One of the books I'm reading now is Danny Gregory's "Everyday Matters." I've always liked books where pictures take up more space than words. It is great, and my only regret is that it is so short. One quote that I wanted to share is about the process of drawing: The reason why most people draw badly is because they draw symbols instead of what they see. A nose is a sort of triangle. An eye is a circle with another one inside. An ear is a circle with a squiggle. The brain has an inventory of shorthand symbols for stuff and that's what we draw.
It's very human. Assigning things to categories, using symbols and signs; these skills separate us from the beasts. Unfortunately, these symbols are a screen through which we come to see the world. We say, "That person is rich, that one's crass. He's a criminal type, she's a blonde, they're famous, she's in a wheelchair..." We lump people and things and experiences into categories and deal with them accordingly. It's efficient but it strips the world of texture and chance, like eating every meal at McDonald's or wearing the same uniform every day.
This kind of thinking shows itself when we try to draw. In fact, that's the reason most people will say, "Oh, I can't draw." Kids never say that, until they reach the age of twelve or so, and their symbols are hard-baked.
I think this is very true and it's also true when it comes to painting and seeing color. A yellow lemon is not always yellow, and white is not the absence of color but pretty much any color you like...I love looking at colors around me. I get excited about colors and my husband shakes his head and calls me a dork. I savor the warm reds and oranges and deep blues, I decipher the grays into yellows and purples and greens. Colors make me happy :)
On a different note, another book I'm reading is "The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women" by Gail McMeekin." It has glowing reviews on Amazon but so far, I'm finding it quite disappointing. The best thing about it is the quotes on the margins. It could be useful to somebody who is stressed, depressed and lost in their life and has no creative outlet. I was looking for practical advice and this book is more like a counselor. Get in touch with your intuition, spend time with yourself, and fuel your creative energy. All good stuff but nothing new.