The Joy Of Art: An Introduction to Fine Art
By Janice Kimball
Reviewed By Kelly Hayes-Raitt
The Joy of Art inspires like The Joy of Sex: It’s sensual, motivational, mind-expanding and soul-enriching, but with better pictures!
This book is not a paint-by-number instructional. Rather, it’s visual poetry that covers both the basics and the intricacies of a variety of art forms from assemblage art to weavings. Ninety images of paintings, sculptures, murals, photographs, prints, collages, quilts, weavings and drawings by 54 artists enliven each section, making The Joy of Art as suitable for coffee tables as drawing tables.
Award-winning artist and author Janice Kimball earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and taught fine arts as an Assistant Professor at Columbia College and as an instructor at Marygrove College (Detroit), Columbia College (Chicago) and Henry Ford Community College (Dearborn). Both her love of art and her love of teaching are reflected in The Joy of Art.
After moving to Chapala in 1999, Kimball opened Aztec Studio to create and display her weavings and collages depicting Aztec culture. As her health deteriorated and she was no longer able to hold a paintbrush for lengths of time, she learned to write. The Joy of Art is peppered with sidebars of her chatty and informative columns from the Lake Chapala Review that bring the practicalities of working in the art world down-to-earth: Tidbits about Critics, Contests, How to Exhibit, etc.
Beginning with “You as an Artist,” Kimball paints a broad definition of art and artists – just broad enough to make one believe one might, ahem, create art. She teaches the basics of composition, color perception and perspective and suggests methods for unlocking one’s muse.
In the 14 succeeding sections that each correlate with a specific art form, she offers theory and a bit of history, materials needed and tips for success – often by using examples of other artists’ work.
From the joyous cover to the generous listing of artists’ contact info, the book is a luscious 11” x 8.5” spiral-bound, polyethaline softcover that features a clean layout and readable fonts. Several of the art reprints are in full color. A higher quality paper and an increased number of full-color reprints would have enhanced the book even further, but might have pushed the price beyond the affordable 300 pesos.
Sprinkled throughout The Joy of Art are anecdotes of Kimball’s own growth as an artist. One endearing encounter she recounts was with an elderly artist in a retirement home who kindly advised, “An artist is who you are, not what you do.” Kimball’s joy of, for and about art spill from every page and will inspire even those who never considered themselves “artists” to pick up a paintbrush, pencil, camera or clay and explore who they are.
“Let ideas find you,” Kimball gently prods in the section titled, “Now You Can Begin.” Let this book find you – available at Diane Pearl Collecciones and Aztec Studios.