These are books that I have on my shelf–some have been there for many years, but I still find myself coming back to them*.

Bert Dobson, Keys to Drawing.
A beginner’s guide to drawing as well as a good advice for a more experienced artist. Practical drawing lessons are given.





Catherine Gill, Powerful Watercolor Landscapes
Catherine breaks down her advice into short chapters which make the advice seem reassuringly simple. Each chapter focuses on what she calls “power tools”: ideas to make paintings more interesting, beautiful and meaningful. Even though the chapters are short the book is complex and requires careful reading and lots of practice to put it all together to achieve success. The instructions are clearly illustrated by Catherine’s watercolors and watercolor/pastel paintings.
A good deal of humor has gone into writing of this book, reflecting Catherine’s teaching style.
This is not a beginner’s book. The subjects of paint, paper and brush types are not mentioned. This book goes beyond technique.

Tom Hoffman, Painting Watercolor: A Comprehensive Approach to Mastering the Medium.
There is little chance that you could ever achieve the mastery that Tom Hoffman has with watercolor. Not everyone will appreciate his extremely simplified painting style, however, his teaching, combined with his and other artists’ paintings as examples, gives the student of watercolor practical advice. Tom makes suggestions for analyzing a painting to uncover what makes it successful or in a few cases, not quite as good as it could be.
This book has none of the usual instructions for creating weathered textures or reflections in water. The goal is to instruct in creating a successful, expressive work of art, which does not require faithfulness to a subject’s physical appearance. He offers advice such as deciding in what order you will paint the layers of your painting and what might you might leave out of a painting to make it more successful. In other words, think before you paint.

Mitchell Albala, Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice.

The author paints in oil and the book’s illustrations are mainly oil paintings, the author’s others’. The principals offered in this book apply to all two dimensional art. Value, color, atmospheric perspective, composition among other topics are explained and illustrated.



*Please note: I receive a small amount of compensation for these endorsements. However, the books on this page are all hand picked and have been useful resources for me over the years.