I have always enjoyed the art history books as any artist does and while in college there was no way around it. Now, out of college and creating our own art work, we artists use those art books more for inspirations or references. However, I remember toward the end of my senior year I was starting to burn out and even caught myself burning out earlier this year. A time, where nothing was working, no thoughts, no ideas, no strength, no ambition, lots of anxiety, etc. I don’t know about you, but it’s my drug, it’s my escape, keeps me leveled, and creative/thinking.
Well, I have found two books that are my life line to keep going with my art. To be encouraged to not give up and to be ok on down times. First book was advised from a college friend (Leslie) when discussing being burned out our senior year. A must read I tell you! The name of book is “Art and Fear” by David Bayles and Ted Orland. This is a book about two artists, who are the authors, which share their insights of becoming an artist that is fearless. Also, this book is really good on expressing yourself through your art work and to have that unique style. One thing that is for sure is that I am still a growing painter, learning every time I paint to make that one style that says, “That’s a Lucy Inserra painting”. I speak through paintings or I try to with certain brushstrokes and color. As like, any artist that would love to be recognized for their talent and skills. For example, when looking at a Van Gogh or a Picasso, you know the difference between their paintings without even knowing them for their famous names in the art world. That’s exactly what I strive for and of course, that dream that I will someday have a one-man show in New York City. It’s a long shot but, it could happen. This book is all about finding your own way in your work. This book is only 118 pages long, paper book, and small in size. I say that because it was like a bible my last weeks of college in 2011. It got me through it and even got me through it again the beginning of this year. Let me write a part here: “ARTMAKING INVOLVES SKILLS THAT CAN BE LEARNED. The conventional wisdom here is that while bestowed only by the gods. Not so. 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.” (Page 3). Can I say, AMEN!!! As a teacher now for beginner painters, my paintings that I teach and create are very diverse in style (in acrylics) and at the same time, I am constantly creating my own paintings (in oil paints) to find my own style in my studio. I do like that I can go back and forth in many paintings techniques, but I still thrive for my own art work, my signature style. Oh! One day it will come.
As artists, we are emotional and intuitive creatures I must say. For we, are aware of our own surroundings and our minds are constantly thinking and creating in our heads. After awhile, we become burnt out in our minds and causing depression when we are not creating. For some of us, it’s a life line or even survival if getting paid for your art work. Even when, we have an idea and we sketch it out and it’s all good for awhile and then your art work is not becoming what you envisioned it and then depression sets in that you feel not good enough to create what you thought would work. Artists are their own worst critic and we take things so personally. Feeling like a failure is a common place. This book is great to read when you have become depressed during your art work and gives pointers to view at it a different way, a normal way. The name of book is “The Van Gogh Blues” by Eric Maisel, PH.D. Quote: “In order for you to live an authentic, meaningful life, which is the principal remedy for the depression creative people experience, you must feel that 1)the plan of your life is meaningful, 2) the work you do is meaningful, and 3) the way your spend time is meaningful. These are three separate but related tasks, each with its logic, demands, and obstacles.” (Page 51). Good Stuff!!! I read this book after college and have read it several times during my depression times of creating.
Thank you for reading, Hopes this helps some artists out there!!!
Maisel, Eric Ph.D The Van Goghs Blues. United States of America: Rodale, Inc., 2002.
Bayles, David and Ted Orland. Art and Fear. United States of America: McNaughton & Gunn, Printers, 1993.
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