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Art, art, art, art, book


In Blackwell’s Art and Poster

The artist on vacation is not necessarily constantly sketching. I’m not Jack Kerouac with his small notebook, pulling it out, writing it down, stuffing it back into a jeans pocket. Oh, artists observe all right, and we may take photos for future use. The Midlands of England have perhaps every single tint, shade, hue, and swatch of green perceived and named.

I’m carrying a fat little sketchbook for when the mood strikes, and on yesterday’s mostly sunny day I could have been drawing plein air. But today was all gray rain and drizzle, so art for me came in published book form.

Blackwell’s Art and Poster was a visual cacophony of large-format books on art movements, artists, and criticism. I particularly enjoyed leafing through some hefty books on Islamic art.

In my Utah studio, I’m currently working on several large acrylic paintings based on the Arab world, several canvases at a time, among them “The oudmaker’s breakfast,” “Pruning the bougainvilleas,” and “Why have you brought me here?” the third work in my Rudolph Valentino series. I am fascinated by Islamic border patterns, draped stripey fabrics, and cultural objects such as camels, goats, Arab coffee pots, and musical instruments.

Then it was off to the poetry section of Blackwell’s Books, to the right of the World War I poets’ collections. I found a collection of poet Sylvia Plath’s pen-and-ink sketches. Plath did studies of shoes, wine bottles, boats, houses, and streets with some illustrations looking like prints from wood blocks. Her sure hand and flowy draftsmanship were a revelation.

Art comes in many forms and all weather.

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