I have to admit, I am totally addicted to reading and cannot leave my flat without bringing either a hard copy or my e-reader to keep me busy whilst waiting for an appointment or sipping a coffee at a kiosk. Reading is so much more than a luxurious way to spend my time, in fact I cannot think of going through a day without spending an hour or two curled up enjoying some form of a book.
Although I enjoy good fiction, lately I have found myself reading two well written books pertaining to business. Arlene Dickinson's "Persuasion" and Robert Herjavic's "Driven" are both loaded on my e-reader. Both authors are panelists on the Canadian version of Dragon's Den and prove themselves to be adept as authors and business leaders. I have finished "Persuasion" and found the book to be a very personal account of Ms Dickinson's ascent into becoming one of the top CEO's in Canada, her company Venture Communications being a leader in coming to the aid of companies needing assistance in turning their image around. Whilst I am just over half way through Herjavic's "Driven," I can see that this is a book that I will likely go back to reread again and again. While he writes about how his early life as a young child arriving in Canada from Croatia, he transitions his story into an outline on starting up and running a successful business. Both books provide a lot of life lessons that will be beneficial even for those not planning to start up their own business and I can definitely say that both books are top reads meriting five star ratings.
Moving on through the books spread out on my coffee table/night stand, I am also working my way through "Braiding with Beads on the Kumihimo Disk" (Karen DeSousa), "Doodles Unleashed" (Traci Bautista) and "Mixed Media Girls (Suzi Blu). I am hoping that the first book will help me learn the beading techniques and patience required to work tiny seed beads into some jewelry that I am trying to produce. Yes, I am still deeply intrigued with Japanese braiding and whilst I have a long way to go before I would deem myself proficient in the art, I have to confess that even though I have torn apart several braids to rework them, I am not disheartened. The braiding involves a fair amount of concentration, but at the same time seems to make me relax. The dancing bobbins of thread attract the attention of one very lively little kitten who desperately would love to capture and run away with one. So far, I have managed to keep Molly Cat from tearing apart any of my work in progress, but keeping tabs on completed braids is proving to be a chore. For some reason, Molly loves to play with the completed braids, tossing them into the air, catching them and I suspect she is pretending that they are little critters needing to be banished from our little home. No damage has been done and I have to admit, I do laugh at her antics which only encourages her to be even more naughty. Regardless, I will work my way through the book and hopefully be adding beads to my braids successfully within the next while.
I have acquired a square kumihimo loom which produces a flat braid as opposed to the round braids that make their way off of the round loom. I guess that makes sense when you think about it, but then, I have never used a loom before and this art form is new to me and anything could result from the continuous moving of the warp threads. Please note that "warp" is referring to the threads and not to the speed at which I am producing the braid. I have been using embroidery floss to make the braids and this makes for a very finely woven braid, very appealing I have to admit. I am not one who is drawn to chunky jewelry, but that could change once I try something different. Finding some coarser crochet cotton left over from another project, I suspect that I will give this a try to see what kind of braid results. Any time spent working on this and learning is time well spent to my way of thinking. My line of thought being that as long as I am learning something, the time I spend "playing" is really adult education of some sort.
The other two books are hopefully going to help me in my quest to learn how to draw with better accuracy whilst still encouraging me allow the free spirited artist within to just "go for it" and have fun. Traci Bautista and I seem to be cut from the same cloth in that we both find art tools in every room of the flat. The pattern of paper towelling can be transferred onto card stock, plastic lids from different jars can be inked to make circles on wrapping paper, and straws, stir sticks and skewers can all be used to scratch patterns on your mixed media pieces. "Doodles Unleashed" provides a lot of ideas without telling you how to make a piece of art. The prompts are there for just that reason, to give you an idea to try something different just to see how "your" piece of art develops. You learn to save those odd bits of paper, thread, and crayons and pull them out in front of you to see just what you might come up with on any particular day. The point is to have fun with your art, not to set out to make a predetermined piece that everyone else might also make. Take some basic guidelines, and just let your piece develop the way you see it and with the colours that you feel like working with. That is my kind of art!
But, I still would like to learn to to draw faces of a somewhat realistic nature but still have a certain whimsical charm to them. Just to be clear, I am not aiming for the clown like faces sporting dunce caps on them, I find these just a tad too over the top. I enjoy simple faces that have a natural but doll like look if that makes sense. I am not trying to draw or paint portraits, just to give the idea of a face without too much emphasis on detail. Express emotion, have some realistic qualities, but at the same time be fun and allow me to personalize them according to how I feel on that particular moment. "Mixed Media Girls" encourages you to find the look that is authentic to your style of art and make interesting mixed pieces that incorporate all mediums to come up with textured art that appeals to you visually and emotionally.
Sounds like quite a lot on the go right now and yes, it is. But, I love being challenged, tempted and eager to get moving every day. Reading has that capability about it. Amazing how powerful the written word can be and where it can take you if you let it. What books are you reading and where are they leading you? Will you try a new recipe this week or think about putting pen to paper to build a start up plan for a business? Take time to read for at least an hour each day, whether it is fiction, an autobiography or whatever appeals to you. It really is time well spent and you never know where your journey might take you. You know, we might even cross paths! Now, that would be fun and possibly dangerous in the best of ways.
Have a wonderful week and take some time for yourself to curl up with a good book. I promise you, it will be time well spent!