Clear Seeing Place: Studio Visits

by: Brian Rutenberg (0)

From the salt marshes and moss-draped live oaks of the South Carolina Lowcountry to the New York art world, Clear Seeing Place takes the reader behind the studio door to explore the making of a painter in intimate detail. Brimming with the joy of process and a love of art history, Brian Rutenberg reveals the places, people, and experiences that led to the paintings for which he is well known today. This book is packed with ideas, observations, techniques, and career advice all thoughtfully arranged into six sections designed to inspire artists of all levels, as well as anyone interested in creativity.

Clear Seeing Place is a companion to the artist’s popular YouTube series, “Brian Rutenberg Studio Visits,” and is a love letter to painting written by a painter.

The Reviews

Better late than never. I’m a senior artist. This book and the accompanying video series on YouTube are everything I never learned in art classes. I am on my second pass through the videos (about 74) and will begin reading “Clear Seeing Place” again, as soon as I hit the last page. This book is an absolute treasure of information about creating “abstract”art, successful artist work and personal ethics, showing and selling. What I learned from the book and the videos reignited my passion for sketching and painting. Brian Rutenberg is not just a powerful painter but an excellent and down to earth explainer of all things related to being a painter. My work improved immediately. My passion for painting has returned. My inner (and outer) critics were silenced ... okay, okay ... the volume dropped to near nothing. Why? Because I learned how to keep plugging away and how to put trash in the trash. I can’t say enough good things about this book (and his videos). In the vast majority of art classes I’ve taken, the teacher was not painting or explaining their process. They were giving and assignment, a critique, and a grade. This book and the videos are the exact opposite of that method. Even when Brian Rutenberg speaks of other artists, he brings them to life in HD. This book is thorough yet concise. Enjoy!

"Clear Seeing Place: Studio Visits" by Brian Rutenberg is one of the most introspective books I have ever read. Born and raised in the Low Country of coastal South Carolina, he takes us through very specific moments that unveiled the artist within him. Making his way to NYC when he was a bit older, he shares the various trials he faced but from a very down-to-earth, raw perspective. Brian discusses exactly what a painter should and should not think about when it comes to painting. He elaborates about what painting is and is not and compares it to other pieces of art like photography. As someone who hasn't painted beyond an art class assignment, I feel as though his perspective will allow me to look at an art gallery with newfound perspective. I believe that any artist stands a lot to gain from this book; I appreciate the genuine story of his life. I am sure his children will love reading it when they are older too!

Rutenberg's book is beautifully written and left me wanting to find him on YouTube and watch EVERYTHING. Having recently visited South Carolina, and loving many of the places he talks about, I could vividly picture my own memories of it.How can you not be booked when describing his first memory as "blue," a stool he sat on as a six-year-old as "licorice black," and the continual references to his "complete Star Trek video collection." I particularly loved his description of light. It brought back a flood of childhood memories of visiting my grandmother in Washington state, my own childhood home in the mountains of Utah, and finally, the light of my home here in the Mid-Atlantic . They really are different, but it would really take an artist's eye and intuition to capture them.His writing is fluid, descriptive and intentional. This is my favorite kind of autobiographical work to read, and really enjoyed reading about Rutenberg's journey! I only wish the pictures were in color (perhaps this is just the kindle version?).

While reading this book I felt I was being led on an intimate journey to the heart of an artist. Mr. Rutenberg shares his life from when he was a very young child walking in the garden with his grandfather where he would put his face in the flowers and absorb the colors, to his current life in New York where he says his favorite walk is through Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He says he never aspired to be an artist. He started drawing in first grade, painting in fourth, and declared himself an artist at ten. Along with telling his personal story Mr. Rutenberg talks about art and what it means to him to be an artist. He shares such insights as “the key to color is to try everything without scrutiny, just play. You can't think color; you have to see it.” and “Give your work time. It doesn't matter where you got it, only where you take it.”There is a lot of good, thoughtful information about art within the pages of this book; written by an artist for artists. I recommend this book.

