I love being married to a man of many skills and interests. For those of you who don't know, Mark is a professional award-winning violin maker, an award-winning writer, an award-winning artist, and his hobbies range from stained glass to blacksmithing. (He also performed under John Williams at the Boston Pops for a special concert when he was a teenager. Seriously.) He can make or fix pretty much anything, I get the best Christmas presents ever, and we have an abundance of interesting books filling up our shelves.
Now, art for me is a hobby--one at which I am trying to seriously develop my skill, but a hobby just the same. So I wasn't expecting to pick up one of Mark's drawing books and spend the next three hours devouring every word. But that's what happened recently when I happened upon Juliette Aristedes' Lessons in Classical Drawing. Wow. Honestly, I learned as much about writing from this book as I have from any writing book.
Take these few lines, and see how well they apply to writing:
On correcting work: "The ability to self-correct, in any field, is a challenging skill to master. In fact, it is an attribute of genius. As you carefully measure...you are training your eyes to draw more correctly.... Slowly, through careful checking, you will begin to see patterns of where you are consistently prone to veer off in your own unique way."
On perspective: "Looking at a drawing after a little time has passed will give you a fresh perspective and make it easier to assess what needs to be done. I know from experience, however, that this clarity of sight can result in panic and a lot of hastily made corrections.... Create a list of everything that jumps out at you as wrong.... Rather than making hasty changes, you can use the list to methodically and rationally make improvements."
On revising: "...most work gets better, not by magic or willpower, but by a series of strategic revisions, improvements, and corrections made throughout the development of a work."
See what I mean? Even if you have no intention of ever drawing, at least find this book at your library and read it. It's astounding how closely related the arts are, and how the discipline you must foster is exactly the same.
And while we're on the topic of art, if you happen to be in the Connecticut area, you can see one of Mark's paintings at the Scranton Memorial Library in Madison, where it is on display as part of the Madison Art Society's annual juried exhibition through May 31. You'll recognize it as the one that looks like me. ;)
P.S. Mark doesn't like it when I brag about him, so can we just keep this post our little secret? ;) We're about to celebrate the 8th anniversary of the day we started dating...so I've been all gushingly sentimental and very grateful. I hope you don't mind.