Archive for the ‘Books on Art’ Category

5 Essential Books to Explore Pierre-Auguste Renoir and his Impressionist Art Style

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

One of the most celebrated painters of Impressionist era, Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born on February 25, 1841, in Limoges, France. A leading painter in the development of an artistic movement called Impressionism in 1870s, he painted every day for 60 years –that’s over 5,000 paintings. Today, on his 172nd birth anniversary, let’s know more about this archetypal artist and his impressionist artworks.

Of all the Impressionist artists, only Pierre Auguste Renoir earned distinction as a professional portrait painter. For more than fifty years Renoir explored the genre of portraiture, experimenting and pressing forward in his determination to become, as he explained to Monet in 1884, “a painter of figures”.

Renoir is now universally acclaimed as museums pride themselves on his paintings and crowds flock to his retrospectives. His work shows art at its most light-hearted, sensual and luminous. Renoir never wanted anything ugly in his paintings, nor any dramatic action. “I like pictures which make me want to wander through them when it’s a landscape”, he said, “or pass my hand over breast or back if it’s a woman”. Renoir’s entire oeuvre is dominated by the depiction of women. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that “Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to Watteau.” To know more about him as a painter and his painting nuances, you may read Peter H Feist’s groundbreaking biographical epic Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1841-1919: A Dream of Harmony.

Likewise, author Barbara Ehrlich White wrote an investigative book on Renoir’s life and remarkable works: Renoir: His Life, Art, and Letters“. For twenty years, White has devoted much of her life to searching out unpublished letters, drawings and documents that reveal Renoir’s life as an artist and as a man. With 400 illustrations including 125 in color, this book further includes seldom reproduced works of Renoir, as well as some intimate photos of family and homes. This book would come out as an useful resource for the painting scholars.

If you are interested in having sumptuous feast for your eyes, you may check out the book, Renoir: A Master of Impressionism compiled by Gerhard Gruitrooy. A handsomely illustrated volume, it offers insight into the live and works of Renoir. And, the thing that makes the book unique is that every painting is shown in rich colors in a section taking up half the book. From aw-inspiring landscapes and portraiture to outdoor paintings and depictions of bathers, this volume offers an intimate view of the artist and his work.

Young readers will obtain a light-hearted, yet realistic overview of Renoir’s life through the kid’s special book, Pierre Auguste Renoir (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists), and will get to know how his style changed over the years. This introductory guide includes full color pictures of Renoir and his acclaimed paintings.

There is another handy book on Renoir for children: Smart About Art, Pierre-Auguste Renoir Paintings That Smile that reflects the same joie de vivre expressed in Renoir’s works on every page through colorful, dynamic illustrations and 17 reproductions. With humor and insight, this title takes young minds through the life of an artist who at first was so unpopular that his paintings were attacked with umbrellas. Written as if it were a child’s own class report, this book is sure to draw new young fans to Renoir’s paintings.

Some of the widely acclaimed Impressionist works of Renoir are:


"Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette"

Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (Bal du moulin de la Galette), 1876, Pierre-Auguste Renoir

"The Theater Box"

The Theater Box, 1874 by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Courtauld Institute Galleries, London

"Girls at the Piano"

Girls at the Piano, 1892, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

"On the Terrace"

On the Terrace, oil on canvas, 1881, Art Institute of Chicago


5 Essential Books on Interior Designing to Make Your Home Chic

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

This festive season bring your home the most creative décor with the ideas from some highly imaginative minds of the world. Presented below 5 selected yet popular Books on Interior Designing that are compiled by some established interior designers of the world. With these books, you would no more need to hire a personal guru to enhance the interior of your place, rather you’d make your next big change on your own as the books offer enough of inspiration for it. Let’s glance through the titles:

Domino: The Book of Decorating - A room-by-room guide to create a home that makes you happy. This book cracks the code for creating a beautiful home, bringing together inspiring rooms, how-to advice and insiders’ secrets from today’s premier tastemakers in an indispensable style manual. The editors take readers room by room, tapping the best ideas from domino magazine and culling insights from their own experiences. With an eye on making designs accessible and exciting, this book demystifies the decorating process as well as provides the tools for making spaces that are personal, functional and fabulous.

