Scott Burdick's got a video slideshow on YouTube called "The Banishment of Beauty" defending representational art. I'd agree with his basic premise that a lot of "modern" art is destined to the footnotes of history. It's interesting to wonder what will be retained - might be a surprise (for both camps?! The video slideshow is worth watchinng just for the absolutely stunning succession of paintings by varied artists it shows. Wonderful. Wonderful! - and hats off to him too, he's even better than I thought!!!!
For books and videos (art instruction), the ones I've like best are the following (there's 3 price categories for this sort of books: cheap/free -available on internet; normal sort of artbook price; ridiculously expensive because out-of-print, rare and sought after - I don't recommend the latter!)
The best book, for me, is Richard Schmid's "Alla Prima - everything I know about painting" - it's a wonderful book and easy to read with clear expression and lovely humour - and essential (you can get it soft bound for a very reasonable price from his website - 50 bucks). The Andrew Loomis books "Eye of the painter, "Creative illustration" are great too - they are out of print but can be downloaded here (worth printing out they are). A number of books by earlier artists (Birge Harrison, John Collier, etc. can be downloaded like this - you probably need to have some familiarity with basic concepts (seeing, values, etc.) before you can get anything out of them. There are others! - later. There are also some really good (understatement of the year) websites - try reading Gruney Journey by the grouped topics in the sidebar! Bruce Macevoy's Handprint site for the technically minded/geeks. Do not start reading Stapleton Kearn's blogs back entries - your neighbours will be knocking on the door to see if you're dead. Illustration Art - the back entries are an education and very human.
I've not got so many videos, there are two of Richard Schmid's (again!) I really like "November" and "June" (out of the four I have - "May" and "White Pine" being the other two - they're nice but have less info). more later. Watching videos, especially on drawing showed me that one thing you need is patience (I don't have any) - you're going to need to spend hours being careful and concentrating(= working!) to get good drawings - videos really demonstrate this slow, cereful, painstaking build-up, arrggghh; I"m so impatient. There's lots of good videos on the net too - YouTube, various artists - more later - it really isn't at all necessary to spend cash - I've spent a fair amount and don't regret it - but don't make the mistake of thinking that beaause it"s rare/unobtainable/expensive it'll have the SECRET you need. It won't. Believe me, keep your cash, it won't.