I keep thinking of my work as in progress but realized that while I do this thing I do, I am also a work in progress. To help me along the way, I definitely rely on the wisdom of many others...of friends and artists, of family and aquaintances, and of the authors of the books I read. Here is a list of wisdom that I've enjoyed over and over along with a new one...
1. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
Reading this book was a major lightbulb moment for me...as I believe it is for so many. Two of the lessons I still practice today, after many, many years, are artist dates and morning pages, though I don't always write them in the morning. Developing those good habits spilled over into my studio where I spend time every day.
2. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
This is a tiny little book that I used to carry in my purse so that I'd have something to read with me at all times...let me tell you, I wait much more patiently when I have something to read with me. It's about writing but I found that it also applies to painting, and really to all of life.
3. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
This book was originally published in 1955 and rings true even today. She was a brave woman who spent time alone every year, something I really believe we should all do for ourselves. Though it was an earlier time, the writer discusses the busyness of life and the need to recharge. It sounds like life today.
4. The Art Spirit by Robert Henri
Now this was a college book that I still refer back to...great advice on the art of creativity. It can really be opened and read anywhere in the book. A great reference and regular go-to book for me. Feeds the creative fire.
5. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
Twyla is a choreographer in New York City and offers fabulous advice on creating good creative habits. Another book that can be picked up and read at any point but I've read it cover to cover many times. Extremely inspiring.
6. Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O'Keeffe by Laurie Lisle
My copy of this book is so dog-eared as it's been read and has travelled with me many times over the years. This is a great portrait of one of my favorite artists. I loved how feisty and unique she was...and always found it interesting that she passed away just as I was learning about her in college. I love to learn about the life and practice of successful artists. I'm a bit of a stalker that way.
7. Ninety Years Wise by Doris McCarthy
I love Doris McCarthy and have read everything by her. Though she doesn't like the comparison, her large iceberg paintings are reminiscent of Lawren Harris, another of my favorite all-time painters. It's great to read about an artist's life by an artist.
8. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
A book I stumbled upon recently through the library and I think I'm going to have to purchase it, it's that good. A quick, little read but full of great information with chapter titles such as 'Don't wait until you know who you are to get started' and 'Be boring (it's the only way to get work done)'. I read it in one sitting and I'm planning to read it again....soon as I pick up a copy.
9. Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
A fascinating look at how we work...really a business book but a good guide on being productive, no more starving artist. I love anything that reinforces that there is nothing wrong with how I do things, so this is a keeper for me. I totally agree with their adage that easy-is-better. Huge believer in that.
10. The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte
This book was written by a Vancouver girl with a fabulous attitude. Another business book but really focuses on how you want to feel rather than on doing stuff. Danielle shares that balance is a myth and that you can't have it all, but that you can focus on what's really important...to you. She has a great blog, too.