Austin Kleon’s little, yet powerful book, Keep Going, is making the rounds, and I can see why. It’s clever, inspiring, and full of insights from artists who’ve battled long and hard in the unknown territories of themselves. He says, “to change is to be alive.” And yet, culture is harsh with those who are struggling upstream, vouching it’s weak to change your mind, or defend your current view points till death. But, nothing alive is stagnant, and the inability to bend is to be dead in the water.
When was the last time you changed your mind about something? We’re afraid of changing our minds we’re afraid of the consequences of changing our minds. What will people think?
…Uncertainty is the very thing that art thrives on. The writer Donald Barthelme said that the artist’s natural state is one of not-knowing”
…You start each work not knowing exactly where you’re going or where you’ll end up. “Art is the highest form of hope,” said painter Gerhard Richter. But hope is not about knowing how things will turn out –it is moving forward in the face of uncertainty. It’s a way of dealing with uncertainty. “Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable,” write Rebecca Solnit. To have hope, you must acknowledge that you don’t know everything and you don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s the only way to keep gong and the only way to keep making art: to be open to possibility and allow yourself to be changed.”
Here’s a beautiful book about living in the present moment by illustrator, Coralie Bickford-Smith. Coralie is a U.K. based Designer who loves working with patterns and bold colors, primarily creating book covers for Penguin press.
About her own book she writes,
This is a fable about being in the moment and how the smallest encounters in the day are often the most beautiful. I can be guilty of ignoring these tiny beautiful slices of time because I am too busy getting on with the next task. And like the worm in the story I need to remember to stop, look and cherish these moments. This book is a timely reminder to enjoy the wonders of the world around us.
Gorgeous … Bickford-Smith’s life-affirming artwork raises The Worm and the Bird to the stars – The Times
Absolutely stunning. A very sweet story with a touch of dark humour too. Wonderful. A fantastic book. – Chris Haughton, author of ‘A Bit Lost’
I love love love it, just beautiful. – Millie Marotta, author of ‘Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom’
I love it. A book to buy and treasure, for yourself or others. – Marion Deuchars, author of ‘Let’s Make Some Great Art’ and ‘Colour’
A good reminder for those of us who still think too much and drown out the creative voice within…..
The men of experiment are like the ant; they only collect and use. The reasoners resemble spiders, who make cob-webs out of their own substance. But the bee takes a middle course; it gathers its material from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own. – Francis Bacon
And, a bit less poetically, Guy Claxton writes about a study of creativity in “Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind”:
The study of creativity in many different areas shows that what is required for optimal cognition is a fluid balance between modes of mind that are effortful, purposeful, detailed and explicit on the one hand, and those that are playful, patient and implicit on the other. We need to be able both to generate ideas, and also to evaluate them. Intuition is the primary mode of generation. D-mode [deliberating mind] is the primary mode of evaluation.
From an excerpt by English poet Alfred Edward Housman as he articulates his creative process using a balanced mix of intuitive and conscious effort (applicable to all artists, of course…):
Having drunk a pint of beer at luncheon… I would go out for a walk of two or three hours. As I went along, thinking of nothing in particular, only looking at things around me and following the progress of the seasons, there would flow into my mind, with a sudden and unaccountable emotion, sometimes a line or two of verse, sometimes a whole stanza at once, accompanied, not preceded, by a vague notion of the poem which they were destined to form part of…When I got home I wrote them down, leaving gaps, and hoping that for their inspiration might be forthcoming another day. Sometimes it was, if I took my walks in a receptive and expectant frame of mind; but sometimes the poem had to be taken in hand and completed by the brain, which was apt to be a matter of trouble and anxiety, involving trial and disappointment, and sometimes ending in failure. I happen to remember distinctly the genius of the piece which stands last in my first volume. Two of the stanzas, I do not say which, came into my head, just as they are printed, while I was crossing the corner of Hampstead Heath between Spaniards Inn and the footpath of Temple Fortune. A third stanza came with a little coaxing after tea. One more was needed, but it did not come: I had to turn to and compose it myself, that was a laborious business. I wrote it thirteen times, and it was more than a twelvemonth before I got it right.
As creatives, it often seems we try and forcefully recapture creativity or an idea when faced with the famous white canvas or blank screen. Maybe it’s during these times that we get off our duffs and go for a thoughtless stroll, or make a tea and play with the cat in order to allow something deeper than the intellect to percolate and bubble up in its own time.
Really like modernist abstract pen and ink…this should be a fantastic exhibit. If you’re in or near Boston, make time to visit The Museum of Fine Arts. “Radical Geometries, Bauhaus Prints, 1919–33” will be on display until June 23, 02019.
Celebrate the centenary of this groundbreaking school of modernist abstraction. The Bauhaus—Germany’s legendary school of art, architecture, and design—was founded in Weimar by architect Walter Gropius in the spring of 1919…
“Radical Geometries” marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus with a group of more than 60 works on paper, primarily prints but also a number of drawings, photographs, and ten of the 20 postcards designed by faculty and students for the first Bauhaus exhibition at Weimar in 1923.
Just got the new book, The Art of Noticing – It’s a fun, down-to-earth book chock-full of ideas on how to see and connect more deeply to the world around you. Here’s a few lines from the beginning:
Imagine… devoting just one hour a week to consciously directing your attention. How would that affect the way you see, perceive, and think? How would it shift the way you engage with the world? How much might that not only change but also improve your work and your life?
