Reading While I Paint!

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
reading, art books, journaling, painting
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 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 of my recent books that I actually re-read by listening!
One of my recent books that I actually re-read by listening!

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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