"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Two more books as the year is half gone

Does rereading books count toward a year's total? In this case, yes, and I finished two more this month, bringing to 15 read as the year is half gone.
When cleaning out books to give to my daughter, Booked to go, I parted with my Tony Hillerman books, except for one I had forgotten about.
It is a tattered and signed 1970 first edition of his first book, The Blessing Way, before he became famous. I bought this book at a Society of Professional Journalists silent auction here years ago. 

If you didn't know, the late Hillerman was an Okie and first a journalist and covered Oklahoma politics and more for UPI. In fact, his novel A Fly on the Wall, set in a fictional state capital, which is obviously Oklahoma City and the state capitol building
 He'd given this book to a friend and another Oklahoma journalism icon, Carter  and Loretta Bradley, and they donated it to the auction. 
 Reading it again was like reading it for the first time, because it had been so long ago. In it, Joe Leaphorn is a young Navajo cop and Jim Chee hasn't been created yet. Leaphorn aged with Hillerman.
The back cover, young Hillerman
Reading this and seeing his inscription and photo on the back cover brings back memories, especially of my beloved New Mexico, and of the passing of time.
***
The second book I reread was Art and Fear, Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles and Ted Orland, a musician and a writer
I needed to go back through this heavily marked-up book, mark even more, to get me off my duff and back into watercolor painting.  Books like this are food.
I won't give you many excerpts without almost reprinting the entire book. 
But one stands out to me as a journalist:
"To the artist, art is a verb."
Here are pages I've obviously read well. It's not so much advice as philosophy and common ground on the emotions and mind set of what happens when you decide to make art.


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