A Few of My Favorite Things

22 Aug 2012

A couple of weeks ago I spent a rainy Sunday cleaning out clutter—one of my least favorite things to do, but something I am always infinitely grateful for when it's complete. I cleaned out bookshelves, closets, storage bins, and shelves full of the many things I've amassed over the years and felt light as a feather, organizationally speaking, when I was finished.

Kirk Douglas was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh in this 1956 film adaptation of Irving Stone's novel Lust for Life.
Kirk Douglas was nominated for an Academy Award
for his portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh in this 1956 film
adaptation of Irving Stone's novel Lust for Life.
I did notice as I was decluttering that almost nothing art-related hit the trash bin. That's probably because I am constantly in need of reference material, and I want to make sure I have everything I might need when the muse strikes. As I organized and resituated my surroundings, I took stock of a few of my favorite things that keep the artistic inspiration flowing:

ART BOOKS: I have a variety of art books on my shelf, but some of my favorites include a book of Russian portraiture (imported from China) that has more than 200 full-page reproductions of both well-known and obscure Russian artists; and The Impressionists at Home (Thames and Hudson, New York, New York), which features interior paintings from some of my favorite Impressionists and early modernists (including Degas, Vuillard, and Bonnard), as well several black-and-white photos of the artists in their studios and homes.

ART MOVIES: I collect movies on DVD, and the "art" movies are really starting to pile up—The Agony and the Ecstasy, Lust for Life, Portrait of Jennie, Girl With a Pearl Earring, Modigliani, and Caravaggio are some of my favorites. (Midnight in Paris is right up there too, even though it's not entirely about art.)

This book published by Thames & Hudson with text by Pamela Todd features interior scenes from such artists as Manet, Pissaro, Degas, Vuillard, Bonnard.
This book published by Thames & Hudson with text
by Pamela Todd features interior scenes from such
artists as Manet, Pissaro, Degas, Vuillard, Bonnard.
MUSIC: My musical taste ranges from classical to contemporary dance, hitting just about everything in between, but when I'm writing I love to listen to Bach, Rachmaninoff, or Beethoven. One of my favorite CDs that I listen to on repeat when I'm writing is Joshua Bell's Voice of the Violin, which contains lots of my classical favorites played by one of the today's most accomplished violinists.

WRITING: As I writer, the only thing taking up more space than art books on my bookshelf is literature, poetry, and novels. In addition to classic literature, I also really enjoy reading art philosophy and works by contemporary art critics. A publication sitting at the top of my art-magazine pile right now is New York Magazine's "How to Make It in the Art World" issue, which has some very interesting ideas about the changes taking place in the modern art market.

What are a few of your favorite things around your studio that keep you inspired? Leave a comment, and let me know!

--Allison

Allison Malafronte is the senior editor of American Artist.


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Comments

on 24 Aug 2012 1:15 AM

The DVD "Rivers and Tides" on the landscape artist Andy Goldsworthy never fails to inspire me! And the Van Gogh movie where the 'dialogue' is his letters being read by John Hurt.

JaneSlater wrote
on 26 Aug 2012 7:41 AM

Love latest book and DVD by Aristides--Lessons in Classical drawing,  I go back to Quang Ho's Nuts and Bolts DVD again and again. Found a video for a dollar of the real world of Andrew Wyeth-- mesmorizing.  How do I find out more about the Carravagio film?  The recent book about Carravagio was very satisfying, the historical data was amazing.

on 22 Oct 2012 1:55 PM

Hi Allison,

I thought I was the only one to buy those books with amazing figure and portrait drawings from Russian artists i never heard of...and translated into Chinese, then I sent them to Europe, that's crazy!!

Reading:  website "brainpickings", great source of inspiration

Music: Philip Glass, Debussy, Satie

Art inspiration: I like to go back to "the roots" with Joaquin Sorolla, each every stroke is a master lesson. I visit his museum three times per year.  Never ending inspiration for the technical side.

ShirleyJohn wrote
on 8 Jan 2013 1:23 AM

Hi Allison,

I am 23 years old girl who want to learn fine art .Learning art is my passion from my childhood.I want to invest my time in art. So I am reading blogs.Your blog is good.I will watch your favourites movies to know something about art.Thank you for the list of ur favourites ..

swilde wrote
on 24 Sep 2014 11:56 PM

I've noticed watching movies/reading fiction about artists always made me feel energized (even over-stimulated), but for some reason never really thought of collecting them as a "resource." I will now.

And I'd like to add "Vincent & Theo" to your list.

Love Goldsworthy too--wasn't aware there was a film--thank you!