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Artists' Journals & Sketchbooks - Exploring and Creating Personal Pages
by Lynne Perrella
Being a timid soul fearful of what I will see and what others will find out about me when I attempt any art has narrowed my expression - until I read this book. Pages of journaling using fabric, paint, rubber stamps, found objects, and so on are delightfully displayed through Lynn's book. There are also many contributing artists who carefully explain their thinking and individual techniques for making delicious pages of beautiful personal art. I now carry this book with me everywhere I go and dip into it for refreshment and courage to try new stuff.

Review by Adrian Kronberg.

Art Is a Way of Knowing
by Pat B. Allen
This book helped me begin my journey in art-making and proved to be a soothing, knowledgable friend to have along. It shined a light onto the unknown path of the art process as well as giving me concrete, practical steps in finding a space, working with materials and project suggestions. Sections on painting, drawing and color are less art theory and more about the meaning in the process and how to gently get to know your self through the materials.
Review by Susan Gallacher-Turner

Spirit Taking Form: Making a Spiritual Practice of Making Art
by Nancy Azara
Nancy Azara has created a tremendous resource that presents art, visualization, meditation and exploration with a compassionate creative spirit. Again and again, I return to its pages for its art and soul, its gentle foundation and gentle understanding of the spiritual process of making art. Whether you follow the book week by week or simply dip into its wealth of ideas and inspiration, this will surely hold an important place on your bookshelf.
Review by Melissa Chapin

Painting from the Inside Out: 19 Projects and Exercises to Free Your Creative Spirit
by Betsy Dillard Stroud
For years I wanted to learn watercolors but was scared off by books rife with specific techniques and step by step admonitions about precision. Painting from the Inside Out is different. It's a joyous celebration of watercolor, an unleashed exploration of the bouquet of potential with this lively media that's bound to inspire abstract and realistic artists, whether just beginning or advanced. Enjoy free-spirited exercises, technique-building how-to's, lively sections on mixed media, design, texture, improvisation, and much more. This wonderful volume is invaluable for the individual artist or for art workshop facilitators looking for new ideas and inspirations!
Review by Melissa Chapin

Watercolor for the Artistically Undiscovered
by Thatcher Hurd & John Cassidy
Now you might have passed this one thinking it was too simple, too silly, too...??? But I got it a few years ago as a gift and it's truly a wonderful, FUN way to begin working with watercolors or jiggle a lighthearted painting adventure. Playful page-by-page exercises teach basic techniques and encourage you to explore this terrific medium. Besides it's self contained and you get to paint right in the book? What's better than that?
Review by Melissa Chapin

Vintage Greeting Cards
by Mary Jo McGraw
If you love aging, antiquing, taking what's new or even what's old and putting a spin on it, this book is so fabulous! Sophisticated, yet simple, step-by-step photographs to show you how to age and create cards with the vintage style. From shoe polish overlay to Faux Fresco, Mary Jo covers it all!
Review by Lea Cioci CPD CPT

Artists Journals and Sketchbooks
by Lynne Perrella
I love this book, so rich in color and inspiration and ideas, and chock full of creative artist examples. Lynne shows you several examples for using paint, slide mounts, collage, and more. So delicious and yummy to look at, this is a must-have tool for all who dabble in the arts!
Review by Lea Cioci CPD CPT

The Best Contemporary Quilts: Quilt National
by Lark Books
Quilt National is a juried art quilt show that takes place every other year. They put out a beeeoootiful book for every exhibit and I always hope someone will give it to me for Christmas. Every time I look through it I notice something different and I think "I should try that!" It is wonderfully photographed and you can practically see every little stitch, bead, and hand-dyed embellishment. I also enjoy reading the judges' statements about how they chose the quilts.
Review by Deborah Boschert

by Seena Frost
This is an inspirational as well as functional book. The idea is to uncover hidden aspects of yourself through collaging 5 x 7 in. cards. The book suggests a deck containing suits such as committee and community, and a source card. I found it very revealing to look at the cards a few days after making them. The book contains lots of beautiful examples of cards. A very fun way to do some "deep, soul" work.
Review by Zura Ledbetter

