Browsing: Letters

Letters
10 Why you paint

Dear Artist, In his 1946 essay “Why I Write,” English novelist George Orwell identified four reasons: political purpose, historical impulse, sheer egoism and aesthetic enthusiasm. For example, Orwell believed that no book was genuinely free from political bias and that…

Letters
16 Imitation learning

Dear Artist, Researchers at the Volen Center for Complex Systems at Brandeis University have taken a second look at “imitation learning.” It seems that when natural talent is added to one’s flagrant imitation of others, what results may be the…

Letters
41 The genius-mobile

Dear Artist, In an effort to boost creativity, I’ve begun an experiment in which I expose myself to only genius-level music. For example, in my car, I switched permanently to the Beatles channel. Now, I zip around town in my…

Letters
17 Remote thinking

Dear Artist, Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood has invented the LongPen. With custom software and high-speed broadband, her device permits people like herself to do book signings without having to be there. At 66 she’s getting tired of travelling. I have…

Letters
31 An exuberant painter

Dear Artist, Jane Appleby of Burnaby, B.C. wrote, “I’m thinking I may like to put more “calm” in my work — a pause, an element of pure simple colour, and then the canvas seems to think otherwise. I try adding…

Letters
8 Peak shift

Dear Artist, Nigel Spivey, in his insightful book How Art Made the World, speculates on “peak shift.” It’s a concept that comes from research into both human and animal behaviour. A neurological principle, peak shift says we need exaggeration to…

Letters
21 Fresh drive

Dear Artist, According to productivity gurus, there are two types of motivation; extrinsic and intrinsic, with extrinsic relying on the “if/then” reward model, and intrinsic depending more upon personal, internal drives. Extrinsic can be great for tasks; establishing a daily…

Letters
23 Curiouser and curiouser

Dear Artist, This morning I was on the phone with a painter I’d Googled. He Googled me as we spoke. We looked at each other’s stuff. Then we mutually Googled the same works of the Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla. We…

Letters
68 The end of objecthood

Dear Artist, At the risk of beating a dead digital horse, I need to revisit something I wrote to you in last week’s letter. When discussing presenting art online, I mentioned that one might have more success attracting collectors by…

Letters
10 At Mabel’s house

Dear Artist, I’m laptopping you from Ansel Adams’s room in the beautiful old home of Mabel Dodge Luhan in Taos, New Mexico. It’s now a B and B and conference center. In these hallowed rooms Mabel entertained some of the…

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