Last week I mentioned how my son and I were frustrated after viewing a lacklustre exhibit at a gallery. This turned out to be a very good thing. In my fit of frustration I cleaned my art room, and discovered I have many books stored there which I know I’ll never read again—mostly novels which didn’t leave much of an impression. So I packed them up and tossed them in a bin for Literacy Nanaimo which operates a second hand bookstore. Maybe someone else will like them.
While sorting and making room for art supplies, I came across a book my sister gave me years ago called How To Be A Successful Artist. Inside the book are stories of artists who managed to create a name for themselves and are able to survive by their artwork. Most of the art doesn’t appeal to me because the styles are too commercial. Many artists in the book began their careers as commercial artists so it came as no surprise that their works resonate the style they learned. However I read the book again because I’d forgotten most of the stories it contains. What one artist stated, I can’t remember which one, left an impression: “Do you want to be clever or do you want to be good?”
I’ve decided I want to be both but realistically I’d rather be good. However I’m not good. I’m not even mediocre. Yet I believe I have the drive to become somewhat good, not brilliant, even at this late start. So I’ve changed my tactic as to how I approach my nights in the art room. I’ve gone through my different art books and organized them so I now have a course of instruction. I follow the lessons and if too tired at the end of the day I read instead.
|My personal course of study: anatomy, observation and contour drawing.|
One of the books I am reading discusses the golden ratio in terms of composition and also the Fibonacci sequence. These principles were used by classical artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci. There is dispute how much they actually used these ratios but I find the concept fascinating due to the mandalas I’ve done in the past.
Why did I wait so late to read this book which I bought years ago but never opened? As much as I could kick myself, I am happy I’m reading it now. While I probably won't tackle a project in the near future using the golden ratio, I am inspired, and inspiration is never bad.