…Let’s stop trying to be so productive all the time and make an effort to be more curious. Do you want to look back on a life of items crossed off lists drawn up in response to the demands of others? Or do you want to hang on to, and repeat, and remember, the thrill of discovering things on your own? –Rob Walker
The Art of Noticing, hot off the press May 2019
Ever wondered if some of your favorite writers were early or late risers? Ever wanted to justify your own bizarre sleep schedule? I’ve always been fascinated with the routines of famous creatives. Check out this cleverly illustrated chart from Brainpickings.org and observe how sleep routines may or may not correlate with productivity.
(Created by Maria Popova, Wendy MacNaughton and Accurat)
— Gallica BnF (@GallicaBnF) June 5, 2019
17th century: very creative use of pen, ink, and watercolor. Modern jackalopes look so different 😛 .
This will be live in the Mac App Store shortly. But grab a copy of 3D Doodle Boxes if you haven’t already, and send us some screenshots of what you build!
3D Doodle Boxes is now available for free in the Mac App Store for a limited time. Get it while it’s free, and leave us some feedback on the app! It’s super easy to draw 3d boxes with it. It’s like Minecraft without the gameplay. It’s so easy, I whipped up this Super Black Widow in a few minutes. What a hoot.
So, you can doodle 3d boxes in your sketchbook, or you can take your 3d sketches to the next level and fire up 3D Doodle Boxes and draw whatever you can think in no time.
So here is today’s 3d Doodle Boxes sketch!
I was a heavy contributor to the infamous Roger Ebert thread on why he thought video games can never be art, Video games can never be art. I concurred with Mr. Ebert, and a few of my answers where highlighted by Mr. Ebert. I duked it out with some of the best pro-games-are-art word-ninjas and logic-dodgers, and have a few trophies on my wall to prove it.
I’m collecting references for an article about graphic designers who are also artists, fine or otherwise.
If you have a favorite graphic designer who also has an online portfolio of artwork in addition to their design work, I’d like to see it. Why?
Boy, the term “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” rings true today. I’m a big fan of M.C. Escher and deeply appreciate and am inspired by his work, both as a graphic designer and artist, and so I was astonished today to find what is likely – directly or indirectly – the archetypal artist for his work.
For pages 12-13 of my Art House Co-Op “Sketchbook Project” Moleskine, I wanted to do a simple exercise using quasi-isometric shapes. The inclusion of Blackletter type is just totally random. I drew the substructure in pencil and did the black and white work with a Micron .01. The Moleskine paper in this particular book has not grown fond of me nor I of it.
- The Moleskine paper is prone to bleeding anything and everything. If I open the Moleskine in room lighting, it looks exactly like the scan. I normally use a variety of acid-free, heavy weight white paper with the thick wire binding you see in various sizes at any art store. I have never bled through any of the pages. It must be this particular model.
- While the flatness and paper texture are wonderful, the Moleskine paper weight is not heavy enough to support really any media without bleeding. Oh well.
- As my project is entitled, “It’s not easy being green”, we can now add “It’s not easy drawing in a semi-transparent Moleskine notebook”, and hence, I have to draw concepts, if any, very lightly on the even page and focus on only using one side of the odd page.
For pages 4-7, I decided I was going to compare and contrast graphite with charcoal. I’ve done a lot of graphite work over the years but never got a grasp of how to use charcoal in a way that approximated my graphite results. I’ve always wanted to sit down and do a piece in both mediums – one familiar and one not – and see what happened. The results are surprising!
Well I thought I had 45 days but now I have about 75 days! Looks like interest in the project was so overwhelming they had to extend in invitation and completion deadlines.
From an email I just got:
As the signup deadline started to approach and people started to receive their sketchbooks in the mail, we started getting two big requests: to let more people sign up and to give everyone more time to complete their sketchbooks. We’ve figured out a way to do some shuffling and have moved the first exhibition on The Sketchbook Project tour from December to January 29th. This will give everyone an entire month longer to complete their sketchbooks, moving the postmark date that they need to be sent in to us to January 4th.
Revised list of dates:
- November 1st – Date to sign up for the project (you did this already!)
- January 4th – Postmark date you need to send your sketchbook out by (keep in mind that the show is a couple weeks after that, so if shipping internationally, make sure they definitely get to us by then!)
- January 29th – The first show of the tour at Art House Gallery in Atlanta, GA
If you have an extra pencil and some spare time over the next 2 months, give it a spin! It cost a few bucks to join but it will be great fun working on artwork everyday. It’s a great discipline opportunity to blow some dust off of your creative window sills, and let some fresh ideas in.
Read more about the sketchbook project.
Art House Co-Op has started The Sketchbook Project: Library. Everyone who signs up gets a Moleskine sketch book to fill up any way they’d like. However, each Moleskine is barcoded and themed. I got mine yesterday, with the theme of “It’s not easy being green”. I immediately misunder-read this as “It ain’t easy being green.” So, my first sketch is wrong. But my second sketch makes good the bad with its own piece of art.
The entire project has to be completed and back to Art House Co-Op by December 1, 2009. From there, it will be on tour across the country with all the other completed sketchbooks.