Monday, March 30, 2015

My Top 3 Books for Beginner Artists

We all have them. Books we love that made an impact in our lives and that we tell others about. Here are the 3 books I suggest the most.

1) "If You Want to Walk on Water You've Got to Get Out of The Boat", by John Ortberg
My cousin gave this book to me years ago now. It was a time when I was nervous about putting my artwork "out there" on the market. This book is great for encouraging the reader to take risks and face your fears. You may have guessed it from the title, but the book uses the biblical story of Peter walking on water as an example throughout. Some people never get out of the boat! But like Ortberg says, "You are one step away from the adventure of your life." I love his sense of humor too.

2) "The Creative Call",  by Janice Elsheimer
Whenever I meet someone who says they "used to" paint or put to use any sort of creative gift, I encourage them to just do it! I firmly believe that we each were created with some sort of gift that the world can use or benefit from. Sometimes we've stopped using our gifts because we're too busy or maybe because we were once criticized. This book will help reignite your inspiration and help you work through anything that may be holding you back. It too is a faith based book and has suggested prayers and scriptures throughout. You can work through this alone but I think it's great to share and discuss with friends.

3) "How the World Sees You", by Sally Hogshead
This is a recent find. Sally Hogshead says we were all created "fascinating" and learn to be boring by being told to conform, color in the lines, and do like everyone else does. She says the trick is to un-learn boring! With her advertising expertise and years of experience, she created a test to determine what strengths you have that make you unique. (The book comes with an online access code for taking the test.) Everyone can benefit from this information. She also provides coaching and helpful tips on how to make the most of what makes you fascinating to get the best results for your business. It's a positive approach focusing on your strengths.

How about you? Do you have any books that you find yourself quoting or suggesting more than others? I'd love to hear about them!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Seeing Double

Copyright has been in the news again this week. There seems to be blurred lines between copying to learn and copying for profit. And not just in the music industry.

A friend of mine was shocked to see people inside the Louvre Museum on a recent vacation copying the art. I told her it is ok and that they even rent easels there for that very purpose. The masters themselves learned at that museum the same way!

I found this fantastic article about it in Smithsonian magazine back in 2001 at my dentist's office. I have never been to Europe but this is number one on my bucket list. They let me keep the magazine. I still have it on my coffee table.

"El Jaleo" after John Singer Sargent by Amy Crews

This Sargent I copied hangs in our living room. In art school I was taught that it's ok to sell copies of another persons artwork just as long as you reference the original artist and that the artist has been dead for a significant number of years.

These two paintings went to court. The story is here. I hope the artist is not hiding his work now.

Sometimes at an art show someone will say "That artist over there is copying you!!" To be completely honest, it's like a punch in the gut but if you know me, you know I'm not going to say anything about it.  It's an uncomfortable situation to be in.

My booth shot from a show back in 2006.

Many new artists will imitate other artists until they find their own voice. There are times when you happen to find the same thing inspiring or there is a trend in the marketplace. They even said in art school "There is no true original idea." But I was taught, and I agree, that is is just wrong to blatantly copy someone's work when it is for profit. 

Kleon has a great way to sum up what he calls theft.

Every time I see a copyright story in the news I think of the book "Steal Like An Artist" by Austin Kleon. It's a dilemma and an uncomfortable topic to discuss. How about you? Does it frustrate or flatter when you feel like you've been copied? For more by Austin Kleon check out his website