The Nook (01): 365 Postcards for Ants by Lorraine Loots

Flat lay image for book review of Loraine Loots' 365 Postcards for Ants

When I was a child, I loved reading everything I could get my hands on.  I started out with the Highlights Magazine (my parents recently bought a subscription for my toddler daughter) and graduated to chapter books.  My favorites were Choose Your Own Adventure books, The Sweet Valley High series, and The Baby-Sitters Club.  Do you remember your favorite books from childhood?  Fast forward (mumble mumble) years, and I still love reading.  These days, I lean towards business books and art books that provide a dose of inspiration.  I literally have tons of books (okay, maybe not literal tons, but you get the drift), so I'm starting a new series on my blog to share some of my favorites.

First up is one of my favorite art books.  A couple of years ago, I came across miniature art masterpieces on Instagram by South African artist Lorraine Loots.  Being a sucker for anything in tiny form, my first thought was, "Oh, how cute!"  But, when I really looked at them, I got beyond the darling size and was blown away at how detailed they were.  In full fangirl mode, I kept raving to my husband about how amazing she was and encouraged him to check out her traveling exhibit in person while he was doing a summer program in NYC.  He, too, was impressed.  A few months later, I was surprised by a package with a South Africa postmark that contained her book, 365 Postcards for Ants.

SYNOPSIS

365 Postcards for Ants is the result of the ultimate 365 project.  Like many artists (e.g., photographers), Lorraine Loots decided to take on a daily creative project on January 1, 2013.  She vowed to create one painting each day of the year and share it online.  While it may seem that the tiny size was a way to be unique and stand out in the crowded market, Loots said that she "chose to paint in miniature for the practical reason that it would offer [her] that achievable goal."  This book contains each dated image from that first year, complete with a description.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE BOOK

One of the things that I love about this book is the diversity of the paintings.  While Loots started out with painting her own ideas, she also took requests from her followers on social media.  This knowledge makes it feel like a community project to which we can all feel connected.  I'm also blown away by how detailed the images are, especially when each is about the size of a dollar coin (see image above).  You need a magnifying glass to fully appreciate how talented she is, which makes studying her art feel like play.  While some may be skeptical about whether she really created these in miniature form vs. scanned them and reduced the size, a quick look at this time-lapse video created by Gareth Pon shows Lorraine Loots in action, using her finger nails as her palette. 

TAKE AWAY/ACTION STEP

Set big goals, but be practical in your approach to achieving them.

Pinterest image for 365 Postcards for Ants

What is your favorite art book?