Friday, 15 April 2016

Anne Truitt, Daybook: Journal of an Artist

Anne Truitt Daybook: Journal of an Artist; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2016
Since January, Anne Truitt has kept me company a few pages at a time –– it's a book worth savouring. Truitt (1921-2004) was an American-born sculptor who initially trained in psychology. She is known for her spare forms that are painted and read like three-dimensional Minimalist canvasses. She writes frankly about her work and her life: about raising three children as a single parent, her precarious financial situation, and about the vulnerability of putting one's artwork out into the world. I don't know how she did it. 

I've only read the first half of the book so far and I highly recommend it. The writing is exquisite and honest. Here are a few quotes that resonate with me:

The distinction of joy vs. fun:
"Yesterday intuition fell back briefly before instinct. My hand wanted to  draw, to run free. Colors overran, lines tilted, and with about the same degree of effectiveness as Don Quixote going at the windmills. For one whole day I entertained the notion, which had been creeping up on me, of turning my back on the live nerve of myself and having fun.

"This morning I am sober. I would be a fool to sacrifice joy to fun (Truitt, 34)."

It takes fifteen years to become an artist
"For me, this process is mysterious. It's like not knowing where you're going but knowing how to get there. The fifteen years David Smith thought it took to become an artist are spent partly in learning how to move ahead sure-footedly as if you did actually know where you are going (Truitt, 35)."

Routine of an artist residency at Yaddo:
"The protection of the regular routine –– the studio hours, the silent days, the naps, the evening reading of Henry James and George Eliot and E.M. Forster, the delicious and balanced meals, the lack of responsibility –– has cradled me, and I am recovering from last winter (Truitt, 37)."

Anne Truitt. Daybook: The Journal of an Artist. New York: Scribner, (1982), 2013.

*my thanks to Brain Pickings, where I learned about Anne Truitt's Daybook.


Judy Martin said...

This book is a constant on my shelf. I have read it two times - I think all the way through, but maybe not. Maybe I just wanted to - I read it when the children were small. Then I read it again when they left home.
You have made me want to read it a third time.

india flint said...

and there i was thinking i should have a moratorium on buying books for a while. sigh.