awesome april (day 9) – what’s on my nightstand

Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

I found this on Amazon recently, just published this year.   I think it was one of their suggestions, based on what I’ve purchased (effective marketing on their part). I had heard of the “Steal Like an Artist” book, yet never read it, but thought I’d take a chance on this one.  It was a quick and easy read, and full of helpful things to encourage artists and creative types to promote themselves in this digital world.  Many of the things I have been doing and suggesting to others myself, but there were also some chapters that pointed me in new directions.  For example, one of the ideas I had been thinking of was to find a month where i would publish my blog daily, and this book helped me to go ahead and commit.  Here we are on day 9, and I’m still going strong!

What's on my nightstand
…on my nightstand

Another book that’s been on my nightstand for over a year is “Alice Neel:  The Art of Not Sitting Pretty” by Phoebe Hoban.  I read the first third of it pretty quickly, but somewhere in the middle, I’ve lost my mojo.   Neel has been one of my favorite painters for a long time, and it’s interesting to see how she got her start, and the obstacles that she overcame to keep making her art.

Nancy and Olivia by Alice Neel
Nancy and Olivia by Alice Neel

I have to say, at this point in the book,  I am kind of angry with her over her poor choices as a mother (her kids were in terrible health as babies, and her older son was habitually emotionally and physically abused by one of her lovers, with her knowledge).  I feel this, while also knowing there is a huge double-standard for female artists in comparison to their male counterparts.  (These kids had fathers, too, that didn’t do much to help out).   And there are plenty of male artists that are almost never criticized for their parenting abilities — that seems to be irrelevant when speaking of their work as artists.  But, nevertheless, I find it interesting how much of her biography is centered upon her responsibilities to her children, and perhaps rightly so.  Most of her choices were based on the fact that she had mouths to feed, as well as art to make.  Perhaps she did both the best way she knew how.

Just writing about it makes me want to pick it up again and she how she manages to “not sit pretty.”  Go girl!


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