I love Judith Baker Montano’s new book Free-form Embroidery (C&T Publishing, Inc 2012. ISBN 978-1-60705-572-3). It combines photos of fantastic art (see the excerpts for examples) and creative advice for interpreting designs in embroidery.
For instance, the section on ground fabric also discusses how the color affects the mood of the piece. The stitch dictionary includes ideas for thread choice and their use in landscapes. There is a long chapter about sea creatures, flowers, different types of plants – different trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, plus details about bark, colors through the year, shapes of leaves, and all sorts of suggestions for stitching. The section “Think Like A Painter” talks about design questions to consider when creating a piece, with photos of wonderful embroidered landscapes as examples. The book finishes with a walk-through of the creation of her piece Laguna Pueblo (definitely worth reading and looking at photos). So, this is not a project book, but it will give you a million great ideas for your own designs.