Art Quote for the Day

Anais Nin:

I cling to the world made by the artists because the other is full of horror, and I can see no remedy for it.  Diary entry , May , 1936

In the small towns of California the occasional absence of inhabitants, or animation, can give the place  the air of a still life painting.Thus it appeared for a moment in the eyes of a woman standing in the center of an empty lot.

She stood motionless and became , for a moment, part of the still life until a station wagon arrived and friends waved at her as they slowed down in front of her. She ran swiftly towards them and helped them open the back of the car and unload paintings and easels which they all carried to the empty lot.

The woman in slacks became intensely active, placing and turning the paintings at an angle where the sunlight would illumine rather than consume them.

Cars began to stop and people came to look.

One visitor said, ” These trees have no shadow.”

Another visitor said: ” The faces have no wrinkles. They do not look real”

” I have never seen a sea like this,” said another spectator

The woman in slacks laughed and said:  “a painting should take you to a place you have never seen before. You don’t always want to look at the same tree, the same sea, the same face every day, do you?”

But that was exactly what the people wanted to do.  They did not want to uproot themselves. They were looking for duplicates of their surroundings, a portrait of their grandmother or of their children.

The painter laughed . They liked her laughter. They ventured to buy a few of the smaller paintings, as if in diminutive sizes they might not be so dangerous or change the climate of their living room.

“I’m helping you to tell your house apart from your neightbor’s”  , said the painter.

The light grew dim. the painter and her friends packed the remaining paintings and drove away.

excerpt from COLLAGES by Anais Nin

Art Quote for the Day

” I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically. In whom feelings are much stronger than reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me.  Anything I can not transform into something marvelous , I let go.  Reality doesn’t impress me, I only believe the intoxication , in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me,  I escape , one way or another.. No more walls.”  – Anais Nin

Art Quote for the Day

Q: Now I hardly like to ask what significance painting can stil have, in relation to that responsibility of grasping reality.

A: It’s hard to say whether – as people do sometimes assume – painting in the past had more effect and more reality, on the grounds that it was better understood, or more popular, or was always on view in the churches to everyone.  But painting still has a reality and an effect now. It is shown and bought and discussed, and quite a lot of effort goes into all of this .  And so long as the art  justifies the effort, by being interesting enough, then in a sense that will do for now.

Q: It might be possible for pictures to launch something like a leap in perception or in consciousness.  Someone might suddenly look at things differently, react to them with more doubts, or with more involvement.  Indifference might be overturned by pictures.

A: I believe it might. But I’ve got nothing to say on that subject.

Q:  You have no desires in that direction yourself:

A:  Of course I have – it just doesn’t do any good to take on that kind of elevated responsibility.  We all know, don’t we, what well-intentioned paintings look like.

Q: Kasper Konig once showed your figurative paintings – the cycle 18 October 1977 – and abstract paintings in direct succession, in order to show that the theme is the same.

A: He was right to do that.  Even so, it’s difficult, because figurative paintings are always more attractive than abstract ones.  As soon as there are persons or objects to be seen, you get more interest.

Q: In 1968, in the period of the Grey Pictures and the Four Panes of Glass, there is a double panel called WAY THROUGH. It  gave me a sense of a sacrifice, in the joyous, pagan sense of the word; giving something up and getting something in return.  Did it feel like leaving something behind you, shaking something off, slipping away from it, in order to get to something different?

A: Certainly. And for that you always have to give something up, or destroy it, or scratch it out – as in this little abstract here.

Q: Let’s stay with scraping off for a moment. Is this removal of painti an agressive thing?

A: Yes, certainly.

Q: It has something to do with injury.

A:  Yes, with injury and with taking something that has been made and destroying it, subtracting it, scratching it out.  And then the pleasant feeling that you can get something else in return.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote of the Day

A
Q : Do you believe in your own paintings?

A: There are few that I like, but I wouldn’t go so far as to stand up and say I believe in them.

