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I stole it.

Mark just showed me this book he got. It wasn't familiar to me. Then he had to run an errand, and while he was gone I picked up the book and started reading it.

He got home and he was like you stole my book... and I thought, I am an artist.

The book is called Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon - and it's a little book, I read it in about 30 minutes and it sparked a good many ideas for me. 

One idea was to write down ideas... and I already write down ideas as I get them, but maybe I need to put them in a little book where they can remain all together so that I can access them easily again.

Also, I do journal on a regular basis so I got that going for me... but I could do more.

There is some advice in this little book that I've already figured out myself - that I wish I would have known when I was younger.

For example, educational and financial stuff that Mark and I talk about all the time, now. We are like - we should tell our kids this when they get to be that age so that they don't waste a bunch of money and get into debt for a big name school that absolutely cannot guarantee you your dream job.

We keep saying, if you don't know what to do when you are 18, get a job, figure it out first and if you need schooling for it, get it for as cheaply as you can. Of course, if you know you want to be a doctor - go to a good, affordable school - but if you want to own your own business or be an artist - then school or expensive, private east coast colleges/universities are not necessary. (I wish I would have known that... although I don't completely regret it because I had a wonderful time and met great life-long friends... but it did come at a price.)

~so he says in the book to always be learning - whether you are in school or not - keep learning - visit the library, have an unread library at home, etc... 

I love going on dates with my husband to the library - one of the best and cheapest dates - or a good book store - forget the movies...

~he also says to work at a day job that will teach you something that can be useful. Like, for example, he worked a job that taught him out to build a website. Very useful for building his own website now... can save you a lot of money.

I have all these awesome ideas for having my own little cafe/diner... and I think I should really get a job in the food services because I need to make sure this is what I want to do. I did work as a short order cook in college for a little while... and I did enjoy it a lot. But I could learn some more.

Then, onto a few things I underlined:
"Personally, I think bad weather leads to better art" p 96

I think that is a very interesting statement. I was just commenting to Mark the other day, maybe 2 days ago - that my style of art - my happy, cheery art work which I get a lot of compliments on - didn't emerge until I moved to the Netherlands... 

And can I just say - it sucks here. In the last two weeks, the weather was only cheery and sunny for one day... it's been gloomy and rainy the other days - non stop. It's killing me... but it does help me produce some pretty colorful happy art (which I dream about).

As far as stealing goes, he says, we all copy other artists. That's true. I get my inspiration from cartoonists and children's books illustrations. I love the happy little trees and bushes. I love the simplest designs from Dick Bruna.

 I try to think simply but enjoy making those things into a painterly way - and my preferred medium is Winsor & Newton water soluble oil paints. They might be a little more expensive - but it's so worth it to paint with - the reason I love it is it stays wet longer and then I can mix the colors in a beautiful way - like fading peach into blue into dark purple for example... but it's easy to clean up and not smelly.

Another thing that stood out to me was if you have several different hobbies or things you love, don't just put them all out of your head permanently and focus only on one thing... use those as a springboard to go to when you need a break from the one thing you are working on. It will help make connections in your brain and it may just improve one project if you are working on another project at the same time. 

Ha! Isn't that just a typical artist thing anyway, to have several projects going at the same time?! That's totally me. I always have several projects going - I take a break work on one, then come back to the other one, then go back to that one - I finally finished a painting, but the afghan that I started back in December still needs to get finished... and it will, eventually.

He says that if you only imitate one artist - then you are lame! It's better to copy several artists. Here was a quote I liked: 
"If you have one person you are influenced by, everyone will say you are the next whoever. But if you rip off a hundred people, everyone will say you're so original!" (cartoonist - Gary Pantor)

He also says to keep a "swipe file" - right now something that I have is a board on Pinterest called Whimsy - this is my inspiration board - check it out. It used to be a secret board - but I decided to make it public - so other people could see where I get some of my inspiration from. 

That's about it. I would have wrote this as a letter to the author but he gets so many, that I thought it would be better to share here... so if you are looking for a good little book to read - especially my artist friends - I recommend this one!

We got it from but I'm sure you can find it online from Amazon or Ebay.

I will share a painting here that I "stole" the idea for the little lions head - from a sticker.


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