For the Love of Reading
While Sheltering-In, books are a perfect antidote to fretting. A good book closes the door in the room of fragmented thoughts, and sits us firmly in a focus chair to absorb the words in front of us. Reading about art informs and builds your artist’s mental muscles too.
You can improve your creative mindset with books. What is mindset? It’s the established set of attitudes we believe, listen to, uphold and follow, whether they serve us or not. You can expand, or reshape your artist’s mindset with fresh influence and new knowledge. But, to access the influence, and absorb the knowledge, you must actively reach for it.
Practicing Community from Inside our Homes
Spending time with fellow artists who encourage or teach us, can reshape mindset. (Read about the influence your closest friends have on your art journey.) Taking workshops, participating in art associations and frequent group painting adventures influence what we create during studio time.
In this season of sheltering in place, we have a choice to make use of alone time with resourcefulness and “digital gatherings”.
- Keep yourself in the studio with new projects. (Here is a list of four ways to increase your focus on art).
- Listen to art podcasts while you sketch, paint or carve a new block.
- Watch YouTube channels (here are some watercolor methods to exercise), and practice the methods demonstrated there.
- Call a friend while you grid a drawing and start a new watercolor.
- And read art books.
Re-Write Your Own Code
Occupy your mind with words of wisdom. Listen to an audiobook while you paint, draw or make family photo collages. Hold something other than a screen in your hands. Re-map your art-thoughts. Insert fresh perspectives to replace looping narratives that block progress in your creative journey.
Making Friends with Smart Authors
Here are nine books to improve your creative mindset. Conversations with artsy people who speak our lingo, and recognize what makes our creative hearts tick are crucial to balance the alone-time of Making.
While we #StayHome, search for an artist-focused author who’s voice resonates with you. There are links to check out each book on Amazon below. Read the reviews on the books you’re interested in, and check out excerpts. If you have a favorite art book for mindset adjustments, please share the title in the comments.
If you choose to read a book to boost your artist’s mindset, pretend the author is sitting on the couch with tea, talking with you. Practice your best efforts at being #AloneTogether
Every day contains a thousand little servings of free time you might just have overlooked. And each moment contains beauty, wonder, and models you never need to pay.Danny Gregory, Art Before Breakfast
Deep practice is built on a paradox: struggling in certain targeted ways—operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes—makes you smarter. Or to put it a slightly different way, experiences where you’re forced to slow down, make errors, and correct them—as you would if you were walking up an ice-covered hill, slipping and stumbling as you go—end up making you swift and graceful without your realizing it.Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code
You don’t get to pick your family, but you can pick your teachers and you can pick your friends and you can pick the music you listen to and you can pick the books you read and you can pick the movies you see. You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences. The German writer Goethe said, “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist
The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed. Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second we can turn the tables on Resistance. This second, we can sit down and do our work.Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
Art is not about understanding. Or Mastery. It is about doing and experience.Jerry Saltz, How to Be an Artist
Employers become patrons when we begin to see them not as obstacles to the work we want to do but as a way of funding it.Jeff Goins, Real Artists Don’t Starve
The process of creating almost anything (and not just paintings) has a messy period where things feel like they are falling apart and we want to rip up the piece and throw it in the trash. But if you can work through that period, you are more likely to make a more refined, more complex piece of art in the end. Working through is essential to finding your voice. So get comfortable with feeling frustrated and keep going. It’s part of being an artist.Lisa Congdon, Find Your Artistic Voice
This book lays out a three-part Creative Success Now Methodology consisting of the mindset, authenticity set, and skill sets that can empower you to pursue the creative life – both for your personal journey toward success, and because the world needs your ideas. Ultimately, this book will help you to solve the many problems you encounter as a creative person so that you can live as a successful creative in the twenty-first century.Astrid Baumgardner
Take This Time and Survey Yourself
Dive into encouraging workarounds, strategies for time management and fresh thoughts to play on repeat while you’re making stuff. Read or listen. Pin quotes to the wall. Journal about the pit you’re climbing out of, or the new habits you’re reaching for with willful determination.
Let’s make this time we’ve got at home count for something good.
What are you filling your Stay Home days with? Drop me a note in the comments and say hello. We’re all in this together.
See you in the next post –
The point is to have more curiosity about possible forms the work could take, than sense of self protection for your ego.Mary Karr