Friday, April 17, 2009

. . . worked toward expertise?

Remember the book The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell? Where he claimed it took 10,000 hours of practice to become proficient at your craft? Well, I've been working on those 10,000 hours this week. I have finished a painting, which I may post here one day. I have been looking at art created by other people, including Charlotte Foust, who painted the above picture;

and Karen LaBorde, who painted the picture above. I am intrigued by LaBorde's "Waterworks" series pictured here.

I have also read three books about art: Ann Baldwin's Creative Paint Workshop for Mixed-Media Artists. Painting Abstracts; Ideas, Projects and Techniques, by Rolina van Vliet, and Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him, by Danielle Ganek.

I'm a long-time fan of Ann Baldwin, and have haunted her website for years. The subtitle of her book is "Experimental Techniques for Composition, Layering, Texture, Imagery and Encaustic." The book is full of Ann's artwork, and I will continue to read and study it. I've already looked at all the pictures.

I was not familiar with Rolina van Vliet, but her book got good ratings on Amazon, so I purchased it, and I'm glad I did. She encourages experimentation and presents 65 exercises that start with the words "Playing with..." I will do those many of those exercises.

Lulu is fiction, and a quote from the back of the books capsulizes the plot "As The Devil Wears Prada demystified the world of high fashion, this funny and insightful debut novel dishes the crazy and captivating Manhattan art scene." And further, "[A] glossy, amusing story that still finds time to wonder. . . how, why and whether the art world differentiates between trash and treasure" from The New York Times. Quick mindless reading, but sometimes that what you want, right? I am sooooo glad I don't have to deal with the NY art scene.


Blue Sky Dreaming said...

I was given "Painting Abstracts" by Rolina van Vliet as a gift from a friend and I have really enjoyed the exercises. My trouble is that I start an exercise and then somewhere in the middle, sometimes in the beginning, I go off on my own and do a very different style piece...but it does seem to still be fun to begin in a different way. Let me know your experience with these exercises?

Karen Stiehl Osborn said...

Wow, Mary --- what a wealth of inspiration is in this post. I have spent hours today, looking at these artists' websites and books. Thank you for sharing!

Jazz said...

I must check out lulu next time I'm on amazon. I'm about ready for some mindless reading.

Seth said...

You have been hard at work! Thanks for the links. Off to check them out now.

Anonymous said...

so glad to have "met" you. i'm enjoying looking around your blog. re: your post about the inner critic: mine says just the same things to me.

Mary Buek said...

Hi, Blue Sky: I can certainly see how that could happen with these exercises, but I think that's sort of the point. I can't wait to try some of them. I will probably set up one painting "for real" and another for experimentation and work on them at the same time. I will let you know how it goes.

Karen: I know, aren't they just wonderful? That's what I've been doing instead of painting, just waiting for something to hit me in the head and propel me back to it.

Jazz: The book will not win any prizes, but mindless fun is not all bad, do you think? I bought my copy at Half Price Books for $3.

Seth, no I haven't been hard at work, I've been screwing around looking at art. Almost as much fun as making art.

n2: Thanks for visiting my blog. Come back often. My inner critic is a real bitch, very hard to please. (Sounds like my mother.)

Gina said...

Oh, good—I’m glad you like the new Ann Baldwin book, Mary. It is patiently waiting for me but I want to finish Mary Todd Beam’s latest The Creative Edge, which I think you would like, too. I’ve had the other book you mentioned—Painting Abstracts—but have only cracked the surface of it so far. There’s a lot of good exercises and could really be used as a mini-class, don’t you think?

Mary Buek said...

Gina, I have the Mary Todd Beam book, too. I just love these kinds of books and look at them all the time, especially when I feel a dry spell has lasted too long.