Highlighter-Worthy Book of the Moment: “The Accidental Masterpiece”

Remember when you highlighted text books for those test-cramming reminders? Find that golden slice of information or passage and highlight the heck out of it? Well, I found a book that makes me want to do that and I’m not even being tested.

“The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa” by Michael Kimmelman is a short little read and full of creative inspiration, observation and art history. Insights into the art of Bob Ross, (yea, that Bob Ross) Philip Pearlstien, Andy Warhol, Pierre Bonnard, and many others, are laced throughout. My highlighter sat next to the book so I could slide it over moments such as Philip Pearlstein describing why creating art is so important to us:

“The ecstasy of creation is when, as an artist, you are one with and totally absorbed in the fact. It is the same experience whether it is the act painting, making music, or writing. The experience really obliterates all other considerations at that moment.”

Kimmelman captures the philosophies in art, the inspirational moments and the even the mundane art of collecting light bulbs. A chapter called The Art of Being Artless focuses on giving non-artist the tools to be creative. When George Eastman developed Kodak cameras and films for the masses Alfred Stieglitz was appalled. He wrote in sharp criticism, 1899:

“. . . placing in the hands of the general public a means of making pictures [cameras] with but little labor and requiring less knowledge has of necessity been followed by the production of millions of photographs . . . It is due to this fatal facility that photography as a picture-making medium has fallen into disrepute.”

Well, if Mr. Stieglitz were still here, no doubt he would appreciate many of the forum threads found on some “professional” photography networks bemoaning dSLR availability to the masses.

Grab the book (and a highlighter) and soak in some inspiring moments in art. It’s a quick and rewarding read. Then, when you’re feeling uninspired or just plain jaded by the art world, crack it open and find those pieces you felt were highlighter-worthy. Feeling better?