Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A History of Pictures for Children by Hockney and Gayford and The Collage Ideas Book by Alannah Moore

Both of these books are about art, one focusing on history and technique, the other a book of ideas and examples; one for children, one geared to adults but I wouldn't keep it away from the kiddos. 

I've been a fan of David Hockney's art since I saw "Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy" at the Tate Gallery in London when I was 17.  I loved it so much that I bought one of those little art cards of the painting in the museum shop and started paying attention to the artist. Of course, back then we didn't have the Internet so I only got glimpses of his work on occasion for many years, but I've always been drawn back to his work. 

So, when I saw that there was an art history book by Hockney, I grabbed it. It didn't matter to me that it's for children since my art education was pretty much cut off after elementary school and everything else I know has been learned in classes and workshops (mostly online — meaning, I don't know a lot). What I hoped for was a general overview of art with some of Hockney's work represented to show the various principles or techniques. And, that is exactly what you get in A History of Pictures for Children. It's written as a discussion between the artist and art critic Martin Gayford. It's not an in-depth look at art through the ages but a glimpse of art across time and how it has changed since our ancestors drew the first pictures in caves. It's also about some concepts artists try to portray, like shadow and light and styles like realism vs. cubism. Bonus: "Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy" is one of the Hockney paintings in the book, yay. It's still a personal favorite. 

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the concepts are shown via Hockney's own works and his descriptions of how and why he chose to create a particular work of art. Not a problem for this fangirl. A good introduction to some basics with a glossary and extensive references. 

Highly recommended - Remember, this is a children's book so it doesn't go into great depth. But, if you're a Hockney fan and/or just want yourself or your child to learn some basics about art history, this book is an entertaining read and informative but breezy, nothing taxing. I loved it. And, I did learn a few new things. A History of Pictures for Children is illustrated by Rose Blake. 

The Collage Ideas Book by Alannah Moore is a book in which an artist's work is shown on each spread with a concept that was used in the artist's work. For example, "Embellish with stitching," "Create a fantastical world," or "Be brave with color". 

OK, details. This book is very small, about 5 1/4" x 4 1/2" (this is a ballpark figure based on the proportions of the index card I plopped on top of it; I did not take measurements). It needs to be the size of a more normal book, as in 8 1/2" x 11" because the details are very, very hard to see. In some cases, several works of art by an artist are shown and the smaller images are only about 1" or 1.5" tall and similar in width. I had to pull out a magnifying glass and even then I felt like I wasn't getting a good view of the artworks. That's the bad. 

The good is everything else. I loved seeing the diversity of collage art in The Collage Ideas Book and I figure I will be looking up a lot of these artists online, so perhaps I'll be a able to enlarge their artworks and see them better in that way. Also, there are so many great methods to spark ideas. 

Highly recommended - Small as it is, The Collage Ideas Book is inspiring and, in fact, I did test that idea to look up artists online and it worked well. I looked up the cover artist, Niky Roehreke. Wow, what an explosion of color! I love her work. At any rate, the bottom line is that I'll definitely be referring back to this book repeatedly, so it was worth the money as a reference book. I guess one just has to put up with the size and enjoy the inspiration. 

©2022 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

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