This is one of the best books I read this year. I endorse it with a hearty five stars!
I promised myself if I was good at our extraordinary local library sale last July, and bought only gifts for others, I could buy myself this. I bought it online directly from its publisher, Uppercase in Canada (get it here), and read a section a day savoring each word and photo since then. I eventually returned to Uppercase and subscribed to their magazine as well, which I also recommend.
As you can see in the photos in this post, this book is gorgeously illustrated, featuring interviews with manufacturers, makers, and creators. This book comes with a paper dust cover (shown above), and in the first photos below, you can see what it looks like without it. I read every word of its 443 pages, and was so sorry to see it end that I bought their printmaking book, to continue the fun.
Because of this book, I’ve had ideas for my art, added a bunch of diverse and engaging Instagram accounts to my feed, purchased paper made of stone, and new gouache from Canada. Below as a teaser, I share some links and quotes from this book for you to enjoy. But remember, this is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
Ideas from the book:
- gel print over the top of your own photography, creating a layered effect.
- collage in a board book,; rub with beeswax so the pages don’t stick.
- design stencils for some passive income?
Quotes from the book:
- “I’m very fortunate to always feel inspired. Perhaps because I started taking art seriously a bit late, I feel there’s no time to be blocked or frivolous about my time to make art. Life can still occupy too much of my art-making time, but I return to creativity over and over again like a thirsty person gulping water.” Belinda Del Pesco
- “There is no hard and fast rule and any time you try to put a creative endeavor on a straight line, you are already limiting its full potential.” Jimmy Yu
- “The underneath is often exactly what needed to be brought forth.” Jeanne Oliver
- “To authentically make art is to first make it for me. To trust my instincts and allow myself to play and experiment. I love when a piece works out, but I have learned more through the pieces that don’t.” Jeanne Oliver
- “Our method: challenge assumptions at every stage. Our goal: leave the world better than we found it.” Kevin Garcia
- “Through my art I am able to take time for myself, whilst helping others to express themselves.” Ladara McKinnon
- Having two different pursuits, brushes and collage, allows her mind to rear from one while working on the other. ‘This allows me to have fresh eyes and perspective while continuing with a creative practice.” Leslie Rottner
- “I’m also passionate about seeing other people experience my work and feel big emotions as a result of it. Knowing that a painting I’ve created evokes joy, wonder, curiosity, and happiness feels like a magic trick. And I also feel like everyone deserves to feel joy, wonder, curiosity, and happiness – so I’m passionate about getting the work I make into the hands of people with whom it resonates.” Megan Woodward Johnson
- “I think of painting as a concrete tether to sanity and shalom, a true God-send… art… is a magical way to touch people and to see myself more clearly. It’s a gift.” Mystele Kirkeeng
- “Keeping it on the tidy side also helps me keep my mind clear. I guess I’m a chaos wrangler all around.”Mystele Kirkeeng
- “We need each other’s voices. We are not just our own. Painting provides me with one way to connect with and encourage people who I will probably never meet but am connected to nonetheless.”Mystele Kirkeeng
- “To the best of your ability, own less of better quality for longer.” Shanna Leino
- “I think my passion comes from a deep curiosity about what will come next if something is put in motion, If I put this color, shape, object, or letter here, what will beckon to it? What will make it sing? And when yje singing starts, o does the fun. Energy starts to flow and I want to find out what happens next. And it can be as simple as putting two colors side by side. Electricity is created! There’s an energy that thrums through color, a vibration. a life force, that excites me on so many fronts. It breaks language barriers, transcends age gaps and so effortlessly brightens visual life.” Shelly Davies
- Tune out distractions [because] “the thing that I’m searching for is that thing only I can create, the thing yet to be created. And the only way to find it is to get to work. That excitement, of what is to come, inspires me to keep looking, keep messing around, keep committing to work/play, as it always leads me somewhere.” Shelly Davies
Websites discussed in the book worth checking out:
- Callen Schaub (artist: uses paint by the gallon; great videos)
- Chalk Copenhagen (pastels with sustainable materials)
- Da Vinci artist brushes
- Ferris Wheel Press (gorgeous fountain pen ink)
- Greenleaf Blueberry (handmade watercolors)
- Karst (stone paper, stone paper journals, woodless colored pencils)
- Kremer Pigments (raw materials)
- Natural Earth Paint (natural, non toxic, and eco-friendly)
- Peerless Color Labs (dry watercolor on cards of paper; easily portable)
- Iron Frog Press (handmade glass printing frogs)
- Shanna Leino (handmade bone folders out of elk bone)
- Stencil Girl Products (buy stencils online)
- Pots and Paper by Steph (handmade recycled colored art paper)
- Stoneground Paint (handmade watercolor and gouache)
- Viarco (artgraf sticks and large graphite)
For practical inspiration, and the opening of your mind to more possibilities, I recommend this book. Know an artist (or a would-be artist) you want to get a gift for? This book would ideal! I spent many joyous hours pouring over it in random, in between moments.