The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well – Over the years, founding editor in chief of domino magazine Deborah Needleman has seen all kinds of rooms, with all kinds of furnishings. Her conclusion: It’s not hard to create a relaxed, stylish, and comfortable home. Just a few well-considered items can completely change the feel of your space, and this is the book by her that reveals them all. Ranging from classics such as “A Really Good Sofa” and “Pretty Table Settings” to unusual surprises like “A Bit of Quirk” and “Cozifications,” this book will come out as an essential resource for all types of budget — limited to flexible.

Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room in Your HomeFor those looking to make the most of their home by creating stylish interiors, this is the start-to-finish resource to keep on the bookshelf for years to come. In this groundbreaking book, the world’s top designers and leading décor experts including Kelly Wearstler, Amy Butler, Jonathan Adler, and many others come together to share over 1,000 professional tips, ideas, and solutions for every room and every budget. Written and compiled by Holly Becker, founder of the highly popular design blog Decor8, and Joanna Copestick, an acclaimed lifestyle writer, this comprehensive home décor program combines beautiful inspiration with nuts-and-bolts how-to features in order to bring up the stunning results.

Design*Sponge at Home – Design*Sponge is one of the most popular design site on the web that attracts around 75,000 unique daily visitors on it. The site receives 250,000 page views every day and has 150,000 RSS subscribers and 280,000 followers on Twitter. For a long time, Design*Sponge fans have been yearning for the ultimate design manual from their guru, Grace, and now, she has finally rendered them with this definitive guide, which includes: home tours of 70 real-life interiors featuring artists and designers; fifty DIY projects, with detailed instructions for personalizing your space; step-by-step tutorials on everything from stripping and painting furniture to hanging wallpaper and doing your own upholstery; and some essential tips on modern flower arrangements with 20 styles.

Black and White (and a Bit in Between): Timeless Interiors, Dramatic Accents, and Stylish Collections – Black and white décor is at once dramatic and understated, modern and classic, as apparent in the work of iconic designers such as Dorothy Draper and Madeleine Castaing but just as present in design today. In this unique book, acclaimed interior designer Celerie Kemble trades in her signature vivid palette for this iconic aesthetic, highlighting the black and white work of design stars and peers, and welcoming you into more than 100 spaces in every imaginable aesthetic. Woven throughout are her witty observations and expert advice on choosing the best paints and finishes, adding patterns and accessories, building an entire room scheme based on inspiration found in nature, collecting black and white objects, and even choosing the perfect accent colors.

Books on Different Dance Forms: Theory Before Practical

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

As dancing always takes place within specific historical and cultural milieu, different countries have their own dancing styles. Within a country exist multiple community having their own culture and form of dancing.  So, there are wide variety of dance forms being performed in different parts of the world.

Since it is wise practice to go for a practical session with a theory book in order to ensure accuracy, a dancer should go through some well-written dance book(s)before gliding through the dance floor. Hence, today’s post is dedicated to the theorization of the different dance forms.

If we go on touching all the dance styles existing across the world, this post will take days and innumerous pages to be completed. And, subsequently, will become a boring read.  Therefore, we’ve assembled below a small list of Dance Books, covering dance forms popular in the U.S. only.

Make your life as well as bookshelf livelier with the following Books on different Dance Forms well-practised and popular across the world.

Ballroom Dance

Ballroom dance is a set of partner dances, which originated in the western world, and are enjoyed both socially and competitively throughout the world. One of the most entertaining and elite styles of dancing, ballroom dance is widely enjoyed on stage, film, and television. This dance form is classified into variety of dancing styles based on different techniques that have been developed especially in America.

