As this year starts to close, I want to share some inspiring material on abstract art that I've discovered this year. Not all of it is new--it's just been new to me and has kept me inspired.
The first is an e-book that I read on my Kindle app. This book is full of breathtaking black and white photographs that embody the spirit of wabi-sabi. I wish the book were available in print, but I certainly recommend the e-book. I keep going back to the photos and text (including haiku) and come away renewed.
Seth Apter's second North Light book has been a revelation. I have meant to review it here so many times! Each time that I look through it for things to include in a review, I get distracted by the stunning and meaningful art and the intimate feelings and thoughts shared by Seth and the guest artists. Reading the text is like getting soul-baring letters from members of your beloved tribe and feeling the warmth of connection with each one.
The book does include tricks and tips, and thank heavens, it does not include "how you can make a piece exactly like mine." The book urges us to look within ourselves and to mine deeply for the gold within us with the same courage and humor as the artists in this book.
You can get this free if you have Kindle Unlimited, but I strongly urge you to buy a print copy. I like to see the art work bigger and to enjoy the gorgeous design of the book. And to hold the book lovingly in my hands as I drool over it.
As I become more and more committed to intuitive abstract painting, I look for books on mid to late 20th century art--something I neglected to some extent in my first foray into teaching myself art history. Now that I work in abstraction, I find myself responding to work that seemed beyond my grasp in the past. I recently purchased a large book by Jane Livingston called The Paintings of Joan Mitchell. I have been aware of Mitchell's work for some time, but this book allowed me to immerse myself in her color, composition,and boldness.
Mitchell received considerable recognition in her lifetime but, surprise, surprise, not as much as her Abstract Expressionist male peers. She is now highly honored, as she should be. Her work is unique and unafraid. If you are interested in making and/or appreciating abstract painting, I suggest you become familiar with Mitchell's work. This book makes it a joy to do so, from the stunning images to the story of Mitchell's artistic life.
You might also like a film on Mitchell, directed by the late Marion Cajori. The film has lots of footage of Mitchell painting, hanging around with friends, and just thinking. I love how when asked about her paintings (how she made them, their meanings, etc.) she just laughs and shrugs.
The more I get into abstraction, the harder it is for me to talk about what I do. I'm pretty good with words in most cases, but ask me about my art and I go blank. I can imagine why this is true for many abstract painters, and was especially true for Mitchell. Her work comes from an emotional and visual place that is deeper than words.