In the past week an artist friend gave me the book "Make Your Art No Matter What" by Beth Pickens and another friend loaned me the book "The Secret Lives of Color" by Kassia St. Clair and I am loving both of them!
Looking back at my life I can see that I've always been an artist but I didn't know that I was one until the last 5 years. My understanding that I am an artist was further crystalized in the first chapter of Beth Pickens's book when she defines an artist as:
The quick and dirty is this: Artist are people who make art. My deeper understanding is that artists are people who are profoundly compelled to make their creative work, and when they are distanced from their practice, their life quality suffers. Making their work is a way to take care of themselves, communicate, process information, engage a spiritual interior, or strengthen their relationship to themselves and others.
I completely agree.
Over the past month I've been unable to get in my studio due it being backed up in anticipation of an evacuation order for the wildfire threatening our town and I've felt agitated and cranky. Of course living in fear and smoke will also make a person agitated and cranky but I think my feelings were enhanced by my inability to create.
Now that the fire danger has passed I'm back in the studio and loving every minute. But I need to carve out time to continue reading Beth's book AND enjoy Kassia's book. In fact, I may prioritize Kassia's book simply because it is delightful and full of fun tidbits.
For instance, did you know that silver was believed to change color if it came into contact with poisons and that's why tableware (spoon, forks, knives) used to be made of it? Or that whitewash is made from a mixture of lime and salt combined with water and was used as a disinfectant during the 1894 plague? Fascinating!
The more I read about color, it's symbology and history, the more I am intrigued. In fact, symbology has always been an interest and it manifested early on in my life as interest in ancient Egypt and hieroglyphics. Now I use my own symbology in my paintings to help tell a story or communicate an idea or experience so learning more about what color means is right up my alley.