The two main classification of ballroom dancing are international standard and international Latin. The former category includes popular styles like Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Swing and Quickstep. Further, Samba, Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive are the dances that falls in the former category.

Books that can help you learn your favorite style of Ballroom Dance are:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Ballroom Dancing – Whatever be your ballroom dancing style, this book must come out to be of great help for you. Covering all the common ballroom dance forms, this comprehensive volume contains step-by-step photos, footwork illustrations, and fully written instructions to guide you. It comes with a 90-minute instructional DVD featuring award-winning dancer and dance instructor Jeff Allen. It corresponds with the text seamlessly, giving readers the next best thing to one-on-one instruction, at a fraction of the cost.

Gotta Ballroom – This is your guide to dancing the waltz, tango, foxtrot, and Viennese waltz. Master instructors and professional dancers Christine Zona and Chris George describe and demonstrate every movement, providing you with the skills you need to glide across the dance floor like a pro. Comes with a 64-minute DVD, this book provides specific instruction for social success with the four most popular American style ballroom dance styles. It gives details of the basic footwork, body positioning, timing, styling, transitions.

Latin Dance (The American Dance Floor) – Latin dance styles are among the most popular dance forms in America as they have had a widespread influence upon the development of other social dance styles in the United States.

This is the book that addresses every major style of Latin dance such as Salsa, Samba, Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive. Describing the basic steps that characterize these dance forms, the author explains the range of styles and expression to be found in Latin dances primarily within the context of couples social dancing, the popularity of salsa today, and the broader social meanings and implications of their multicultural origins from the 1600s to the present.

Ballet Dance

Ballet was first originated as a performance dance in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. It is a highly technical form of dance with its own vocabulary. The most formal style of ballet is classical Ballet. This one of the most beautiful dance form can be best conceived through the following book:

The Ballet Companion: A Dancer’s Guide to the Technique, Traditions, and Joys of Ballet –  A fresh, comprehensive, and thoroughly up-to-date reference book for the Ballet dancers, this book offers practical advice for getting started, such as selecting a school, making the most of class, and studio etiquette. With 150 stunning photographs of ballet stars Maria Riccetto and Benjamin Millepied demonstrating perfect execution of positions and steps, this elegant volume brims with everything today’s dance student needs: explanations of ballet fundamentals and major training systems; an illustrated guidance for warm-up, barre, and center floor; guidelines for safe, healthy dancing through a sensible diet, injury prevention, and cross-training with yoga and Pilates.

Hip Hop Dancing

Rapping. Breakdancing. MCing. DJing. Beatboxing. Graffiti art. These are some of the most well-known artistic expressions spawned from hip hop culture, which has grown from an isolated inner-city subculture in the 1970s that later become a truly international and mainstream culture. This funky dance form has expanded its root in countries like Japan, France, Israel, Poland, Brazil, South Korea, and England. The most popular Hip Hop Dancing styles are: The Chicken Head, Flapping Your Wings, The Get Me Bodied Break Down, The Booty Bounce, Getting Light, etc. The following book would help you reaching at the core of this bouncing dance form.  

Hip Hop Dance (The American Dance Floor) – This insightful book provides not only an overview of hip hop’s distinctive dance style and steps, but also a historic overview of hip hop’s roots as an urban expression of being left out of the mainstream pop culture, clarifying the social context of hip hop culture before it became a widespread suburban phenomenon. This book documents all the forms of street music that led to one of the most groundbreaking, expressive, and influential dance styles ever created.

