Artist Spotlight part 3: Diana Trout book review

September 13, 2010
In her book
North Light Books
“I wrote, “Admit that I am scared and do it anyway.” “It” was something that I began to look at more carefully and ask myself what would happen if I did “it” and failed? As it turned out, failure didn’t seem to be earth-shattering. So attempting “it” became exiting. I began to truly understand the truth behind courage – being scared and doing it anyway.
If you’ve read my writings you will understand why I’m drawn to Diana’s work and to this book. My soapbox is all about overcoming your fears and just doing the work. I love that she says it right there in black and white. What is so earth shattering about failure? Not much. Most of the time it is just one step that you need to make on the road to success.
In working through this book you will take a journey through the world of the soul, the space where your wishes and dreams are freed from shadows and let out into the light of day. Diana gives prompts, asks questions, and gently guides you along the path of creative self exploration. My favorite part? She keeps it real. Nothing too schmarmy – just real life experiences and down to earth words that tell it like it is.
Along the way you will learn many different techniques – most of which I hadn’t tried before as they are all about the paper arts. Suminagashi is the one I’m most attracted to. It’s a japanese form of marbling and she makes it look effortless. Diana also covers using resists of all kinds, different ways to use different paints, a few bookbinding techniques, and several image transfer methods. This is a book that I wish I had time to very slowly, step by step, work my way through.
So. Anyone care to come along for the ride? 
Leave a comment and tell me what “IT” might be for you. 
What are you afraid of? What keeps you from trying? Is there really anything earth shattering that might happen if you fail? One lucky commenter will with a copy of Diana’s book. I’ll compile the comments from this post as well as  this one and this one. Check back here Friday to see if you are the lucky one!
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  • Reply
    September 22, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    My "it" is that I'm afraid I will run out of supplies at the peak of my "zone" – 2 or 3 am or something, so I buy 2 or 8 of the same thing and then never quite (ok, sometimes I do) use them. I am the queen of Hunter-Gathering art supplies!

    This book intrigues me!

    zebulon, NC

  • Reply
    September 17, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    What am I afraid of? Journaling! I love to write and to create, but journaling makes me feel vulnerable. To what? To whom? I tell myself that failure is not an option — it's a necessity. It is the thing that fills the gap between one success and the next.

  • Reply
    Diana Trout {}
    September 17, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you all for sharing "it"! What a great response, I loved reading your comments and related to so many of them.

  • Reply
    September 17, 2010 at 11:29 am

    I have such high expectations in my results. Often I am afraid to try something because I expect myself to fail

  • Reply
    September 17, 2010 at 1:55 am

    I think that I am ultimately afraid of 2 things, 1. Failure, 2. Rejection. So IT for me is showing my work in any forum and trying new things, new techniques.

    I remember being a child and striving so hard towards having a piece of my artwork being "accepted" by the teacher, aka chosen to hang on the wall of fame. I remember the ultimate despair and shame everytime I quietly lost my small bet/goal.
    Finally, 5th grade, SPRING the last possible time to get chosen, my artwork, an iris inspired by the work of O'Keefe was chosen to hang on that famed wall.

    I still have that painting. It now hangs in my guest room.
    I find myself still in that same place, still scared and secretly hoping for "outer" approval and success. I don't know how to grow and get over that.
    I think a journaling book like Diana's would help me work thru both the emotional blocks to trying new things and ultimately helping me get over my own personal artistic blocks!

    Thanks for the chance!


  • Reply
    September 16, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    "It" for me is journaling. I think the thing that makes me stop before beginning is the idea that once a mark is made it is really there forever. How silly! This would be my journal and mine alone…no one there to judge.

  • Reply
    Anne Copeland
    September 16, 2010 at 1:24 am

    I am trying to do a journal now, but kind of stuck. Maybe I need this book to get myself in gear. I so want to get moving!

  • Reply
    September 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    I was always very good at academic subjects and excelled. When I took a course of studies in computer programming as an adult and did average or below work, I was devastated. Being smart is who I am! So there is fear of failure for me in the arts that I'm also coming to as an adult. I also have a fear of "wasting" time and supplies probably stemming from scarcity in childhood. Hard to get over.

