Books About Georgiana Houghton

Georgiana Houghton, an abstract painter from the Victorian era, isn’t as famous as other artists like Wassily Kandinsky or Hilma af Klint. Still, many say she was actually the very first painter to create abstract art. These books about Georgiana Houghton explain her role in combining spiritualism and artistry to create remarkable paintings that still fascinate viewers today. Curious kids will get an inside look at her spiritual discoveries and mysteries. Plus, there are several books explaining the elements of abstract art and tracing its development through the early 1900s. And, for kids who want to create their own abstract art, we’ve included a few books with ideas for art studies and activities.

The Other Side: A Story of Women in Art and the Spirit World Jennifer Higgie

This book explores the historical role of spiritualism in art and the female artists who have created artwork in this style. The author, who is also a spiritualist, goes way back in history to look at women like 12th-century artist Hildegard of Bingen. She covers 18th-century artists like Georgiana Houghton, too. Along with art, the book also discusses significant cultural shifts and the perception of spiritualism among male artists. This book is written for an adult audience, but mature teenagers are likely to be interested in the content as well.

The Art of the Occult: A Visual Sourcebook for the Modern Mystic S. Elizabeth

Georgiana Houghton’s spiritualism is closely related to other mystical artistic movements and themes like theosophy, mythology, and automatic drawing. This book explores all of these magical and mysterious styles. Kids will see more than 175 full-color reproductions and learn about the artists who worked in these styles. Some famous artists, like Hilma af Klint and Wassily Kandinsky, are featured. There are a handful of lesser-known artists in this book too. Younger kids will enjoy paging through the artwork while teens and adults will appreciate the written analysis of each painting.

The Brilliant History of Color in Art Victoria Finlay

For Georgiana Houghton, color was symbolic. She used the power of color to convey certain meanings and emotions in her paintings. In this book, kids will see how color has been in art used throughout history. They’ll see how white is connected to the ancient Greeks and purple is attributed to Cleopatra. Each section is divided by color, and the explanations are accompanied by colorful illustrations and photographs. The text is engaging and approachable for young artists and kids who want to learn more about art. Skip around and read it section-by-section with kids ages 10+.

Secret Language of Color Joann Eckstut and Arielle Eckstut

Here’s an in-depth book about color. It goes way beyond the basics to discuss how color is viewed in human cultures, physics and chemistry, the animal world, and more. The text also discusses a few of the ways in which artists have dealt with color and used it to create mesmerizing pieces of art. Seurat’s Pointillism, Cezanne’s contrasting colors, and Rembrandt’s use of light are all included. Since each section is devoted to a specific color or field of study, the layout is easy to follow. Kids can skip around and read one concept at a time if they’d like. There are tons of visuals, too. Kids ages 10+ will enjoy paging through this one with an adult. Older kids will like to read it on their own.

Abstract Painting: The Elements of Visual Language Jane Davies

Use this book as a guide to understanding the elements at work in abstract art. It discusses line, shape, texture, color, composition, and more. It’s like an art class in a book! Kids will also get activity suggestions for practicing each element and using it in their own creations. These exercises are great for all skill levels. We recommend working through the book with kids ages 10+.

This Is Kandinsky Annabel Howard

Teens will appreciate this illustrated biography of Kandinsky, the father of abstract art. It takes a fresh approach to Kandinsky’s life and art, portraying his feelings and inspiration in an adventurous way. The text also brings in historical events, cultural trends, and tidbits from art history. Although the book is 80 pages, each spread features quite a bit of white space and bold illustrations. There are also several reproductions of Kandinsky’s artwork. Readers ages 14 and up will enjoy this pick.

Abstract Art Dietmar Elger

Abstract art was once considered a radical art form that shocked traditional artists. This book explores the early days of abstract art and discusses the techniques that made it famous. There are sections devoted to work by Kandinsky, Picasso, Klee, Pollock, and other notable artists. By paging through the book, children will get a great sense of what abstract means and why its development was so important to the art world. The wide variety of artwork is sure to engage young children. Older children and adults can take the concepts a bit deeper by going through the essays.

Hilma af Klint: Notes and Methods Edited by Christine Burgin

Kids can page through select copies of Hilma’s notebooks in this remarkable book. An English translation of her words is included. You will see her notes and drawings for “Paintings for the Temple” and notes from the “Blue Notebooks.” There’s also an extensive glossary at the end of the book. Through the pages, you will learn first-hand about Hilma’s inner thinking and process of creating art. There are many similarities between Hilma’s artistic process and Houghton’s artistic process. This book provides the opportunity for parents and preteens to study Hilma’s work together.

Tangle Art and Drawing Games for Kids: A Silly Book for Creative and Visual Thinking Jeanette Nyberg

Bring new imagination and inspiration to your family’s art activities with this book! There are 46 games and activities in this book. Each one is stress-free and lighthearted. This is an especially helpful book for kids who hate looking at a blank paper and struggle to come up with ideas. And, nearly all of the activities can be done with super-simple supplies. Use the book’s ideas for kids ages 6-12.

Dog Loves Drawing Louise Yates

This is a sweet and silly picture book about Dog. One day, he receives a sketchbook from his aunt. Through the magic of art, he enters into an entirely new world. First, he draws a door and a stickman. Then he keeps drawing to add new friends and adventures. There’s a duck, an owl, and a crab. Everybody joins in to ride on a train and sail on a boat. It’s a wonderful story that shows there’s no limit to a kid’s (or dog’s) imagination! Read it with children ages 4-8.

The Line Paula Bossio

This wordless picture book celebrates the beauty of lines, swirls, loop-de-loops, and imagination! The story begins when a girl discovers a line. As she follows it, the line becomes a slide, a monkey, a scary monster, and a friendly bear. Even without words, children will be able to see the girl’s excitement and wonder. Read this one with early elementary kids.

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