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Daybook: The Journal of an Artist

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  746 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Renowned American artist Anne Truitt kept this illuminating and inspiring journal over a period of seven years, determined to come to terms with the forces that shaped her art and life. Her range of sensitivity—moral, intellectual, sensual, emotional, and spiritual— is remarkably broad. She recalls her childhood on the eastern shore of Maryland, her career change from psyc ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 6th 1984 by Penguin Books (first published September 12th 1982)
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Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Rereading this gem again. I like reading through Truitt's journal at least once/year. My favorite passage:

"My mother's moral force radiated from her like a gentle pulsation. Sensitive people picked t up and found her presence delicately satisfying...She was herself only when alone. I used to watch her brace herself for people; even, occasionally, for me. And then watch her straight, narrow back relax, her shoulders drop a little, as she set out for a walk. A few steps away from the house and her
Although my life is different from Anne's I found many inspiring thoughts and ideas in her writing. Her heart laid bare for a glimpse into the challenges facing a mother and artist. Creativity versus survival, doing something meaningful, what your life's work means to you. My internal landscape opened up as I was reading. The answers to our questions do come, but not on our timetable. I was moved by many passages, one of which I'd like to share. Thought provoking and heart awakening :

Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art, biography
This is a wonderful book for many reasons. Anne writes like a poet, choosing her words so carefully and elegantly, one reads slowly in order to allow them to sink in gradually but thoroughly before moving on to the next thought. She writes of her lives: as a child, a student, a wife, a mother, an artist, a single parent, a grandmother, a woman. She writes of her thoughts, feelings and experiences in such a way that help you understand her art, her decisions, and her relationships, but especially ...more
Rose Gowen
Mar 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
How I miss the Harvard Bookstore! I used to go in there all the time, even though I worked in a library, just to be surrounded by the stacks of crisp, fresh new books, and to see what was being published.

I find myself less rich in brand-new books, but since moving, my best book-buying experiences have been at church rummage sales, the library book sale, and the back room of the library. I like the way an odd selection can turn up something I've never heard of before.

I had never heard of Anne Tru
“The most demanding part of living a lifetime as an artist is the strict discipline of forcing oneself to work steadfastly along the nerve of one’s own most intimate sensitivity.”

American sculptor Anne Truitt keeps a loose-limbed diary, including thoughts about her work, inspiration, motherhood, ambition and provision, and it is a motivating record of a driven artist. She was once a nurse and trained as a creative writer, and both of her capacities for generosity and creativity shine through in
Nov 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
I read this for my book club and found the author's reflections on creativity and the challenges of a career in art very interesting, if sometimes slow going. I wasn't familiar with Truitt's art, and this made the sections on her process confusing. I was able to find plenty of pictures of her work online which helped, but I would have loved an illustrated edition (don't know if one exists). I think artists would get the most out of this book, with the caveat that she benefited from a privileged ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
She writes too much about her art. LOL
Reread after a conversation with M. We were talking about Annie Dillard's The Writing Life, and I said she reminds me of Anne Truitt, and to some extent, May Sarton. So I brought out this book again.

Some of my favourite excerpts:

"...In a deeply unsettling realization, I began to see that I had used the process of art not only to contain my intensities but also to exorcise those beyond my endurance, and must have done so with haste akin to panic, for it was a kind of panic I felt when once again
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was not familiar with this artist's work and was led to this book through the Brain Pickings website. About halfway through I went online and googled some of her work to get a sense of what she was talking about regarding the controversy around one of her exhibits. I found the work inscrutable. I kept reading, though, because her voice as an artist, as a parent, and as a woman made me want to know more about how she saw the world and how she then interpreted it in her art. After finishing the ...more
Apr 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
I read this book about 16 years ago...hard to believe! I enjoyed it again but it made me sad this time. When the book ends with her last journal entry, she is 60, single and her children have all left to live their own lives. She has started lecturing about art but is winding down with her own work. Maybe because I am at the age I identify with her more than I did the first time I read this. Her art was difficult for me both times I read her book because I was not moved by what she was doing. Bu ...more
Michele Yates
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I read this 20 years ago and loved it even more for this second reading. Anne Truitt writes of artistic process and domestic responsibilities, and how each informs the other. Very thoughtful, honest and illuminating. A very revealing and fascinating look into the intellect and heart of an accomplished sculptor.
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An artist's journal, in which she muses on her childhood, inspiration, financial worries, medium, locales, etc. Very few interesting insights. While I'm sure this book helped the artist while writing it, it is an exercise in ego to have published it, in my opinion.
Dec 03, 2009 added it
Great insight into the mind of a working artist/mother in the conceptual art world often dominated by men.
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: artists, writers, parents
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
Anne Truitt has three books of her journal writing, this one I read second, after reading her third book. I like the simple format she uses in this book, it is organized by date. She spends time reflecting on her relationship with her children, in particular I appreciated this thought, "The increasing independence of the child has to be met and matched by an increasing independence of the parent. I have found no other way to render this separation healthy for all of us. And it has seemed to me t ...more
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, 2015-2016
I will never look at minimalist art the same way again. Truitt pursuit of ultimate honesty in the way light and color capture feeling ,experience, and thought is powerfully described. The titles she gives to her work is an insight into this: "Remembered Sea," "Jaunt," Second Requiem," and "Landfall," for example. But this journal is also about the struggle to raise a family, be in a family, and yet make time, place, and money to continue her life's work. She is best known for her pillars of colo ...more
Back in the day, when living in Baltimore (another life ago), I was in the audience at the Baltimore Museum of Art when Anne Truitt read a little from her book. She mentioned an experience she had while visiting Japan and naturally that resulted in my eventually reading this journal.

