Creative books for the artist in you (2)

great creative books

Even if your art is your passion, it doesn’t come easy to devote yourself to it. There are those endless projects, too many ideas or the lack of them. Sometimes, working in our art feels like a battle, like a war.

We started the topic with these books over here. This is the follow-up post, with a few more recommendations.

 

3- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

That’s what the book by Steven Pressfield, The War of Art it is about. It is a guide that tries to explain, rationalise and inspire creatives to express themselves, overcoming what he calls “resistance”. Resistance is all thhose things that stop a creative from completing her work of art. Call it procrastination, lack of inspiration, etc. Read his work and let it help you, I’m sure you’ll find the support you need to go on with your creative projects.
Some of my favourite quotes:

– “Here’s another test. Of any activity you do, ask yourself: If I were the last person on earth, would I still do it?”

– “Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”

– Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”

– “The conventional interpretation is that the amateur pursues his calling out of love, while the pro does it for money. Not the way I see it. In my view, the amateur does not love the game enough. If he did, he would not pursue it as a sideline, distinct from his “real” vocation. The professional loves it so much he dedicates his life to it. He commits full-time.”

 

4- The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

The next book I want to recommend you is The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer. She is a singer and part of the Dresden Dolls, but I didn’t know anything about her until I read her book. As you can guess, this book is a lot about “asking” but it is a lot about her biography too. But that is not a problem. I loved the way the book is written and how everything relates and connects, the stories and the main message of the book. It is a new perspective on how to approach the act of creating and sharing your creations that won’t leave you indifferent.

– “Have you ever noticed that this looks like this?”

– “There’s no “correct path” to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to art school, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.”

– “Given the opportunity, some small consistent portion of the population will happily pay for art ”

– “The spirit of an artist’s gifts can wake our own.”

 

5 – The Art Spirit

My final recommendation of creative books is The Art Spirit. I’ve just been reading this book and I can say it is great and have surprised me immensely. This is not such a book as the others, it’s been written from letters and articles too from the author and it is closely tied to the process of painting with oils. The writer, Robert Henri, was a painter and a teacher, and the book is full of advice for art students and painters – or creatives. Because you’ll find out about technique and composition but also a lot of his philosophy of life and the artist profession.

And following, my highlights:

ON HAPPINESS AND LIFESTYLE

– “Every movement in nature is orderly, one thing the outcome of an-other, a matter of constructive, growing force. We live our lives in tune with nature when we are happy, and all our misery is the result of our effort to dictate against nature. In moments of great happiness we seem to be with the uni- verse; when all is wrong we seem to be alone, disjointed.”

– “No thing is beautiful. But all things await the sensitive and imaginative mind that may be aroused to pleasurable emotion at sight of them. This is beauty.”

– “Find out what you really like if you can. Find out what is really important to you. Then sing your song. You will have something to sing about and your whole heart will be in the singing”

– “A good picture is a fruit of all your great living.”

– “The thing to do is for each individual to wake up, to discover himself as a human being, with needs of his own. To look about, learn from all sources, look within, and find if he can invent for himself a vehicle for his self-expression.”

–“To have ideas one must have imagination. To express ideas one must have science.”

– “Do not let the fact that things are not made for you, that conditions are not as they should be, stop you. Go on anyway. Everything depends on those who go on anyway.”

– “To be an artist is to construct, and to whatever degree one shows the genius for construction in work of any sort, he is that much an artist. The artist life is therefore the desirable life, and it is possible to all.”

– “There is a joy in the pursuit of anything.”
– “Life is finding yourself. It is a spirit development.”

ON ART

– “Try to paint canvases that will show how interesting landscape looks to you—your pleasure in the thing”

– “We must paint only what is important to us, must not respond to outside demands. They do not know what they want, or what we have to give.”

– “One of the great difficulties of an art student is to decide between his own natural impressions and what he thinks should be his impressions.”

– “Don’t stop to paint the material, but push on to give the spirit.”

– “To paint is to know how to put nothing on a canvas, and have it look like something when you stand back.”

– “Hold to this principle that the greatest drawing, the greatest expression, the greatest completion, the sense of all contained, lies in what can be done through the larger masses and the larger gestures”

– “The development of the power of seeing and the power to retain in the memory that which is essential and to make record and thus test out how true the seeing and the memory have been is the way to happiness.”

– “If we knew what we saw, we could paint it.”

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