Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Getting the most out of a book

People email me all the time and ask me how I can blog, create art, and have a life. I don't sleep much. Art is my way of relaxing and refocusing my energies after a stressful day. Life is stressful with a bad economy, parents, sister gone, high energy students, and two kids who fight with each other all the time.

I love to blog. This is my way of journaling. Funny, I have started countless paper journals but have rarely ever finished one. I don't get into doing artwork in journals like other people do. I like to observe. I like to write. I like to share. Blogging is the perfect way for me to do it. It is never-ending for me. I will never be finished. That is part of the beauty of it. I find it so much easier to blog than it is to write an article for someone. I think it is because I write for myself and not for others - like when I write articles. Don't get me wrong. I love to write articles and to see them get printed. It is just a much harder thing for me than blogging. Even writing up instructions are harder when I do articles. I have no problems spilling out instructions on my blog. I just write and write. It is because it is not for any particular person. I am not getting paid for it and you don't have to like it. I WANT you to like it when it is part of an article. I can digress like I am doing now when I blog. I can write about whatever I want.

For me, art books are not about the finished product. It is all about what I can glean from it. How I can take something from that book and put it in my own art. Of course, it has to be visually appealing and have some stuff in there that I have not tried yet. I want to see different things with a twist so it gets me thinking about what I can do. A gorgeous finished product is a plus. I will probably never do anything that is in a book verbatim, but I take parts of it. A found object piece of jewelry can be beautiful but I would never recreate it. I would rather find out how to do one particular section of it and put a variation of that into my own piece of art jewelry.

I don't buy the cutesy books or the scrapbooking ones because I cannot get past the cuteness or the structure of the scrapbooking format. It is distracting to me and I will not spend money for that. I also love home improvement books where they have faux wall techniques or other painting techniques. Substitute acrylic paint and create some fantastic backgrounds. I like books where they show each step of a technique. I will read through a technique and will maybe do one or two steps from it. I also don't like to buy books where the knowledge/techniques in it are pretty general or established. I can get the techniques free from the internet. Why buy a book when I get it for free? It has to be full of some good techniques or picts for me to buy it. I appreciate what I cannot do. I can stil admire something even though I am not good at doing something.

Lately, I have seen a lot of art books coming out. I am not impressed by a lot of them. I find that I do not glean a lot from them. Some of them are very basic and some are too distracting. I don't like books that just spit out what is popular and looks a lot like each other. I see artwork where people copy what other artists do. I know that our art is always influenced by someone else. I see other people's influence in someone's art all the time. Influence is different from a direct copy of someone's style. Influence is different when the style of the art is your own. Other artists will tell me that they know when they see something that is mine without even looking at who did it. My art is full of other people's influences. It is a sum of my experiences but it is done my way, not how someone else did it.

1 comment:

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I could NOT have said it better, Belinda. From the reason you blog, to the idea that many beginner and intermediate techniques are free (many of them on your blog). Thanks for echoing my sentiments in your words.