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For some people this could be a very dangerous
book. If I had read it at the age of twelve, I might
have put aside my edgling writer’s typing machine
and picked up a brush—and embarked upon a life
marked with very different hazards and rewards.
The life stories here are that interesting. The worlds
to which they provide entry could be that alluring.
Karen Haber asked me to write this introduction
because we share a love of art, and she knows that I’m
a compulsive dabbler in it. My wife and I have traveled
all over the world with Karen and her husband Robert
Silverberg, and she knows that for decades I’ve kept
a travel diary of watercolor sketches.
I’ve never been a serious artist, in the sense of
knuckling down to spend the necessary years of study
and practice. But I do carry a notebook and watercolor
spitbox wherever I go, and every Saturday I bike
down to a studio to spend the morning with brush
in hand, staring at a nude woman, supposedly in the
service of art. So my interest in art may be less than
professional, but it’s more than casual.
At this writing, the book itself does not exist, of course;
I only have the draft manuscript of the interviews
and URLs I can type in to see the artists’ various
homepages and galleries. So while I was reading
the manuscript, I felt like I was listening in on
something marvelous that was transpiring in the next
room—but it will be another year before I get a peek
over the transom, to see what was really going on!
For instance, when Scott Fischer says, “I’ll often
use nothing but the polygon lasso tool, and bright-
ness and contrast to build up the planar shapes of a
painting . . . I have whole folders with nothing but
scanned traditional brush marks that I will lay on top
of a piece, playing with opacity, overlay, dodge and
burn, then erasing out areas where I don’t like the
effect, there’s a whole nutshell lesson in how
to use a computer to make a picture. But without
actual pictures to illustrate the process, my visual
imagination can’t nish the job.
Computers and other high-tech tools do gure
strongly in all of these stories, of course. None
of these artists goes through the time-consuming
and nerve-wracking rigmarole that was the life cycle
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