The dog days of summer -- perfect for early morning strolls, late night bonfires, and mid-afternoon naps.
Of course, there’s still work to be done, but the longer days and cooperative weather make it so much more enticing to take a bit more time for ourselves.
Here’s the beauty that I’ve found: Self-care and professional development don’t have to be mutually exclusive. One of my favorite ways to combine the two? Reading.
As Henry Ward Beecher so eloquently put it, “Books are the windows through which the soul looks out.”
Much like painting each and every day expands my artistic skills and my portfolio of work, taking time to read each and every day expands my mind, my knowledge, and, perhaps most importantly, my curiosity.
Likewise, just as I have a toolbox for each painting adventure I embark upon, I have books to turn to in order to expand various pieces of my mind and creativity.
What I’m reading
...entirely depends on where my curiosity leads me at any given moment.
This past spring, upon finding out I’d been accepted into the annual Plein Air Festival in Canandaigua, I dove into books like Fishing for Elephants and Conversations With Nature to fill my whole self with mind-expanding plein air ideas.
On the regular, I refer to books by Sorolla, O’Keeffe, Wyeth, and so many others to admire their paintings and let their accomplishments inspire my own.
The (happy) side effect of reading
...is always expanded curiosity. Reading Anne LaBastille’s books led me to get curious about her lifestyle and her way of showing up in this world. Reading and working through Fishing for Elephants led me to get even more curious about how I could push myself beyond my limitations. Reading Conversations With Nature immersed me more fully into the curious world of plein air painting -- a world both full of and completely without restrictions.
Even books not directly related to our work give us the ability to expand our perspective, travel without getting on a plane, and get out of our own skin for just a little while so that we can carry that other-worldly perspective into our day-to-day lives and work.
For me, books are an unending supply of curiosity firestarters. Whether it’s the dog days of summer or the darkest nights of winter, I encourage you to cozy up and make time for them as your companion in your creative journey.
P.S. Stay tuned. I’ll be dropping in soon with two more catalysts for curiosity that are sure to enhance your creativity. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to drop me a note with what you’re reading!