"Taking a wrong turn allows you to see landscapes you wouldn't otherwise have see"
Rick Rubin, The Creative Act: A Way of Being
I am working through Rick Rubin's book, "The Creative Act: A Way of Being" and I am pleasantly surprised with the amount of inspiration I am gaining from its content. It is very philosophical and mostly poetic.
Much of its content seems aimed at helping creatives deal well with common struggles I've witnessed artists of all kinds encounter on their journeys.
Rubin has a knack for simplifying complex, potentially self-defeating thoughts creatives frequently encounter. Perhaps more importantly he illustrates how to reframe them and transmute negative emotions into positive and motivating frameworks so artists can feel empowered. Really good stuff throughout this book!
In then chapter called "Submerge (The Great Works)" he talks about a concept of submerging yourself into "the great canon of works." He explains that this "canon" can be self-directed and ever changing. Rubin describes this as a way to intentionally curate the quality of what we take in.
He encourages us to craft our own canon for inspiration, motivation, guidance and support.
I imagine my personal canon includes...
"Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
“Mindset” by Carol Dweck
“Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards
“War of Art” by Steven Pressfield
"Color and Light" by James Gurney
"The Art of Plein Air Painting" by Stephen Dougherty
"Landscape Painting Inside & Out" by Kevin Macpherson
"Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting"
"Composition of Outdoor Painting" by Edgar Payne
"Love is the Killer App" by Tim Sanders
...and paintings created by the artist covered in my "Study the Greats" series (along with many others I have yet to cover).
I invite you to view my Study the Greats Series
Rubin explains how the curation process will help broaden our practice of awareness. Furthermore Rubin suggests "the objective is not to learn to mimic greatness, but to calibrate our internal meter for greatness. So we can better make the thousands of choices that might ultimately lead to our own great work."
Study the Greats!
One of my favorite ideas he offers is the strategy of lowering the stakes.
He goes on to describe how artists often fall into the trap of thinking they are making something important. Something that will "define them for eternity..."
Once again Rubin suggests we should consider moving forward with the idea that it is just a beginning. The mission ultimately is to complete what we started so we can move on to the next. Each project is a stepping stone on a journey of discovery and continuing improvement.
Rubin adds fuel to the fire in every page.
I plan of offer a full summary of the book once I am able to complete it and synthesize my notes. Once completed you'll be able to view it within my Book Summaries
Cheers for now!