Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Take on Milton Glaser's book: “10 Things I have Learned—The Secret of Art”

"Victims of War" 18x24 mixed-media on canvas
Reading is as important as marketing to an artist or any professional. Learning must be continuous; including the taking of classes as well as the viewing of other artist’s work, and studying materials from the library.

Another word for “reading” is “remembering;” at least that’s my opinion. Study brings back the things you’ve learned and forgotten. Milton Glaser’s book of “10” things” helped me remember. Here is my take on his list.

"in-progress painting"
  1. You can only work for people that you like; looking back, I’d have to agree. My best work came out of friendly, cooperative relationships. There are some people you can never please. They are never satisfied. They can’t communicate what it is they want, and whatever it is, you can’t supply it. When the work is finally approved, all are left with a feeling of dissatisfaction and frustration.
  2. If you have a choice, never have a job; an obvious deduction. Not all of us are so lucky. We don’t always have that choice. Offering imaginative ways to find time and money would have been more helpful. Glaser’s reasoning is that you need to dedicate real time and effort if you’re going to be successful. I think if you continually work at it, you’ll eventually reach your goal step by step. Then you will have that choice to dedicate yourself full time.
  3. Some people are toxic avoid them. Well said! Toxic people pull you down, discourage you, and eat up valuable time you could be using to fulfill your own dreams. Toxic people poison the very air you breathe. They are unhealthy to be around and they make you feel bad about yourself. They consider what you’re doing a waste of time. Avoid them, leave them, or ignore them as much as possible.
  4. Professionalism is not enough. From Glaser's point of view, if you work as a "professional" you become fixed into a style or mode. You're afraid to take risks. You begin doing things in the same old way, cranking out signature pieces that are recognizable, but may become boring. Within the professional parameters, you must explore, take risks, and grow.
  5. Less is not necessarily more (just enough is more). I like detail. I have had artist chums who have said “well you can have too much detail!” Who’s to say when enough is too much? Only the intuitive artist or professional knows when a project is finished. If your gut tells you when you’re finished, put down the brush or pen, but not before.
"Sunset on the Nile" 22x28 mixed media canvas
I will continue my take on Glaser’s final five points in my next blog. Milton Glaser is a modern renaissance man — one of a rare breed of intellectual designer-illustrators, who brings a depth of understanding and conceptual thinking, combined with a diverse richness of visual language, to his highly inventive and individualistic work. Here is a link if you would like to read more about Milton Glaser:

Featured Artist;
Cathy McClelland from rural Australia. Her painting “Tap Dance” below shows the delight and whimsy with which Cathy views the world. “I’m a farmer’s wife that loves to create paintings of what I have seen and experienced in my daily life,” Cathy says.

Cathy McClelland Fine Art | Facebook