Artist’s Notebook – Bad Boy by Artist Eric Fischl

Bad Boy - A Memoir by Eric Fischl
Bad Boy – A Memoir by Eric Fischl

I am currently reading “Bad Boy: A Memoir” by Artist Eric Fischl.

The book came out in 2013, but somehow I missed it.

The reviews on Amazon say that the first half is really good, while the second half is a bit repetitive and slow. I am about the 20% through the memoir and I would say it is one of the better art books.

I have always felt close to Eric Fischl’s and his experience as an artist. The fact that he came of age when realism, and particularly narrative-figurative art, was out of fashion is something that I can really relate to. As I have mentioned before, my art was not well received when I first made the rounds.

When Eric Fischl hits it big in the early 1980s, the critics barely gave him any credit, saying that his painting skills were less than great. If I remember correctly, he then went to Italy (mid-1990s?) for a few years; to study the masters and to strengthen his painting technique.

The results of this effort was even more amazing work.

I love this passage from the first part of the book:

“Art is a process and a journey. All artists have to find ways to lie to themselves, find ways to fool themselves into believing that what they’re doing is good enough, the best they can do at that movement, and that’s okay. Every work of art falls short of what the artist envisioned. It is precisely that gap between their intention and their execution that opens up the door for the next work.”

I will keep you posted on how the book turns out.

The Kindle – A Real Alternative For Newspapers

I really love reading newspapers that are printed on paper.  I use computers all day and don’t need another computer to look at when I am trying to relax with a cup of coffee at my local Tim Horton’s donut shop.

My paper of choice is the Globe and Mail but there are no Sunday editions so on Sunday I would go to the local variety store to purchase a copy of the weekend edition of Wall Street Journal. I also like reading the New York Times and I would sometimes travel thirty minutes to the nearest Chapters bookstore to get a copy.

Three months ago, the local variety store stopped carrying the WSJ and I faced a crisis of what to read.  While I didn’t mind the 30 minute drive to Chapters to pick up a copy of the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal on occasion, it was something I didn’t want to do on a weekly basis.

Why Kindle?

I considered the Samsung Tablet, the Koba, and the Playbook by Blackberry.  In theory, newspapers should be available and readable on these products, but I saw no clear indications from the newspaper publishers or the product manufacturers that either the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal could be read on these products.  Only Amazon clearly stated that theNYT’s was geared to the Kindle. Unfortunately, the WSJ is not available via the Amazon website. I also found the Samsung a bit big for newspaper reading and the Koba too small.  The Koba touch screen model was slow in response.

Why do they make it so difficult to buy?

My first choice was the Kindle Fire but it is not available in Canada.  At the moment, Amazon is not selling it to Canadians online which I found very maddening. However, in hind sight, Amazon may have done me a favour with the recent problems being reported in the U.S.

I next tried to purchase a Kindle with keyboard and the 3G wireless system but by the time all the taxes and duties were added I was going to pay over $500 for a device being advertised for $200.  By this point, I gave up and decided to get use to reading non-fiction while drinking my coffee.

A week later I walked into my neighbourhood Staples office supply store and discovered that they had the Kindle with keyboard and 3G wireless system.

Was it worth the money and effort?

Yes!  Here are my reasons why:

1.)    Reading a newspaper on a Kindle is a pleasure.  The screen is not hard on the eyes and if you purchase the kindle book cover with light, then reading in poor light conditions is great.

2.)    I order a lot of books and DVDs with my Amazon.ca account and their one-click system for subscribing to newspapers is almost too easy.  I can see why some view the Kindles as little money machines for Amazon.  I also buy a lot books from Chapters when I am in their stores, so they should not fear any loss of business from me.  The only loser is my local variety store who will not get anymore impulse buying of lottery tickets.

3.)    The 3G wireless is even better than I first thought.  Every day, the New York Times is delivered to my Kindle.  No worries.  I also like the fact that I can buy individual papers and magazines.  The selections of magazines, however, could be better.

4.)    The total cost to me for the Kindle was $250.00 Canadian and I feel this is very affordable.  Over the course of 2012, I will spend more money on the coffee than what it cost me to buy the Kindle.

Dislikes:

1.)    I could not buy a Kindle Fire in Canada and there were all the additional costs of trying to buy online.  Amazon is so good with their online ordering and pricing that it came as a great surprise that I could get my first choice and that my second choice would cost twice the advertised price.

2.)    The Kindle is still a bit heavy for holding with one hand.  It is like a heavy book opened on the first page.

3.)   Battery life is only good for two to three days if you are reading a newspaper with the 3G wireless system on.  This can be a problem if you forgot to charge it and you are on the road without the power cord.