired artworks. Featuring artists from all over the world, details about the inspiration for each piece, fun facts from his groundbreaking movies, and a critical appreciation of some of Murray’s landmark roles—spanning his incredible career from Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day to Lost in Translation and The Royal Tenenbaums—this is the ultimate gift book for the film buff, art lover, and Murray addict in your life.”

Whiskey in a Tea Cup – It’s like a one sided chat with Reese! “Reese Witherspoon invites you into her world, where she infuses the Southern style, parties, and traditions she loves with contemporary flair and charm.

The Ritual Bath – “Detective Peter Decker of the LAPD is stunned when he gets the report. Someone has shattered the sanctuary of a remote yeshiva community in the California hills with an unimaginable crime.”

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel “of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.”

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir “unfolds the struggles, affairs, deceptions, and triumphs of a village choir during World War II. An enchanting ensemble story that shuttles from village intrigue to romance to the heartbreaking matters of life and death, Jennifer Ryan’s debut novel thrillingly illuminates the true strength of the women on the home front in a village of indomitable spirit.”

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time – “Brian Tracy cuts to the core of what is vital to effective time management: decision, discipline, and determination. This life-changing book will ensure that you get more of your important tasks done—today!”

Read more recommendations here: “Books for Creatives.”
19 Books for Creatives

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