Quilter's Connection Quilt Show 2022
Get Smart About Art: Anna Valdez

Are You a Dabber or a Slabber?

I stumbled across a pair of excellent videos from artist, Alice Mumford...

...and I had to share them with you.

In the videos she asks the question: Are you a dabber or a slabber?  I won't be as eloquent as she is in the videos, but the quick and dirty version is:

  • A dabber builds up a painting over time in small bits and pieces with consistent attention.
  • A slabber creates artwork with large shapes, often in a short and intense period of time.

And, of course, many of us are both dabbers and slabbers.

Alice shares a host of examples from well known artists and I immediately recognized that I am a dabber.  I love the work of many slabbers and wish that I could create like that, but in my heart, I'm a dabber.

And if you want to have an impressive art book library like Alice, here are some books on the artists she mentions in the videos - there were a few artists who were new-to-me and I immediately went to look them up:

You can also check your local public library for most of these books. Because art books tend to be expensive, I often check them out from the library first.  If I love it, I'll buy it.  If not, it was free to peruse!

Finally, this is the book that she reads from at the end of the second video:

It's actually an essay about Tolstoy.  From the book description: "...a fundamental distinction that exists in mankind, between those who are fascinated by the infinite variety of things (foxes) and those who relate everything to a central all-embracing system (hedgehogs). When applied to Tolstoy, the image illuminates a paradox of his philosophy of history, and shows why he was frequently misunderstood by his contemporaries and critics. Tolstoy was by nature a fox, but he believed in being a hedgehog."

So, how about you?  Are you a dabber or a slabber?