  • Reply
    September 15, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    I've been playing with art journaling and altered books Lyric, you should play with it… it's loads of fun! The book looks beautiful, gonna add it to my wish list for when my budget improves…. or when DC decides to offer me a bailout 😉

  • Reply
    Candy Farmer
    September 15, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I have always had to "steal" time for my art from the day to day mechanics of earning a living, raising a family, etc. Rather than face the questions, "What are you doing?" and "Why are you doing THAT?", (implying that making art does not contribute to the running of a household) I make art in my head. I suppose my fear of wasting time on making art, keeps most of my work invisible and in my brain. When I do actually get something out, it appears seemingly out of nowhere! But, I'm beginning to see that working this way will not advance my skills.

  • Reply
    September 15, 2010 at 11:54 am

    i think for me its the whole 'time to play' thing. in a society where production is king, playing can be difficult.

  • Reply
    September 15, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Hi! Lyric,

    Your comments toched the "it" nerve, I have recently signed up for a deadline and all I can think is "what if I dont make it." So I shall rethink my way through. I have been given "Art + Quilt as a gift and I amm about to begin reading and working through.

  • Reply
    September 15, 2010 at 4:33 am

    I'm interested in looking at her ideas in possibly a new way.

  • Reply
    Leslie Tucker Jenison
    September 15, 2010 at 3:47 am

    This book enchants with with all the possibilities. I can dive onto a blank sheet of cloth. Paper is much more daunting to me, for some reason. I believe I would enjoy this book a great deal. Thanks for showcasing Diana's work!

  • Reply
    Joy V
    September 15, 2010 at 3:06 am

    That looks like a great book to get interested in journalling. My fear is not in failing, but in not having a go – fear of trying something I am not familiar with.

  • Reply
    September 15, 2010 at 1:52 am

    I've been learning to draw which was a big fear (that I couldn't) that I've carried around for too many years. It's amazing to find that I really can do it. I went back to school last fall to study art. It was scary, but I knew it wouldn't kill me! And little by little, I'm getting better.
    And bookmaking? Just too much fun. I'm trying to learn as much as I can. Taking another class next week, and I can hardly wait.

  • Reply
    Julie ZS
    September 14, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    My "it" is usually about fearing the using of something precious and one of a kind in my work. But once I make myself do it, I realize how silly that is. Amazing how we "fake ourselves out!"

  • Reply
    Jane LaFazio
    September 14, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    I have Diana;s book and DVD and am planning on doing both this fall. I know the minute I get started, I won't want to stop!
    I don't think I'm afraid. At least not with anything with my career. I'll give anything a shot, including giving an hour long talk this weekend–and stretching myself with the topic.

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    This kooks like a lot of fun and I have never journalled before. I would love to try a new technique. My 'it'…… being to critical of my own work and trying to be perfect the first time out. Anything to help change this is welcome!

  • Reply
    Deb H
    September 14, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    This book sounds wonderful – if I'm not the winner, I guess I'll just have to buy it (hint, hint ;o)
    Thanks Lyric!

  • Reply
    Elaine Millar
    September 14, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Looks like a good read and a kick start type of book. I would love to add it to my collection. TU for the opportunity.

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Wow what a great book! Thank you so much for bringing it to my attention! I've been working to overcome my fear of failure with my art work and this looks like a great place to start.

  • Reply
    Suzanne Sanger
    September 14, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I'm pretty good about "doing the work" in cloth, but can't seem to get off the dime with journaling. So maybe it's trying something outside my chosen media that's my "it." At any rate, this book sounds like something that might get me going.

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Hi Lyric,
    I too think that Diana is on to something with this do it anyway thing. I am part of the Sketchbook Project and have thought many ideas and still my little journal sits pristine as the day it was made. I guess that Nike is correct–Just do it. Take care. Lera

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    I would love to try this out. I really need to let go of the insane idea that my journaling is supposed to be done "right"!

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    For me, the "IT" is getting started. It's making that commitment to make something. I am afraid I have no useful ideas, that I can't create something beautiful, and that I have no talent. I acknowledge that there is evidence to the contrary right in front of me. Nonetheless, I fear and I let my feaar control me.

