Beyond the art, fashion and design books with beautiful images I lust over, and the instruction, technique and how to books I’ve learnt so much from, there are other books that have been very beneficial in my art practice.
Here are a few of my favourites, the ones I want to read again and again. I go to these when I get stuck, wonder what on earth I am doing, or lose purpose in my work:-
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
by Austin Kleon 2012
A very easy read, simple steps to getting started and keeping on going. I follow his weekly newsletter, it’s full of great links to all sorts of creative stuff and takes me in directions I wouldn’t otherwise find. Many that I have shared on this blog.
“Ask anybody doing truly creative work, and they’ll tell you the truth: They don’t know where the good stuff comes from. They just show up to do their thing. Every day.”
Art and Fear, Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
by David Bayles and Ted Orlando 1993
The classic book that you see so many quotes from and makes you go yes, yes…yes!
“The seed for your next art work likes embedded in the imperfections of your current piece. Such imperfections. . . are your guides to matters you need to reconsider or develop further. It is precisely this interaction between the ideal and the real that locks your art into the real world, and gives meaning to both.”
“Artmaking involves skills that can be learned. . . In large measure becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive. . . Even talent is rarely distinguishable, over the long run, from perseverance and lots of hard work.”
Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert 2015
I never would have considered this book, as I’m not a fan of Eat Pray Love. Only on the recommendation from a friend who opinion I value did I borrow it from the library. It’s good – I went and bought my own copy. Chapters on Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence…
The Shape of Design by Frank Chimero 2012
Following a link for Austin Kleon’s newsletter I found Frank’s website and this book. You can read it online which I did and then bought my own copy
Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff 2017
Another Austin Kleon link. Lots of great counterintuitive strategies for getting things done. Releasing perfectionism, taking the pressure off and having fun!
“Accomplishing a goal is a lot less like taking a train across country and a lot more like driving a bumper car.”
I re-read some of these over the Christmas break, not because I felt stuck, but simply because I had a gap between finishing my WAM garment and starting a whole new body of work in 2018. New theme, new directions and lots of unknowns. From these books I know that if I start, then keep going, and explore, question and stay open for possibilities along the way, it will work out…with lots of hard work…and NOT necessarily as I had planned 🙂
I set a self imposed Studio ban from the week before Christmas until last week. I prepared for Christmas in one week without too much stress and then planned to relax for the Boxing Day Cricket Test. A day of so in, after much napping, I was bored…so, I’ve read a few books, sewn some clothes and cleaned out lots of cupboards. (The lady at the op shop sighed when I said “I have a car full of donations”… obviously not an original idea at this time of year!)
At the beginning of a new year, like many of us, I ponder what might have been and make big plans and goals for the new year ahead. I’ve followed Alyson Standfield’s Annual Review Process for the past few years as I find it has really helpful prompts to make me consider all aspects of my art practice. This year I decided to follow Austin Kleon’s 100 things that made my year style of listing all the funny, incidental and delightful stuff, the odd discoveries and the simple pleasures we sometimes take for granted and forget. Combining the two reviews I have created a more balanced and joyful look at my year.
Here are a couple of my 100 things from the end of the year:-
This year has gone by so fast. However, it’s not over yet and there are lots of great things happening (AND lots of sewing still to do) in spite of the fact that all the shops/media want us to do is count down to Christmas…and panic!
Two great events are happening this weekend.
Firstly, my friend Liz Arnold has her solo exhibition Reef – A Fine Line opening this weekend. Come and see some of her beautiful intricate pen drawings based on the fragile coral reefs.
It’s on at The Basement Gallery Hay St Subiaco 10 – 25 November
Also on this weekend is Open House Perth 11 – 12 November. This fabulous two day event allows the sticky beak in you to see the city’s historical gems and and nosy around some really interesting new design. I attended this event last year and blogged about it.