Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Two of my favourite creative books

I have lots of books and today I thought I'd put up tiny reviews of two of the ones I like best for breaking out of artistic blocks. I've included links to amazon in the uk and the us so you can read more about them there. If you buy through my link I'll get a minute amount of what you pay... and amazon will get that much less!

Life, Paint and Passion by Michell Cassou and Stewart Cubley

This is a great book for breaking out of a rut. Its appeal to me was as a way to get away from having to draw what I saw; it helped me get back to painting from my imagination when I wanted to.

This book is good for a quick bit of inspiration. For instance:
to care and not to care

life, paint and passionDescription of someone who kept on getting to the point where she became careless and sloppy in her work followed by this advice:

"Act as if you cared about the painting. Put the brush on the paper with intention, not covering or going over what is already painted. Paint with care for a few minutes, then see how you feel."

Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

I expect most of you have heard of the Artist's Way already. It is a book that really needs to be worked through to be of real value. It takes at least 12 weeks to follow the whole course. Once I'd been through it I found myself coming up with all sorts of variations on it.

It was the Artist Way that encouraged me to experiment with collage.
It really helps to have an on-line group to support you as you go through the 12 weeks the first time.

Although it is called the Artist's Way it felt as I did it more relevant to writing. But the critics and self-doubts are similiar.

The best bit of the Artist's Way is taking yourself for Artist's Dates.

My current favourite is going out and just looking for things of a particular colour. Maybe taking photos of them.

The idea of an artist's date is that it should be inexpensive and fun. It needs to feed the inner artist, it may or may not in itself produce anything. For instance if your inner artist needs a penny whistle, let yourself have one even if you are no musician!

What's your favourite artist's date?


Leah said...

i've enjoyed both of those books especially the artist's way. i made two attempts at it by myself before i eventually found a group through which i completed the entire course. i know some people have gotten thru it on their own, but i think support is kinda crucial.

one of my favorite artist's dates was going to a gardening shop. i just wandered around all the plants, flowers, and seeds with the fresh smell of growth and dirt and it just filled me up.

the group i did it with weren't "artist's" per se, just people wanting more creativity in their lives. i think the work i did thru it was helpful in so many ways. i think i'd like to do it again someday, maybe facilitate a group.

Caroline said...

That's great - I'm glad you've liked them both too!

Wondering around a garden shop is a treat - but I rarely manage it without spending money... perhaps I should try though.

Facilitating a group might be an extension of aem - you could run it on-line and locally???

Leah said...

yeah, i've thought about to go about facilitating a group online...and then locally, where i'd hold groups and all those details including money and advertising and oy, run away! run away! :-) it's something i want to do, but it's still a little scary for me i think.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the Artist's Way a few years ago. The artist's dates were my favorite part, too. Funny, but a trip to the flower nursery was one of my favorite dates. I also liked visiting a nearby nature/wildlife preserve. It was usually pretty quiet, never crowded. I liked being there alone with no agenda. Sometimes I sketched, but more often I daydreamed and birdwatched. There was an artist's way discussion group online a few years ago, but I don't remember much about it.

Caroline said...

Nan that's great another thing we have in common! Do you still sketch?

The on-line group that I was with ran in early 1996 and the moderator got told by Julia Cameron's lawyers to stop putting up so much of the text - despite the fact this group motivated us all to buy the book and often extra copies to give away...

You weren't in that particular group were you?

Anonymous said...

I didn't go through the book until 2001 so not the same group. I do still sketch, but not as often as I'd like.

I read another book called "Keeping a Nature Journal" by Clare Walker Leslie which was very inspiring to me, tying together my early morning habit of spending time alone, my love of the outdoors, and my rather random creative streak. The idea is to spend leisure time in nature each day and begin by placing yourself (recording such things as date, time of day, temperature, location, weather, wind direction, etc.) and then sketch whatever catches your eye from big-picture/landscape to tiny little bits of things. It's a wonderful way to start the day, and now that I am talking about it, I wonder why I don't do it more often???

Caroline said...

This book looks like a good Christmas present!

Jenn said...

I'm a writer rather than an artist (although I do have the sketchbook recommended by Julia Cameron, where I managed to capture all of three memories). I found the walks most beneficial, especially when trying to figure out a plotline, or dialogue, etc.

My favourite Julia Cameron book is Walking in this World. And I have just finished Letters to a Young Artist, which I thought very good.

Caroline said...

I've got Walking in this World, and also Vein of Gold - in these she suggests daily walking but this wasn't part of the Artist's Way. Its true the walking is good!

I've not seen Letters to a Young Artist. Thanks for mentioning it.

Johnnynorms said...

Ha! I've got Artists Way, and I've been through it twice, and both times got stuck at Week 4! I really enjoyed doing morning pages, but haven't for a while. And I'm not imaginative enough when it comes to artist dates. I shall have to try garden shop and colours - cheers!

saesnes said...

The Artist's Way really did change my life when I was feeling very low. My favourite dates were walking ones, sitting by the river or watching the birds.