Friday, August 23, 2013

G191 Learn, Create and Teach; A Guide to Building a Creative Life

Title of the book: Learn, Create and Teach 

Author: Clara Lieu 

Publisher: CreateSpace 

Publishing Date: 2013

ISBN: 978-1490928968


Whether you are a student, professional, or teacher of the arts, this book delivers succinct, practical, and candid advice that addresses both common concerns in the creative path and the real-life challenges an artist faces in the real world.

Breaking down the creative arc into “student,” “professional,” and “teacher” reinforces that we all have something to learn, to create, and to teach. Addressing universal problems, fears, and roadblocks faced by artists, this book offers solutions, hope, and motivation.

Those starting their art career will value the tips and strategies for becoming known (“Be able to sum up your work in a single sentence.”) as well as staying motivated (“Never ever stop making your art.”). Teachers will gain insights from not only my experiences but also the perspectives of my colleagues, mentors, and students. This easy-to-digest volume has advice that can be readily put into practice by anyone

Other works:

Clara Lieu also has contributed or wrote , and from reading her book she is an artist who does sculpting and painting.

Background of author:


The United States 


twitter username


member since
May 2013

I am a visual artist and an adjunct professor at the Rhode Island School of Design. In the past I have taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, at Wellesley College, and at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. For four years I was the Director of the Jewett Art Gallery at Wellesley College.

My work has been exhibited at the International Print Center New York, Bromfield Gallery, the Danforth Museum of Art, the Currier Museum of Art, the RISD Museum of Art, and the Davis Museum and Cultural Center.

Theme of the book:

There is a way to make things work whether you're a student, professional or an art teacher.

Problems addressed:

Although I hadn't taken art lessons, and my art involves creation of pictures with words, many artists seem to struggle with issues of art such as lack of work, or fear or and so forth. The advice is straightforward and written plainly on how to get over the issues.

Summary of content:

There is a way to make art blossom no matter what field you're in.


"At every point in one's creative arc, there is always something to learn, something to create, and something to teach. The three intertwined roles of "student", "professional" and "teacher" are critical to living a creative life." (3)

Main points:

The book is divided into three sections titled student, teacher and professional where Clara Lieu gives important advice for each student. The chapters are very short and the points are common and straight-forward. I will take five from each section.

I. Student

1. Show up on time

4. Avoid Whining and excuses

6. Have no fear

7. Confront your weaknesses

8. Your past is a curse and a blessing

II. Professional

26. Make time

29. Believe

31. Be Ready

32. Hold onto your ideas

33. Create opportunities

III. Teacher

45. Start rough

47. Have Patience

49. Have visible passion

52. Push your students

57. Be human

The Most commonly asked questions in art class

Why its interesting/not interesting: 

While the advice is easily written and easy to understand, for some odd reason I felt somehow lukewarm towards the book. But it does offer an interesting perspective on what its like for artists to live and the challenges they face. I guess being a writer presents different sort of challenges in someways, although I imagine that any chosen creative field is in the same way.

Addressing Issues:

Let's say a student is struggling with an art class, or perhaps doesn't understand what's expected of them. By reading the book, they can understand what teachers expect and want to see. The book also offers helpful advice towards professionals looking for exhibit, and also offers advice to teachers too.


Its hard for me to say whether I agree or disagree because its different for me and I haven't experienced life of an art student or a professional or a teacher. I studied history in class, and all that involved was reading and writing, and in first semester I was lucky that I had some teachers helping me learn how to identify arguments and how to write the papers they were searching for. Its a skill I hope I won't forget.


I think a lot of sources that were used were the author's personal anecdotes and experiences.


For something quick reference and easy to understand I would recommend this book. The author doesn't really go into in-depth issues and she's straightforward with advice. There is nothing complicated in her writing.

Quick Notes: This is a review for Making Connections.

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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