Urgent 2nd Class
by Nick Bantock
I just finished reading this, Nick Bantock's newest book, for the second time. The subtitle "Creating Curious Collage, Dubious Documents, and other art from Ephemera" will literally suck you in and make you say, "I have to have it!" I would suggest ordering it online and saving a few bucks. The local bookstore had it for approximately $6 more than Amazon/Borders online. If you are hoping for a "how-to" book, you will be disappointed. Nick doesn't seem to want to take the time to go into all the details of his artistic process, but the book does show 200 different pieces of artwork and give some great hints about altering and embellishing old docs, maps, postcards, pictures, books, and more.
Review by Ron Huxley

True Colors: A Palette of Collaborative Art Journals
by Kathryn Bold
This book is a great place to go for inspiration for your art journals. Using a wide variety of color themes, this book has page after page of inspiring work from 15 collaborative artists. It will take you a long time to absorb all the images and you will find new ideas each time you open the book.
Review by Vickie Enkoff

Elegant Stitches: An Illustrated Stitch Guide and Source Book of Inspiration
by Judith Baker Montano
If you want to learn crazy quilting and decorative stitches, this is the book to get! It has color samples and clear illustrations of how to do designs. You will be inspired! Montano also wrote The Crazy Quilt Handbook.
Review by Vickie Enkoff

How to Be Creative If You Never Thought You Could
by Tera Leigh
This is a project book with a lesson in creativity in every chapter. She gives alternative ways to finish each project and encourages experimentation. Tera has two other books and is a creativity coach. She also publishes Tera's Wish -- an email newsletter on creativity. She has helped so many people in different areas of her life. You will definitely get some new ideas out of this book!

Review by Vickie Enkoff

The Altered Books Workshop: 18 creative techniques for creative expression
by Bev Brazelton
First, I have to confess: I am a book junkie. I have to get every new book that pertains to stamping, paper art, bookbinding, and anything else I am interested in. My reasoning for confessing is that I truly didn't think this book could teach me anything I didn't already know, or hadn't seen elsewhere. I was happily surprised at all the new techniques I learned in this book and I love the way Ms. Brazelton writes: as if she were talking to you. In addition to the easy-to-understand directions, she has these little tip
boxes throughout the book to help you even more. Even the Basics Section inspired me! I found the Variations Sections that she had after each technique especially helpful. For example, in the chapter "Adding Inserts", after explaining one specific insert using one book, she has pictures of other books with different inserts added and explains briefly how they were done. Finally, to top it all off, the book is chock full of colorful examples that match the lively tone of her writing perfectly. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in altered books regardless of your skill level.

Review by Christi Conley

Life, Paint and Passion
by Michele Cassou and Stewart Cubley
This book centers around the idea of art as spontaneous expression, and it really opened up my mind to accepting my own untrained artsy experiments as being "real art". The new confidence I got from this book propelled me to take more artistic risks and dive further into my potential as an artist. It's an easy book to read with lots of great color illustrations.
Review by Marney Makridakis

Drawing as a Sacred Activity
by Heather C. Williams
I'm working through this book now, and finding it a very non-threatening way to become more comfortable with drawing. The exercises are aimed toward exploring feelings and consciousness, but there is also a lot of help and encouragement for improving one's "eye" and skill, as well.
Review by Marney Makridakis

Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing
by Frederick Franck
This is another wonderful book on seeing and drawing. Through essays and drawing exercises, Franck teaches us that drawing is a way to see, and not the other way around. His meditative drawings are, in and of themselves, as inspiring as his message.
Review by Marney Makridakis

Collage Discovery Workshop
by Claudine Hellmuth
Hellmuth's book is great fun, and it is FULL of information and techniques for adding special effects to collages. The first part of the book presents step-by-step instructions for various effects. The second part of the book is quite unique, offering readers the chance to really learn the techniques by "working with" Hellmuth as she creates collages, hearing her thoughts as she makes decisions about composition, color, techniques, and so on. The photography of her work is to die for, and the step-by-step photos are excellent.
Review by Marney Makridakis

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