Creative Authenticity - Book Reviews

Fearless Reviews

Artist and teacher Ian Roberts takes a no-nonsense approach to creativity.
"As far as expressing yourself is concerned, you just have to plunge in, fears and all. . . . I'm not a big believer in the books and courses that advocate going into creativity rituals and altar-making and mask-making in order to get unstuck . . ."

Roberts' own work has been featured in galleries in the U.S. and Canada. He has painted for over 40 years, and has taught landscape painting in France and Italy for a decade. He acknowledges that being a representational (non-abstract) painter has made him "until recently a dinosaur in the contemporary art world." Nonetheless, he offers spare, direct insights that are timeless and resonant for artists in any medium.

Though Roberts presents his ideas in the context of painting, he is explicit that "this book is for artists and writers," and his discussions about painting are all perfectly apt as metaphors for writing. " When we start to paint with that sense of the visualized whole somewhere in our attention, we start to commit to marks and strokes of paint that will represent it. . . . Then sooner or later we have the 'ahhhh, no' experience as we realize that what is coming up is not corresponding to what we had in mind. . . . You can abandon the initial idea for what is currently suggesting itself. You can regroup and continue towards the original idea. Or you can, in a blind hope that things will work out, just keep applying paint to canvas."

Each of these 16 "principles" stands on its own as a miniature essay. Perhaps Roberts is correct to be dubious of "books and courses" that purport to awaken creativity, but his own highly readable and honest pieces-on topics such as Communication, the Dance of Avoidance, and Searching for Beauty-may well serve to lend courage and jump start your own creative day's work.

The Midwest Book Review

A landscape and gallery painter of over 40 years' experience, Ian Roberts has also incorporated the questions and input of over 200 students in Creative Authenticity: 16 Principles to Clarify and Deepen Your Artistic Vision. A very helpful guide to unlocking one's creative potential, Creative Authenticity debunks the "van Gogh Syndrome" and myth that genius requires torment; addresses the almost universal necessity of dealing with natural tendencies to procrastinate; presents effective working methods; shows how to reap ideas from everyday life, and so much more. Enthusiastically recommended reading for anyone wanting to engage in their own artistic aspirations, Creative Authenticity transcends its focus upon painting to serve as an inspirational guide to artists of all mediums.


Ian Roberts, a painter for over 40 years, draws on his experience as artist and teacher to convey some ideas about creativity in a clear, friendly, and succinct way. It's a small book (5x7.5") that could help readers in a big way if they've run into personal and practical obstacles in their efforts toward creative expression.

New Age Retailer

This how-to gold mine contains valuable suggestions for bringing any original idea into form in the tangible world and offers great reading too.