books on flowers

Even though I am currently working in three dimensions, botanical illustration and floral still life painting are something I know I will return to one day. This feeling was reinforced during a recent visit to the de Young Museum here in San Francisco. Out of every wonderful exhibit the museum had to offer, the one that literally had my heart racing and gave me that special electric feel was the still life room. Slowly moving around the room, I stopped at every piece, quickly shooting off texts to myself of these artists: William McCloskey, Alexander Pope, Thomas Hill, William Harnett. All dead men, by the way. 

I admire the way still life uses reality to tell the story, even a story of death or decay, in such a plain and approachable way. I love it. I feel there is some connection to what I am doing now in my straight-up, no-fantasy-flowers-allowed approach to my paper flower pieces. And when I have the time and space, I want to bring the angling and arrangements found in still life painting to my three dimensional work, so that my large scale pieces are not always meant to be viewed head on.

I digress, a little. What I'm really posting today is a short list of my favorite books on flowers, some in straight botanical illustration style, some a little more fantastical and some purely graphic. Some in the form of still life, many not. I've given smaller bookstore links where I could find them. I love these books and reference them quite often. I'd love to hear what other books you can't do without, when it comes to flowers. I'm in the market for a few more, I think!

Eleanor Bourne/Alan Baker

Even after giving out several copies of floral-minded friends, I still own four copies of this book. The illustrations are wonderful. It's been easy to snap up cheap used copies online.

Maria Sibylla Merian

This was gifted to me by an ex and I've lost the beautiful jacket, but I keep it around because it is 100% gorgeous.

Pamela Robertson

A collection of many works by Scottish architect and artist Charles Rennie MacKintosh. I have always loved his style. He is like the Egon Schiele of flowers, to me.

Clarence Hylander/Edith Farrington Johnston

I found this book on the street many years ago. Although I am not into creating paper flowers with just a few petals, in general, the plates in this book are very well done and I love looking at them.

Pierre-Joseph Redouté

If you love roses and love to make roses, you have to get this one. I think we purchased this one in the de Young Museum gift shop long ago, can't remember if it was exhibit-specific. Redouté's work is fascinating to look at, and you will understand roses much more after studying this book. It's a beautiful book from Taschen.
Note: Do NOT purchase from Amazon, the price is about 14 times higher than the original selling price.

Eugene Grasset

Here you will find spot-on representations of several plants and flowers as well as images of plants used in repetitive and stylized patterns in the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau styles. The nasturtium on the front cover gets me every time. I believe my dear friend Bridget was the editor on this one. Kudos, Bridget!

Michael Petry

This book was pointed out to me by my artist friend Bob Larkin as I was working on my Dead of Winter show in January. Loads of interpretations of the destruction or death of natural elements, with many great pieces of floral art. I love this photo by David LaChapelle the most. 

Dutch Door Press

I accidentally left this book out of my opening book pile shot, but this little gem by another dear friend, Anna Branning (and edited by the above-mentioned Bridget) of the birds and blooms of the 50 states is a total gem. Illustrated in Anna's iconic and signature style, it is beautiful to look at, as well as being a great reminder of fifty flowers you may have forgotten existed. I am always trying to remind myself what other flowers are out there that I can explore, and this is a go-to book for that.

Please, what am I missing? Let me know!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...