Tap Dancing

Sprouted from African-American dancing, Tap dance is a form of dance characterized by using the sound of one’s tap shoes hitting the floor as a percussive instrument. As such, it is also commonly considered to be a form of music. Two major variations on tap dance exist: rhythm (Jazz) tap and Broadway tap. The former focuses more on the dance and is widely performed as a part of musical theater. Whereas the latter concentrates more on musicality and considered to be a part of the Jazz tradition. The book that gives you better expressions of this highly entertaining dancing is:

The Souls of Your Feet: A Tap Dance Guidebook for Rhythm Explorers – A comprehensive guide to the art and language of tap dance, this volume shows the beginning dancer how to build a strong foundation in this wonderful American dance form. Complete with basic technique and creative variations, it reveals the choreographic and improvisational creativity of the experienced tap dancers such as Charles “Honi” Coles, Brenda Bufalino, Jimmy Slyde, Sarah Petonio, Savion Glover and many others. Further, it covers some traditional tap dance figures and choruses like The B.S. Chorus and The Shim Sham Shimmy for professional dancers.

To browse through a pile of Dance Books,  click here.

5 Architecture Books to Make Your Place Beautiful

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

For all those who appreciate beautifully designed and constructed buildings and love flipping through the pages of books watching amazingly designed buildings or those who need some fresh ideas to apply in the erection of their workplaces or homes, we have compiled a list of some randomly selected Books on Architecture. Besides, there are large number of architects, researchers and students of architecture who learn and take inspirations from the beautifully illustrated books on art and architecture; so the following list of Architecture Books would also come out to be a great source for them. Take a look:

The Art of Construction: Projects and Principles for Beginning Engineers & Architects - Students discover the basic principles necessary to build all types of structures used in everyday life including bridges, skyscrapers, and other architectural gems. In this book given line art illustrations to better explain projects that demonstrate how these principles keep structures solid. Perfect for beginners, this volume details projects that are easily done with materials found around-the-house.

Architecture: Form, Space, & Order – For more than thirty years, the beautifully illustrated Architecture: Form, Space, and Order has been the classic introduction to the basic vocabulary of architectural design. Now, this classic third edition of visual reference helps both students and practicing architects understand the basic vocabulary of architectural design by examining how form and space are ordered in the built environment. Using his trademark meticulous drawing, Professor Francis D. K. Ching shows the relationship between fundamental elements of architecture through the ages and across cultural boundaries.

Modern ArchitectureAlan Colquhoun, an eminent scholar in the field of architecture, offers here a new account of international modernism that explores the complex motivations behind this revolutionary movement (modern architecture) and assesses its triumphs and failures. The book focuses on the work of the main architects of the movement such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Adolf Loos, Le Corbusier, and Mies van der Rohe, re-examining their work and shedding new light on their roles as acknowledged masters.

World Architecture: The MasterworksWill Pryce unveils a world of beauty and genius in this unparalleled, specially photographed survey of the world’s architectural master- pieces. More than 350 color photographs celebrate the finest buildings from over two thousand years of civilization: Hagia Sophia, the Gothic cathedrals of Europe, Islamic masterworks at Isfahan, the Taj Mahal, the Palace of Westminster, Gehry’s iconic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and much more.

A World History of Architecture – A magnificently illustrated guide to the global history of architecture updated to include the non-western world and works from women. This second edition gives you a deeper knowledge and wider perspective of traditions in architecture throughout the world — from prehistoric through modern structures. Extensively and beautifully illustrated, the book includes photos, plans, scales for world-famous structures such as the Parthenon, Versailles, the Brooklyn Bridge, and many others.

Click here to browse through a huge collection of Architecture Books.

Books on Painting Styles: Play With Paint

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

Learn about various popular styles and types of painting viz. Watercolor Painting, Acrylic Painting, Oil Painting, Silk Painting, Decorative Painting, Face Painting and Glass Painting. Here, in this post, we have compiled a list of Books on Different Painting Styles that will help you being creative, even if you’ve never picked up a paintbrush before, and let you realize how creative you can be. Also, you can gift these books to a friend or any beloved one who is born creative, and let him/her to grow more artistic.

