Have just finished reading the Agony and the Ecstasy, the Biographical Novel of Michelangelo by Irving Stone, something I recommend everyone in any artistic endeavor to read.  Not because it will make you a better artist but it will make you realize that nothing in life changes where people are concerned.

Working hard and being good at what you do might bring you professional acknowledgement from a few generous fellow artists but it won’t necessarily translate into monetary rewards.

Any ignorance on your part will be taken advantage of by people who want what you have created and the knowledge you have worked to acquire.

This is a beautifully written book that captures all of man’s frailties, weaknesses as well as the enormous work ethic and talent of a selected few.  This book is simply unput-downable.

What particularly resonated with me was whilst mankind might have made enormous technological advances the basic human nature remains the same.  Man’s love of Power, his Greed, his Selfishess remain constant throughout the ages.

On a more positive note was the way potential artists apprenticed themselves and learnt for many years to hone their talent and acquire the necessary skills to carry out the work they were engaged in.

I have long been an advocate for more apprenticeships so that young people who have acquired limited academic knowledge also acquire the practical skills that are needed to become useful in the work place.

And finally there is a lovely idea from Diane Maris who is providing inexpensive creative gift packs for children and adults.  At the price this sounds like a wonderful gift to keep on hand throughout the year for those times when you want to give a gift or to have ready for the holiday period.