Favorite art book
A: Since I have quoted numerous passages from it on Wednesdays in “Pearls from artists,” it should come as no surprise that I am enamored of “Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice: A Treatise, Critique, and Call to Action” by JF Martel. This gem has become a bible to be read and reread as an endless source of wisdom, inspiration, and solace for myself and for other contemporary artists. I even referred to it while writing the mission statement for New York Dreamers Art Group, the artists’ collective founded earlier this year.
Were someone to ask “what one book would you recommend that every visual artist read?”, Martel’s masterwork is my answer. It is a constant companion kept in my backpack to reread at odd times whenever I have spare moments. I keep finding new insights to savor and ponder and still cannot get enough of this terrific book!
Comments are welcome!
Posted in 2020, An Artist's Life, Art in general, Inspiration, Writing
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Barbara’s copy of “Dear Theo”
A: I am re-reading “Dear Theo,” van Gogh’s autobiography as expressed in letters to his beloved brother, a book I read more than twenty-five years ago when I first started out as an artist. My copy is beat up and yellowing, but still holding together.
It’s a source of pure solace. Keeping and growing a studio practice in New York is fraught with complexity, challenges, increasing demands on one’s time, etc. So I sometimes need reminding about the joyful aspects of being an artist, about why I decided to devote my time to this work in the first place, about what I love about this often difficult and frustrating life I chose. And Van Gogh’s sensitive, soulful words always deliver!
Comments are welcome!
Negombo, Sri Lanka
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
“What’s to say? Great paintings – people flock to see them, they draw crowds, they’re reproduced endlessly on coffee mugs and mouse pads and anything-you-like. And, I count myself in the following, you can have a lifetime of perfectly sincere museum-going where you traipse around enjoying everything and then go out and have some lunch. But … if a painting really works down in your heart and changes the way you see, and think, and feel, you don’t think, ‘oh, I love this picture because it’s universal.’ ‘I love this painting because it speaks to all mankind.’ That’s not the reason anyone loves a piece of art. It’s a secret whisper from an alleyway. Psst, you. Hey, kid. Yes, you.” Fingertip gliding over the faded-out photo – the conservator’s touch, a-touch-without-touching, a communion wafer’s space between the surface and his forefinger. “An individual heart-shock. Your dream … Vermeer’s dream. You see one painting, I see another, the art book puts it at another remove still, the lady buying the greeting card at the museum shop sees something else entire, and that’s not even to mention the people separated from us by time – four hundred years before us, four hundred years after we’re gone – it’ll never strike anybody the same way and the great majority of people it’ll never strike in any deep way at all – a really great painting is fluid enough to work its way into the mind and heart through all kinds of different angles, in ways that are unique and particular. Yours, yours. I was painted for you… fateful objects. Every dealer and antiquaire recognizes them. The pieces that occur and recur. Maybe for someone else, not a dealer, it wouldn’t be an object. It’d be a city, a color, a time of day. The nail where your fate is liable to catch and snag.”
Donna Tartt in The Goldfinch
Comments are welcome!
Posted in 2014, Art in general, Inspiration, Pearls from Artists, Photography, Quotes, Sri Lanka
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