  • Reply
    Wil Opio Oguta
    September 14, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I'm always in for new techniques:-)

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    My 'IT' is where do I start? How do I start?

  • Reply
    Frog Quilter
    September 14, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Would love to try it…

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I have been a fan of Diana's work and I will try to "get loose" and get rid of the fear.

  • Reply
    Linda M
    September 14, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I have no problem trying things in fabric, always tell my students that there's nothing to be afraid of, but I have my own fears of journaling that I've got to get over. This book may be just the ticket.

  • Reply
    Kingfisher Cove Creations
    September 14, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I would love to try this book. I;ve
    tried journaling in the past but not
    very successfully. Now as I am
    approaching my 80th birthday I feel
    that I would really love to get some
    things written, especially concerning
    my fabric work. and there is a fear
    of looking ridiculous, but then who is
    to see, and what does it matter in the
    end. would probably bring back some
    wonderful memories and painful ones
    also. worth a try I think.

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    I love this book! I have been trying to do something like this with Photoshop Elements, but it would be fun to make an original, scan it, and then print it on fabric to quilt. More fun! I was a teacher for over twenty years, and the one thing I tried to impart to my students was that failure was actually a good thing. It teaches you what NOT to do, which is as important as what TO do. Everytime we make a mistake, we learn. If we never make mistakes, we are already adept at that skill, and we stop learning. For me, the learning is where the fun is, because the thrill is so great when you finally arrive.

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    At one time, I wrote in big script on my studio wall: "What are you afraid of?" and: "It's only fabric – they're making MORE!" But it's hard to live by that last creed, especially since I began dyeing all my fabric – I know good and well that sometimes she can't "make more". This has been a continual struggle for me – one that I have tried without success to resolve through my own journaling. But it's all good – as long as I keep plugging away at surface design, art quilting, printmaking, collage. Just keep making!

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    For me the 'it' is moving out of my comfort zone to try anything new! I lost my job two months ago, but I am a healthy, happy person despite that! I can pretty much do what I want creatively. So, what is stopping me? I'm still trying to figure that out. I have taken an extra bedroom and making a studio, I am reorganizing everything, and I'm taking one class at the university! Any motivation would be welcome – the book sounds great! Jamie V in MT

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    My "It" is the fear of wasting my supplies if something doesn't turn out right. Being on a very limited budget it could well be a very long time before I can get more. I am forcing myself to use them anyway, after all what good are they sitting on a shelf? May as well have left them in the store if that's all I'm going to do with them right?

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I think drawing is what unnerves me the most because I can't seem to be satisfied with my results. And the reason I am not satisfied with my results is because I am concerned that others won't "get" it. Will they be able to see that it's the finch that I saw at the feeder? Can they imagine how lovely that that coneflower was? The magic of the hummingbird? I feel insufficient. So how do I not care? Something to work on . . .

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 11:40 am

    "it" for me changes depending on what I'm trying to attempt. At the moment it is learning to sketch – and I've taken the plunge and am taking lessons. The fear is that I will be utterly awful – and why does that matter to me? A point to ponder…..

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Having read your book I have realised that failure is only a process of learning and that it really doesn't matter as long as you take something from it. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Jeanne Turner McBrayer
    September 14, 2010 at 2:50 am

    As I have gotten older, I have gained a lot more confidence and don't worry so much about what other people might think of my appearance, my clothes, my art. Very freeing! Why are we so hard on ourselves most of our lives?

  • Reply
    September 14, 2010 at 12:34 am

    My mom used to tell me there was nothing to fear but fear itself. I think we've all heard it and tried to practice it. But do we always understand what our fears are? Four yearsI lived thru my biggest fear. So I guess becoming fearful again is what I'm afraid of. So I'll have to practice that other thing mom told me and that was just to "deal with it".

  • Reply
    September 13, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    I would love to try this type of journaling. I've tried in the past and I always think mine looks ridiculous and stop. I suppose that is really fear of failure – although no one ever looks at it but me. I need to learn to turn off the perfectionist voice and just do it!

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