Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Book Review - An Artist's Book of Excuses

We discovered a great new product at the National Art Materials trade show in May: a spiral-bound (take it in the field with you) guidebook written by artist and Soltek Easel inventor Jim Wilcox. Illustrated with cartoons by his friend and fellow-painter John Potter (check out this page on his website that shows his painting process from sketch through beautiful finished painting) the book contains 52 reasons why things can go wrong and suggestions on how to survive the situation, put it right and possibly avoid it in the future.

Here are some sample pages, including the excuse and Jim Wilcox's advice:

"I just can't paint (a) trees (b) figures (c) animals.
"The really wonderful news about painting is that we don't need to be able to paint any particular subject. All we need to do is find the shapes of color in our subject and repeat them on our canvas, thus putting the right color in the right place."

"They said art is a relaxing hobby, but I get so uptight!
"Some people have said that they find painting relaxing. Either they are missing something or I am. It can be pleasant and occasionally rewarding, but I find it taxing and mentally challenging as well. On occasion, a most successful painting appears to 'fall off the brush.' It will be easy to paint and exhilarating, but even this wonderful experience isn't usually what I would describe as relaxing."

"It was too (a) hot (b) cold (c) rainy (d) windy.
"The more comfortable you are when painting, and the fewer unpleasant distractions, the better you should paint. However, some of the most dramatic moments in nature are a result of atmospheric stress."

And, our favorite (based on a true incident):

"A bear ate my white paint.
"Don't try to get your white paint back - you can't outrun a bear. If you brought your watercolors as well, you are in luck. If you brought a friend with paint, your luck is even better, and painting can continue...assuming the bear has left."

This helpful guide is available from soltekarts.com or from our website.

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