Thursday, 7 January 2010

Getting into the spirit

I once started a book group. It was at work. I made some posters, sent out emails and got a fair few people signed up. I can't remember who chose the first book, but I suspect it was probably me - His Dark Materials by Philip Pulman. It was a cracking read. I arranged the first meeting and the grand total of one person, other than myself turned up, and she hadn't even read the book yet. That was the end of that book group.

Efforts since then have been considerably more successful. Last year saw my gleeful and enthusiastic participation in the Wreck this Journal Group run by Jamie Ridler. What incredible fun that was and who knew that it would be the start of such a wonderful creative journey and the introduction to some lovely new friends?

The Joy Diet followed, but like most diets, I fell of the wagon near the end. It was fun while it lasted though and in particular I just loved reading what everyone else felt and then jumping up and down with glee when they felt the same as me (in other words, I was pleased I wasn't alone in my strange attitudes!).

New Year means new books and, even better, new groups. I have to admit though that I have a whole cupboard full of books I haven't read yet. It's not that I don't read, in fact I've usually got several on the go at once, it's more that I just can't resist... Yesterday for instance I was walking past a charity shop and saw a sign in the window - ALL BOOKS 50P - well, how could I say no? It would have been rude and uncharitable not to (picked up a Barbara Erskine, Valerio Massimo Manfredi and a touring guide to Britain full of lovely maps which I suspect will be finding their way into my artwork sometime soon).
So, back to the Groups. I am now reading The Art Spirit by Robert Henri and hope to have submitted my application in time for another Jamie Ridler extravaganza - The Happy Book. The latter is a mailaround project with each participant having the book for just one week before passing it onto the next.

The Art Spirit is a bit like having a bona fide famous painter giving you lessons in the privacy of your own home. There's no pictures, no colour guides or step by step painting building. It is simply written advice and shared wisdom. Interestingly, there aren't any chapters or any form of index - it just sort of rambles and is really a collection of letters, essays and articles written by the great man. I find this slightly odd, but by the same token it does mean that this is a book that you can just dip in and out of at your leisure. I've only read the first few pages so no proper post on my thoughts or progress yet but watch this space...

I'll leave you with a quote from the book to have a ponder over.

"For an artist to be interesting to us, he must have been interesting to himself. He must have been capable of intense feeling, cand capable of profound contemplation.... Nature reveals to him, and , seeing and feeling intensely, he paints, and whether he wills it or not, each brush stroke is an exact record of such as he was at the exact moment the stroke was made."
Robert Henri


  1. Clearly a Romantic painter wrote that but I broadly agree

  2. I always feel a bit inadequate when I read things like this, but I never let that stop me!!

  3. How inspirational. I love to read, as well but life sometimes is too hectic to relax and let your mind sink into what you are reading. I started a book before Christmas and have not picked it up since. If I were nearer to you, I'd join in on your book club. Those are so fun. Hope your week was good and that Friday finds you well. Enjoy your weekend.

  4. I think I would like to check out The Art Spirit by Robert Henri. Please let us know from time to time what you think of it as you go through it.

    I've not ever participated in a book group/club. Although I've been tempted to start one here and there.

    Hope you have a good Friday!

  5. You made me laugh with the book group story. I have joined one with the mothers from school - Wuthering heights is the first book (insert a sigh please as its not my choice). And I also bought some awesome maps from an op shop the other day. National Geographic Maps from the 1930s and 50s. Only 50c each, that got me smiling ear to ear.

  6. New year and new look of your blog. Well done! Interestingly, the only book group I ever joined was the WTJ ... anyway, got accepted to the 1st round of Jamie Ridler's "The Happy Book". Think it will be a fun project to work on. Hope you get in as well. ;)

  7. what a nice quote ... and perfectly true. first believe in yourself and your work and others will too ... cos they will feel your energy radiating from it :))

  8. So glad you joined in on The Art Spirit! Great quote too. It hasn't been an easy read for me, but it is slowly savored. It's a funny thing to start a reading group and think that others might want to participate, but what better way to get myself to read the book, no? :)


Thank you for your comments - I always love to hear what you think :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...