There is a touch of irony in describing a book about the life of an artist as "beautiful", but I can think of no better word to describe it. I truly felt a kindred spirit with the author. While he grew up in the low country of South Carolina, and I grew up in the cold winters of Western NY, I understand his ability to see the world as art. Even as a child, I saw things in words; Rutenberg in colors. The author-artist takes us from South Carolina on his journey to the art world of NYC. Largely introspective, this book gives tips and anecdotes for any would-be artist. I highly recommend this book. If you or someone you know is a painter or any type of artist, this book will offer you an insight and a sense of belonging.I have always appreciated art museums for the historical and intrinsic value that they offer, but I will look at them with a fresh set of eyes now because painters definitely see things differently.

I always enjoy reading books by other artists and this one is really fun. The chapters are short and engaging. Although I'm not sure about his painting style (large and somewhat crude), the stories were very fun. I often pass along my books after I've read them, but I want to reread it a few more times..

Loved it!Couldn't put it down!

“Clear Seeing Place”, for artist and viewer alike, is instantly likable, approachable, conversational. Brian shares his memorable experiences, his vision. processes, and acquired knowledge of the central aspect of painting, freely and openly. “Clear Seeing Place” is the verbal equivalent of a Brian Rutenberg painting. 
His phrases are brushstrokes. Each one is loaded with the richness of information the way his brush is loaded with rich, precise color. 
 In the first paragraphs of the introduction, Brian states, “Humidity made me a painter.” The shape and content of his phrase comes from a depth of soul as does the brushstrokes loaded with shape, color and content. You are unmistakably invited into his world. “Clear Seeing Place” is unabashedly forthright. 
Whether he is talking about Cadmium Red, Keats, Bach, art school, or how one should think about painting, his statements are carefully thought out with the reader’s ear in mind. One gets the immediate sense of how he is as an artist is never far from who he is as a person. Where he comes from holds the most intense, personal colors. Whether or not you are an artist, you should read this book to meet an artist who has paint on his hands and in his heart. All artists need an audience. Brian understands this and cares about your well-being and the art you see, Here’s Brian at the end of a discussion of Keats and Samuel Menashe.
 “A painter should always have the viewer’s back, giving him or her the impression that hidden eyes have seen the painting from every possible angle. so that it’s warmed up and worn in before the viewer ever arrives.”
 It is often said a thin book is a valuable read. “Clear Seeing Place” is that book. As you make your way into his story-telling, his stories never lose energy. Brian nudges you to “come over here. I’ve got something to show you.” You do. and he does, again and again.

A friend recommended me this book and I really enjoyed it. It has good tips and it inspires you to keep doing art no matter what.

I really liked this book. I grew up in the South, not in the low country of south Carolina, but I "got" his descriptions of the heat, the humidity, the flowers, and the mud. I also appreciate his affection and need for solitude. Being creative is a very internal feeling but Rutenberg described the sensations of inward reflection very well.The book brings together his observations and techniques on being a painter in South Carolina. He makes videos of his studio that he shares with people in YouTube, and this book is like those studio visits in written form. But I believe it shows us way more about the author's internal state than those videos could. We get a little bit about how he grew up, his first memories. There are chapters like "Paying Attention," which is about how he came to accept himself as an abstract painter after being against that for many years. Other chapters are "When I Knew", about how he knew he would be an artist and his experiences upon moving to New York City.If you're wondering what the creative process feels like on the inside, or you want to know more about how other artists live and work, and how they bring their experiences to their paintings, this would be a great book for you.

Enjoyed this book very much. As a professional artist myself (Diane Leon) abstract; the story of his process, the influence of his upbringing, education and success was written in an honest manner. He did not need to use ‘art jargon’ for non artists to appreciate what being an artist is like in today’s world. I would recommend this book.Diane

He is a fantastic artist and the the most inspiring teacher. I love his perspective and point of view. His success has made him generous of spirit. He has inspired me immensely. I love him, his books and the U-Tube videos. His work is stunningly beautiful.

Clear Seeing Place: Studio Visits
⭐ 4.6 💛 318
kindle: $7.99
paperback: $13.58
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