10 Arting Books to read/have a look at over Christmas to get arting in 2018

Arting Manifesto, photograph, 2017

Christmas as you would probably agree is one of the best times for reading. So before it finishes, why not check out these books, even if you may not have got them (there is Amazon, oh no, I did not say that! or the local library). So which books should you read/have a look at to get arting (more serously or with more fun) in the new year?

Here are my top ten

  1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I know, I know… if you are really feeling stuck and combating those inner demons and blocks this will help.
  2. How to Become an Artist by Michael Atavar if you are already taking it “seriously” and need a bit of pep talk.
  3. Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp if you need to rock your creative habits, obviously
  4. LifeLines by Dion McInnis if you need some more interesting ways to dig biographical inspiration.
  5. Foundations of Art and Design by Adrian Piper to revisit the basics of visual language, even if you are only looking at the illustrations and consider the headings of each chapter.
  6. Make Mess by Keri Smith to get a bit more playful and irreverent, any of her books, really.
  7. Women, Art and Society by Whitney Chadwick to appreciate, even if  not that perfect, gender relations in the field.
  8. The Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms by Simon Wilson and Jessica Lack to get your head around some of the art books, magazines and art gallery labels. Or approach it dada style – pick a random term and create around that.
  9. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon, check it out really really, if you have not already.
  10. 100 Artists’ Manifestos: From the Futurists to the Stuckists as selected by Alex Danchev to get inspired (or steal like an artist) to pen your own one.

These are my top ten for artists at any stage, shape or form, plus of course…read anything AND everything BY your favourite artists. No harm in that. Not necessarily ON them, but BY them, says I as an also trained art historian.

What would you add up to the list? To help your arting itch? Let me know

And if you want to take it more seriously (arting itch) with a bit of fun (a lot actually), why not join me on the #becometheartistyouare course in February or take the self-study option anytime? Let’s get arting in 2018!

Irena Ellis is an artist/educator living in London, running her own Arting online and offline workshops and art practice aimed at photography, painting and butterflies.




See you on Thursday 28th December at 6pm, right? Arting Kickstarter online class

#becometheartistyouare (1)

To book your place, email me via this link.

Get ready: pencil, piece of blank paper, phone/laptop camera.

That is all you need to start re/discovering your arting and creativity and get ready for 2018.

See you then!

Arting greetings,



Do you create your own annual pour felicite card? PF 2018!

I do. Have been for more than twenty years now.

It is mid-December so it is high time to start thinking about it.

I think this year I might use an image from 2011. It is called Everyday Courages and it is the title work of a conceptual photography series I did at Art Camp back in the day.

See, Everyday Courages were all the things that kept me going. And I captured them as to remind myself…and others.

I got to think about it as I put the image today up on Artfinder.

You can look at it here. 

Let me know how your own pour felicite card making goes!

In the meantime, everyday courages ;-).

And…if you feel your arting itch, why not join me in January for the #becometheartistyouare challenge.

I was trying to make Christmas cards…and this came out of it, anyway…

IMG_0569 (2)I still had good time with tracing paper, acrylics, felt-tip and my hands….messy time, but a good one.

The final countdown is on…2017 (no matter how artificial the calendar is…and abgesehen davon, that all is NOW, always NOW anyway, or is it?) is finishing soon. The general mood of reflection and hope in the air. Looking back and dreaming lives up again on many people’s minds.

Do you have a special way to reflect on the year just gone? I usually do so in painting, the messy way, recollecting every month and painting a single sheet of painting. Shall be posting soon.

And how about dreaming up the 2018? Let me know if you have your special way to go about it. Would love to hear from you.

In the meantime…we are the angels we have been waiting on.

Christmas cards on! Btw…if you do like this one, I can make you a print 😉 Just drop a line.