"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested."
Sir Francis Bacon, English author, courtier and philosopher (1561 - 1626)
Art & Fear, Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Sayles and Ted Orland is one of those books that should be dipped into occasionally and chewed or to be swallowed and digested--whichever way is the most useful to you. It is the kind of a book that should be on hand in your studio, bookshelf or nightstand.
Here is the opening sentence:
"Making art is difficult. We leave drawings unfinished and stories unwritten. We do work that does not feel like our own. We repeat ourselves. We stop before we have mastered our materials or continue long after their potential is exhausted. Often the work we have not done seems more real in our minds than the pieces we have completed. And so questions arise. How does art get done? Why, often does it not get done? And what is the nature of the difficulties that stop so many who start?"
Very deep questions indeed. I plead guilt of many of these very things.
As you can see, this book is written by artists whose words resonate with other artist and with our particular and unique dilemmas. It isn't a book about "Art Or Craft". It isn't a book about airy theories or fluffy ArtSpeak.
If you are stuck or wondering or twisting and turning about your work, have doubts or need to hear a friendly and understanding artist's voice, this is a book to chew on.