Over the last few months, several posters have mentioned books that have been important to them. Karl considers Cennino Cennini to have written the best how-to book for painters. Doug gave us a report on a concise and readable book about photography by Steve Edwards. Lisa Hunter talked about her own book, “The Intrepid Art Collector,” in an interview. Rex cited in one post a motivational book for painters (the correct title is “How to Make a Living as a Painter,” by Kenneth Harris). David, in a comment, recommended “Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin.”

What is your favorite art book?

Photograph by Ted OrlandOne of my mine, I just discovered, has popped up in comments a couple of times: Art and Fear, by David Bayles and Ted Orland (that’s Orland’s “One and a Half Domes, Yosemite” at left). As it happens, they are both photographers, but the book is not at all confined to photography or even visual art. As you might guess from the title, it’s a frank discussion of issues that are faced by artists that relate to making public creative work that can be very personal. Even if you’ve never been the slightest bit nervous about putting your work out there, I still think the book is helpful as an unusually readable treatment of what artists do and how they do it. It will help you think about your own process. Just read it.

Over to you: help me add to the list!