Do all artists have a penchant for books? You know, that oversized variety full of great big, perfectly clear, succinctly focused works of art? Those who come under the heading ‘not compelled to create art’ probably call them coffee table books. I know a lot of artists who refer to them as inspiration, study guides, or just plain old sustenance. I've spent more than just a few hours reading about books, let alone when I actually get my hands on one and open it up. Being a rural environs-inhabitant probably affects all of this syndrome---maybe it would not be so severe if I lived four blocks from the Art Institute instead of four hundred miles. But those of us out in the wildwoods need our great paintings fix too, and on a more regular basis than the occasional trip to the city. So we turn to books.
Right here is the time to give a big thanks to all those folks who supply us with crisp, clean, sometimes still in the protective sleeve, brand spanking new copies of books that we desperately long for and seriously need on our personal library shelves. There are times when they are essential and oh so appropriate.
But because there are just a few of us who have NOT YET sold our first million dollars worth of paintings, and we still have to ration our ‘book dollars’, I’m offering up an additional solution. Type ‘used books’ right into that old google search line. I have fallen in love with Abebooks.com., and there are others. They are my new literary heroes (well, other than my author friend Mary Connealy) At first I was quite skeptical of what condition the books would actually be in as many seem to be former library books. But their library must handle books more gently than mine, as my purchases so far are of very acceptable quality.
I have had some trouble with their book descriptions regarding content. That all important ‘number of color plates’, size of ‘color plates’, pages of drawings, etc. is seldom included in the book listing. I stumbled across a solution for that issue at a library, and it would probably translate to your location as well. Buena Vista University is a college about forty miles from my home, who houses a huge collection of art books in their library. Yes, they do allow ‘community people’ to check out their books, but there’s always that 2 week time limit that’s just never really long enough. Previewing them at the library helps me make the decision of (1) this is a book I need for two weeks, or (2) this is a book that will inspire, sustain and further educate me in my artistic endeavors---a book I need to own.