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I’ve just finished reading Austin Kleon’s “Show Your Work”. Like his earlier book “Steal Like An Artist” , this is small, easy to read, and fun. He puts forth 10 basic principles on how to “Share Like An Artist”. Although this is light-hearted and easy to read, it’s full of great advice and simple truths.

Here are a few that I want to work on right away:

    • If you want followers, be someone worth following.
    • Share something small every day.
    • Strike all adjectives from your biography.
    • Small things, over time, can get big.

Since I’m working on self promotion right now, these are all things I need to hear. Next week, I’ll be picking out other gems to concentrate on.

Thank you, Austin Kleon. You just made my work easier.

 

 

 

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If you ever have that moment when you walk into your studio and have no idea what you want to do or why, this idea might be for you.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that I’ve adopted an assignment type approach to my studio practice. I pose a What If? and give myself a deadline. For example, right now I’m working on What If I made it bigger?

Last week, I was looking over a few art books as I waited for visitors to my studio. (turned out to be a pretty quiet night in my corner of the building). Anyway, one of the books I picked up was Ed Betts’s book Creative Landscape Painting. Turns out that this book is a collection of great “What If”s. They include some of the basics – high horizon, low horizon, aerial view and also some more unusual concepts – lyrical symbols, intentional ambiguity and distortion for design. Each idea includes sections on concept and plan, plus a sample piece of art. Certainly not all ideas will resonate with you, but I’m sure you’ll find several that make sense to you.
My copy was purchased several years ago with the help of my local used book dealer. It was published in 1978 by Watson-Guptill. Check your library. There are still a number of these books floating around.

After looking at this, I realize that I gravitate toward this type of book and have a few other similar ones on my shelves. There is a similar one by Ed Betts – Creative Seascape Painting. If that is your subject manner, you might look for that one. The set up is the same. 50 ideas discussed with a section on concept, a section on Plan and a sample of the idea.
I also have another set of similar books, also put out by Watson-Guptill in the 80s. My favorite is Watercolor Bold & Free by Lawrence C. Goldsmith. This one lists 64 different experiments – 9 in Composition, 38 in Concept and 17 in Technique. I bought this book years ago when we were traveling in California. I had just started watercolor and this book was definitely “way over my head”, but I’ve always loved it. Here are a few of the titles – “Use Only Wet Washes”, “Compose from the Top”, “Spatter Freely”, and “Position Tension Spots”. This is a book I used to go to all the time when I’d get stuck. There was always an idea there for me to try.
I love the idea of each of these ideas being an experiment. That always worked for me.
Another plus for this particular books is that it is chock full of the author’s paintings. Although they are nothing like anything I paint, I’ve always loved his work – soft, simple, beautifully pure watercolor.
There is a similar book about acrylic, Acrylics Bold and New by Nicholas Roukes. It’s also published by Watson-Guptill and is also divided into Experiments in Composition, Concept and Technique. This one isn’t my favorite, but you might prefer it if acrylic is your medium.
I don’t believe any of these books are still in print, but should be available through a used book dealer or your local library.

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