This month I’m basically playing catch up on everything that has fallen behind during the last two months. I just want to start by thanking everyone at Muddy Colors for being understanding about our tentative and erratic schedules while Vicki was/is healing. (Short story: Vicki had a series of clots in her leg. Dr worked tirelessly. Vicki is getting better and is on the mend… but it is slow and painful).
Now… I posted an image of Richard Schmid’s book Alla Prima/Alla Prima II and one of his videos the other day on Face Book. This brought up the question: These are very expensive… are they worth it?
Obviously I think they’re worth the price because I own them and have read through them multiple times. This may seem rather odd to some since I’m not what you would call an Alla Prima painter. It is odd I guess but I have always looked at various techniques and knowledge to see if there was anything that could be applied either directly or indirectly to what I already do. I can say that I feel that no matter what kind of work you want to do there is definitely information within these books that is valuable, foundational.
If you’re like me, like many artists actually, maybe you collect art books, both portfolio types and educational/technique driven books. I have cycled through many different books and artists over the years. Sometimes I grow in a direction that takes me away from some of the visual languages that I was enthralled with in the past. After a time I end up with books that I no longer use for inspiration or technical reference. I usually give those away to another artist who is currently into them. Occasionally I give a book away and then find that I miss it and then rebuy it. Occasionally I give a book away and rebuy it immediately because I see someone who would love the book, use the book and keep close as much as I would. I’m sure I’m not alone in this practice. I never feel like the money spent on these books was wasted, 90% of my art education has come from books and magazines (which are now mostly online).
I love going to a retreat or seminar and being physically present to experience process or simply be in a room with other artists doing their own thing. I can say that being in a group of artists working goes a long way toward demystifying the processes that sometimes seem unattainable when only viewed online or in print. But after having done that, sometimes I have gone back to a book and been better able to extrapolate the information to a better understanding, to now be able to use it within my work.
So this month, for my part, here are some of the books that I find myself going to more frequently of late… and yes, they are worth more than gold to me.