2019 was the year I decided that painting (again) would be my New Year’s Resolution for 2020. At the time I thought I did not have much energy to do anything more than work. By the end of my reading list that year, I realized I had a lot of time. The problem was that I focused on too many things that did not matter. Sometimes when I wonder why I spend so much time painting, I look back at the books I read that year. Here they are in alphabetical order, by author.
Moral of the story: Sometimes books change you.
Another moral of the story: Just do what you love, and only what you love.
Since then, I have been painting more and reading more. These are what I read while I worked on the paintings. I don’t know how the readings influenced the works, but I’m sure they did.
Before, I had thought that to produce a work of painting or literature, you scowled and thought long and ponderously and weighed everything solemnly and learned everything that all artists had ever done aforetime, and what their influences and schools were, and you were extremely careful about design and balance and getting interesting planes into your painting, and avoided, with the most stringent severity, showing the faintest academical tendency, and were strictly modern, and so on and so on. But the moment I read Van Gogh’s letter I knew what art was, and the creative impulse. It is a feeling of love and enthusiasm for something, and in a direct, simple, passionate and true way, you try to show this beauty in things to others, by drawing it.― Brenda Ueland, If you want to write
The object of your curiosity, if you take photos, is not enough in itself. You need to take interest in other areas like literature, music or film. Photography is just one part of a cultural whole. Photography is just an instant and this is very difficult. To be able to catch this compressed moment, you need to operate on a very high cultural level. The most important is to enhance this level. So you really have to be interested in many different things.― Ishiuchi Miyako, Advice to the young, Louisiana Channel
I had come to believe that art must be disturbing, art must ask questions, art must predict the future. If art is just political, it becomes like newspaper. It can be used once, and the next day it’s yesterday’s news. Only layers of meaning can give long life to art – that way, society takes what it needs from the work over time.― Marina Abramović, Walk Through Walls
Look, a canvas that I cover is worth more than a blank canvas. There ― my pretensions go no further.― Vincent van Gogh, Life According to Vincent