Watercolor Painting

How to Make a Watercolor Paint Itself: Experimental Techniques for Achieving Realistic EffectsAward-winning artist Nita Engle‘s breakthrough approach to watercolor shows readers how to combine spontaneity and control to produce glowing, realistic paintings. Her method begins with action-filled exercises that demonstrate how to play with paint, following no rules. Subsequent step-by-step projects add planning to the mix, demonstrating how to turn loose washes into light-filled watercolors with textural effects achieved by spraying, sprinkling, pouring, squirting, or stamping paint.

Acrylic Painting

Acrylic Revolution: New Tricks and Techniques for Working with the World’s Most Versatile Medium - This is an all-in-one guide for acrylic painting techniques and more. It features over 101 ways to break through the boundaries of conventional painting and re-define the creative potential of this all-purpose medium. Every page provides insight on how to use acrylic paint in ways you never thought possible to create stunning visual effects and textures. To give you additional insight and inspiration, this book features a gallery of finished works by fellow painting revolutionaries that blend various acrylic techniques to create amazing effects.

Oil Painting

The Oil Painting Course You’ve Always Wanted: Guided Lessons for Beginners and ExperiencedOffered in this book, everything you always wanted to know about oil painting, but were afraid to ask or maybe you weren’t afraid but just didn’t know what to ask or where to start.  Author Kathleen Staiger presents crystal clear, step-by-step lessons that build to reinforce learning. Brush control, creating the illusion of three dimensions, foolproof color mixing, still-life painting, landscapes, and portraits; every topic is covered in clear text, diagrams, illustrations, exercises, and demonstrations. Staiger has taught oil painting for more than thirty-five years; many of her students are now exhibiting and selling their paintings.

Silk Painting

Beginner’s Guide to Silk Painting – Twelve innovative step-by-step projects illustrate clearly Mandy Southan‘s fresh and original approach to silk painting—perfect for the complete beginner as well as experienced crafters who want to learn new techniques. The best part of this book is that for each project Mandy provides a picture of the finished piece, a drawing of the design, a materials list and pictures for each painting step to offer clear understanding.

Decorative Painting

Decorative Paint and Faux Finishes – Decorative painting is a wide class that encompasses a number of painting techniques and mediums applied to a variety of surfaces. It includes tole painting, folk art, and faux finishing.

This comprehensive decorative painting guide provides instruction on thirty decorative paint techniques with step-by-step photography and color combining recommendations. It includes newer techniques as well as tried-and-true favorites that will inspire novice and experienced painters alike. Loaded with ready-made color combinations, tips on choosing the right painting effects, advice from the pros, and information on specialty tools, this incredible book has tons of photos to get your creative juices flowing, and confidence-building instructions on techniques and materials to see you through to the successful completion of your masterpiece.

Face Painting

Face Painting (Klutz Kit) – This is the best face painting book ever. A fully photographic how-to about kids’ face painting, wire-o bound for lay-flat utility. Includes detailed directions for simple sponge and brush techniques and tear-out cheat sheets to make painting birthday parties easier than ever. This book comes with face paints from Wolfe Brothers — they go on smoothly, dry quickly, last beautifully, and wash off easily, with bold, bright colors that have to be seen to be believed. Also attached a six color palette of face paints, a brush, a sponge, and 12 tear-out, take-along design cards.

 Glass & Ceramic Painting

Gorgeous Glass: 20 Sparkling Ideas For Painting On Glass & China – Painting on glass and china is fun, easy and a creative way to bring the latest designer looks to your home as well as to make great gifts for your friends. Expert artist Arlene S Gillen shows step by step how to paint designer-quality table settings, wedding gifts and home decor. In this book, readers will find dozens of great ideas and designs from simple to sophisticated and classic to contemporary and natural. Also, this book guides on how to use traditional decorative brushstrokes to paint more than forty floral patterns and decorative design motifs, from a simple leaf and vine pattern to luscious berry-trimmed dessert bowls and much more.

Click here to browse through a wide range of Painting Books.

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