I thought you might like to peek inside my Amazon shopping cart and see the watercolor books I’ve been saving up for!

A good book on watercolour doesn’t just show you amazing art, and it doesn’t just demonstrate techniques. I find techniques are largely the same, the magic lies in how you use them. A really great watercolor book will inspire, not to copy the artist’s style, but to use the tools in the book to make your own work sing your song.

I compare all watercolor books to Jean Haines’ “Atmospheric Watercolors”. While her paintings are beautiful, it was the encouraging, gentle tone of the words of the book that helped me move ahead and be more confident in expressing myself in watercolour.

The next books I’d like to add to my collection are as follows:


Artful Watercolor: Learning to Use the Secrets of Light, by Lou Bonamarte:
The simple beauty of the landscape on the cover is a draw in itself, but I was ‘reeled in’ by the description that explains that beyond the techniques demonstrated, the artist explains the “why” and “when” for using them. This is something my students struggle with, and I could use help myself, even if just verbalizing the rationale of things I often do by experience and instinct.

Watercolor Without Boundaries: Exploring Ways to Have Fun With Watercolor, by Karlyn Holman:
I love the word “FUN” in this title! Learning watercolor can be frightening, paralyzing and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. While I love painting, when I’m actively learning to paint better (which is pretty much every time I paint), it can be very taxing. Taking time to “play” with watercolor is one of the best ways to learn and have fun doing so. I can’t wait to see what Holman’s suggestions for playing and experimenting are, and to try them out.

Watercolor Painting: A Comprehensive Approach to Mastering the Medium, by Tom Hoffman:
What is it about watercolor book titles that they always include a colon? This book has great reviews. I like that it includes art by many artists, including past masters such as John Singer Sargent. And because my focus these days is on the business of crafting a strong composition and mastering values, I think this book will hold just what I need.

Simplifying Design & Color for Artists: Positive Results Using Negative Painting Techniques, by Linda Kemp.
Not only is Linda Kemp a fellow Canadian (woot!), but she is also the artist whose work inspired me to be more authentic in my painting. I remember seeing her work and thinking “She paints exactly the way I thought I shouldn’t paint, because no one would understand it.” I own her other book, “Watercolor Painting Outside the Lines” and it’s another favourite.

Great watercolor books are treasures to me, and my watercolor students will tell you, I don’t loan out my favourites. I can’t wait to dive into these, and fill up my well with creative inspiration!