Reading While I Paint!

Posted by on Jul 19, 2016
Reading While I Paint!

stackofbooksI love reading. I love to read. I love books. Did I say that I love reading?!!

I don’t remember a time that I didn’t love books and reading. One of my favorite things was going to the library for another bunch of books. I especially loved summer vacation because I could read more books. I have distinct memories of my mother telling me to ‘get my nose out of that book and do your chores, or else…’!

A love of books

children's reading/picture books

Some of my children’s picture books

I love collecting books. There was a time that I envisioned myself writing and illustrating children’s picture books and I gathered up a fairly nice collection. Of course I am always adding to my library; art-related books of all kinds; inspirational, historical and technical, identification books for both plants and animals, and then there are the books that just catch my attention!

A stack of books in my studio

A stack of books in my studio

reading id books

A small portion of my books about wildflowers, flowers and more!

Rory McEwen, the Colors of Reality
Drawing in Silver and Gold from Leonardo to Jasper Johns
John  Twachtman A Painter's Painter

Recent acquisitions

Years ago a friend got me started on listening to books-on-tape while on a long car trip. I jumped on it and started doing the same thing when I had long hours in the car. At the time I was a graphic designer and worked full time with not much extra time for reading. I used to get books-on-tape and on cds from my library.

During the years that I transitioned from graphic design to full-time painting, there came a thing called an mp3 audio file and devices to play them on. And Apple came out with the iPod. Heaven in my ears!! I am an avid music fan in addition to being a singer/musician and I soon had a lot of my vast cd collection on my iPod and I was listening to my music through earphones while I painted.

A love of reading

And then came audio books and Audible.com. I loaded books onto my beloved iPod. I soon found myself listening to books almost as much as music. Books became part of my everyday life again. I began to realize that I was more distracted while listening to my music than when I was listening to a book. Perhaps it was that I got too involved with singing along with the music.

When I tell people that I listen to books while I paint many ask how I can concentrate on both at the same time. My answer is simply ‘I just can’. Listening to a book is a different experience than reading the written word. While I will never give up actually holding a book in my hands, I am able to indulge my love of reading by combining it with my painting. There is only one caveat; you have to like the narrator, if you don’t then you just can’t get into the book no matter how good it is!

One curious finding – I seem to match the tone of the book I am listening to with the tone of the painting I am working on. For example, I was listening to Stephen King’s Duma Key while I was painting my ghost orchid. Not only do they both belong to Florida, but I think perhaps the creepiness of the story found its way into the root system of the orchid. What do you think?!

Ghost Orchid - an endangered plant in Florida.

Ghost Orchid – an endangered plant in Florida.

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