Maybe I should have named my blog Potpourri or Pastiche or simply a Savory Stew because I aim to throw a lot of different things into the pot, mostly about reading, writing and art, but many other things, too, because I’ve lived a long time and have a lot of interests. I also will include here thoughts of others I come upon who share my loves. Including those of you who care to share your thoughts and impressions.

Archive - October, 2012

Artists Who Write and Vice Versa
posted by Ed Farber on October 18, 2012

On Twitter (yes, I have a Twitter account: @edfarber) I’ve encountered numerous folks who both write and do art. I’d like to hear from those of you who actually do both --how, when, and what.

Someone asked me how I came to write my book, “Looking Back with a Smile.”  That was really easy because prior to getting it together as a book I had included many of the anecdotes in a family history I was writing. When the idea for putting it all together as a book came to me, all I did was cull the history manuscript I had written, pull out the anecdotes and organize them into chapters. Voila! A book! A relatively short one, to be sure, but good enough to get 5-star reviews on Amazon.

The hardest part was rewriting to eliminate superfluous words, adjectives, etc. and then formatting the completed manuscript (in Word) for Kindle and Smashwords. I decided to do the formatting myself even though I was not completely proficient on the computer. It took a lot of online research and many after-midnight hours to get it all done. But I did learn to do it, (the web is a marvelous source of information) and my book was accepted by both Kindle and Smashwords. I’ll talk about both soon.

Today, a Quick Word About Art
posted by Ed Farber on October 7, 2012

Which came first for me, art or writing? Art. I started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil, crayon or pen. And I’ve used art throughout my working career as a commercial artist/creative director (that goes for writing, too) so you can see how the two are intertwined in my mind. That was an inadvertent internal rhyme. Forgive me.

I first took up oil painting at the advanced age of twelve or thirteen. My very first painting was of a Chinese junk (boat) against a yellow sky. I didn’t have a canvas to paint on, so I cut a piece out of a window shade. My mom thought the painting was pretty good until she found out that I had ruined one of her good window shades. But it was all in the name of art!

When I began thinking seriously of art (still in my teens) abstract painting was all the rage. That’s what I took up. I had taught myself to draw early on and could do it pretty well, but I discovered that I really didn’t need to draw anything to make an abstract painting, just think of color, shapes and forms and blend them together right on the canvas. No preliminary sketches, although my art-sense was at work while I was painting. I did draw, but not for paintings. Later, after taking some art classes at Washington University School of Fine Art and at Mizzou, I slowly turned to more traditional painting and that’s what I’ve been doing most ever since. Occasionally, I will work at an abstract just to get away from detail, stay loose and let myself go! Fun!

Before I leave you today, I will include two things: an excerpt from my book that has to do with an early experience in highschool art, and two of my paintings showing an abstract and more representational work. Enjoy, I hope. And pass the address of this blog on to anyone you know who might be interested in following.

Exerpt from Looking Back with a Smile:

I had an artistic streak in me, always liked to draw. My school notebooks were filled with doodles. At age 13 I bought a small set of oil paints and my first painting, a red, Chinese junk against a yellow sky, was painted on a piece of window shade. My mother didn’t care for it since I used one of her good window shades to cut out my “canvas.” Well, I liked it.

In high school, I took Art 101 or whatever the course was called. At the time, abstract art was all the rage in the art world, and my art teacher fancied himself in the vanguard of the movement. He frowned, literally not figuratively, at any student who wanted to learn traditional drawing. His assignments were all designed to make us either appreciate abstract art or flunk! I had little choice but to acquiesce, but not without a struggle. While I did plunge into the ideas behind abstract art, I had doubts that my teacher knew good from bad art.

I tried a little experiment. My youngest sister was 11 years my junior. When I was 14 she was 3. I furnished her with paper and paint and let her use her innate artistic ability. I took her finished composition, matted it beautifully, and turned it in to complete one of my assignments. The teacher thought it by far the best thing I had ever done. In fact, he submitted it to the Scholastic Art Awards, and I was too caught up in my little scheme to confess my duplicity. It did not win a prize, but did move me up a notch in my teacher’s estimation. To prove that my effort was not a fluke, I had my little sister paint several more. I was the star of that class. Easiest “A” I ever got.

Check out the paintings on this website.