Now, I'm re-reading it (just completed) and, am in a different stage of my life. This book, this time around, has been more of a meditative read, to absorb at the beginning of ending of the day. I could read it again
Ann Tracy
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
a friend lent me this book and i'd forgotten i'd read it back in the 80s while in art school. it was interesting to read it again as i'm close to the age range truitt was when she wrote it. great to be immersed in an artist's day-to-day life, process, and thoughts on art via her journal. my only complaint was at the beginning she went on about how she was so worried about her finances and meeting day-to-day expenses, but then 1/2 way through the book she starts talking about how she quit her job ...more
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
I still remember when I found this book (in an earlier edition, with a better cover), on a tall narrow corner bookshelf at Jay's Bookstall in Pittsburgh, Pa., late on an afternoon, possibly a Friday afternoon, not long before closing, sometime in the mid-1980s. One of my long-held touchstone sentences comes from this book:

"Work is the backbone of a properly conducted life, serving at once to give it shape and to hold it up." -- Anne Truitt
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autobiography, family
I loved reading Truitt's sincere journal about trying to be true to her family and to her art. In fact, I read it several times during the years I was raising my family, mostly as a guide to figuring out my own autonomy with my desire to be creative, and my desire to be true to my calling as wife and mother. I think I will re-read it now that I have a different position with my family and my creativity.
May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reread, memoir, deadtree, 2014, art
Such a lovely book! One of Truitt's main struggles is the struggle between competing roles in her life: her role as mother and her role as artist. She is positively lyrical when talking about that tension and how she navigated it on a daily basis. I listened to the audio version of this, which was delightfully narrated by Truitt herself, but I've decided I need to get myself a print copy because this is a book I'll read again for sure.
Sue Dale
Apr 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great insight into everyday life of an artist. The book is comprised of journal entries by Truitt over a period as a mother who straddles home duties and studio practice. A nice easy read and honest account of the struggle artists face day to day.

Anne Truitt: Wanting What I Can’t Have | Paint later, a painter's blog.
Nov 09, 2007 rated it liked it
A softly interesting, very personal look at being an artist and single mom over decades. While the author is from a different generation (she went to college in the 1930s) and part of the country (mid-Atlantic and south), there was still much that felt very relevant. And I enjoyed her writing--it was like listening to someone I would enjoy getting to know.
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not a quick, or a cheerful read: but worth the effort. The story, set in Indira Ghandi's India, describes harsh reality and troubled lives in a fairly matter-of-fact way. You don't want life to be that way, but it is very believable, and somewhat redeemed by the kindness & humor of even seemingly "lost" characters. ...more
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book moved me so much. Maybe it's that Truitt was also a working mother or maybe she just has a knack for expressing her internal monologue. I enjoyed traveling the three years with her and sharing the experiences of her life and struggles as well. I rarely re-read books but I already feel like reading this one again.
Sep 30, 2016 added it
Shelves: 2016
FINALLY finished. Kept putting it aside and then having to return to the library. A lovely diary by a fascinating lady…a successful working artist and a mother who surprisingly writes with endless love for her children and the process of raising children alongside doing the strenuous work of sculpting and printmaking.
Jul 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-nonfic
This book, and the following two, inspired me to explore themes in painting that have been informing my work for the past three years. Another artist who was also a wife (for awhile, anyway) and mother.
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, sculpture, biography
This is so insightful, I never thought I would relate to some of her observations of feelings. But I did. Especially about balancing making work with your family, job, etc. So glad I sat down to read this.
Sigrun Hodne
A beautiful rendering of the artist's life. I find it especially interesting that the author is a mature woman, a women weaving motherhood and ordinary chores into her life as an artist, giving us a fuller picture of what is to live an artists life.

"I yearn to express what it is to be human."
Ross Mountney
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Am reading this insightful memoir slowly and cogitating on the contents as she brings much comfort in the telling of the Artist's constant and familiar balancing act between work and family/other life.
Ric Dragon
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book on many levels. Before reading it, I had some prejudice... thought it was something else. But no, it´s profound. She wrote two others, as well... one of which just arrived in my mail.
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500 Great Books B...: Daybook: The Journal of an Artist - Anne Truitt 1 5 Jul 11, 2014 08:40PM  

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The artist Anne Truitt was born in Baltimore in 1921 and spent her childhood in Easton. She lived in a house on South Street, just a block from the Academy Art Museum. She travelled extensively before eventually settling in Washington, DC. Her paintings and sculpture are noted for their simple linear qualities and investigation of color relationships.

Critics have often associated her with both Min

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“I notice that I have to pay careful attention in order to listen to others with an openness that allows them to be as they are, or as they think themselves to be. The shutters of my mind habitually flip open and click shut, and these little snaps form into patterns I arrange for myself. The opposite of this inattention is love, is the honoring of others in a way that grants them the grace of their own autonomy and allows mutual discovery.” 11 likes
“ occurred to me that I could use the energy I had been putting into endurance to change my life. Yet the concept of brunt, of accepting and enduring, still seems to me to have a kind of nobility. It is, perhaps, less intelligent, but there is a stubborn selfhood about it that is dear to me. It can be, quite literally, the only way to survive.” 6 likes
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