Saturday, August 14, 2010


In preparation for presenting my Beginning Portrait Watercolor Workshop on Monday, I am getting all my materials together.  I thought some of you might be interested in some of the books I use and share during this workshop.  I find books invaluable as resource information and inspiration.  My favorite book that I share for porrait composition is by Alex Powers Painting People in Watercolor: A Design Approach (Practical Art Books).  This book is out of print but still available.  My copy is highlighted, underlined, flagged and dogeared.  A wonderful book I discovered about a year ago is called Face Parts Face Parts by Simon Jennings.  This book is very thorough on all aspects of drawing and painting the face without emphasising a particular style or way of painting.  I find this important because we all need to find our own voice in painting style but understanding the structure of the face is crucial to being able to produce a convincing portrait.
Companion books in this series is Body Parts Body Parts: A Practical Guide for Artists by Simon Jennings .  This book has a great section on hands which often need addressing when doing a portrait.  In fact, my whole self portrait series actually started while I was developing images for students that included head and hands.  A topic I teach on in the Advanced Portrait Workshop.

The final book I wanted to share is a an amazing book I stumbled upon in the Denver airport in a wonderful gift shop.  Heads Heads by Alex Kayser is a book of 184 heads of men and women....all of them in the exact same pose and format and all of them are bald.  It shows how alike but different each of us are.  I have never seen this book anywhere else.

Many of you have been kind enough to express interest in taking a workshop from me if I was in your area.  You can make that happen!  Many of my teaching engagements have come about because someone recommended me to their local art association that sponsors workshops.  In fact, a group of friends can get together and hire me.  I appreciate your enthusiasm for my work and look forward to working with all of you who are interested.  You can contact me at


Vicki Holdwick said...

Thanks so much for the book recommendations. I just put all three of them on hold through the Michigan Library system.

Can't wait to see pix from your workshop. Wish I lived where you are; I'd sign up for it without hesitation.


Andrea said...

Can't wait to start your class tomorrow. Been looking forward to this for months!

David Lobenberg said...

I bet my copy of Power's book is as dogged and underscored as yours. Seeya tomorrow!

Paula Cravens said...

Thanks for the book reviews Myrna. The Powers Book is just what I needed to read right now and I have requested the body parts books through the library.

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