Q: But surely you ought – otherwise why go to all that trouble?

A:  Of course, I have to believe that I can produce something useful.  And the pleasure of making counts for a lot in painting- as when someone’s making music.  There’s no room for doubt.

Q:  doubt as to what?

A: That it might make no sense, or be unnecessary or passe’

Q: Doubt as to the possibility of still making a picture  you can believe in?

A:There are so many believable pictures in the world, and we love them; we travel long distances to see them.  We need them . And there are some people who need to make picutres themselves.

Q:  How does this question of  need relate to your earlier statement that you were looking for the maximum possible indifference?

A: This was an attempt at self-protection – saying that I was indifferent, that I didn’t care, and so on.  I was aftaid my pictures might seem too sentimental.  But I don’t mind admitting now that it was no coincidence that I painted things that mattered to me personally- the tragic types, the murderers and suicides, the failures, and so on.

Q: Is the painted picture closer to the reality or to the appearance?

A: In one sense it’s closer to the appearance, but then it has more reality than a photograph, because a painting is more of an object in itself, because it’s visibly hand-painted, because it has been tangibly and materially produced.  That gives it a reality of its own, which then as it were substitutes for the reality of the cup.

Q: So can a painted appearance tell us more about reality?

A: Perhaps it can, because it’s more unsettling.  It’s always more or less different from reality, and that’s unsettling. You ask more questions.

Q: You get closer?

A: Yes, closer to our relationship with reality.  The cup on its own is boring.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote for the Day

5 May 1990

What sort of occupation is this, in which you can afford to be tired, or not in the mood – in which you can be off form for days or weeks on end and not do a thing?

24 October 1990

It doesn’t seem functional that we dwindle away and end our lives, just when we have learned so much.  And then the next generation has to spend decades slaving to regain the same standard of experience that has been reached long before.  I know that’s rubbish.

The much – maligned ‘art scene’ of the present day is perfectly harmless and even pleasant, if you don’t judge it in terms of false expectations.  It has nothing to do  with those traditional values that we hold high ( or that hold us high). It has virtually nothing whatever to do with art.  That’s why the ‘art scene’ is neither base, cynical nor mindless:  it is a scene of brief blossiming and bushy growth, just one variation on the never-ending round of social game-playing that satisfies our need for communication, alongside such others as sport, fashion, stamp-collecting and cat-breeding.  Art takes shape in spite of it all, rarely and always unexpectedly; art is never feasible.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote for the Day

12 September 1990
Accept that I can plan nothing.
Any thoughts on my part about the ‘construction’ of a picture are false, and if the execution works, this is only because I partly destroy it,or because it works in spite of everything – by not detracting and by not looking the way I planned.
I often find this intolerable and even impossible to accept, because, as a thinking, planning human being, it humiliates me to find out that I am so powerless. It casts doubt on my competence and constructive ability. My only consolation is to tell myself that I did actually make the pictures – even though they are a law unto themselves, even though they treat me any way they like and somehow just take shape. Because it’s still up to me to determine the point at which they are finished, (picture-making consists of a multitude of Yes/No decisions, with a YES to end it all). If I look at it that way, the whole thing starts to seem quite natural again – or rather Nature-like, alive- and the same thing applies to the comparison on the social level.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote for the Day

Interview with Sabine Schutz (cont)

Q: In 1976 you began to paint abstract pictures, because you wanted something that you cxouldn’t visualize in advance. In doing so, you invented a method that was absolutely new to you. Was that an experiment of some kind?

A: Yes. It began in 1976, with small abstract paintings that allowed me to do what I had never let myself do: put something down at random. And then, of course, I realized that it never can be random. It was all a way of opening a door for me. If I don’t know what’s coming – that is, if I have no hard-and-fast image, as I have with a photographic original- then arbitrary choice and chance pay an important part.

Q: How do you manage to direct chance in such a way that a highly specific picture with a specific statement comes out of it – because that is your stated intention, isn’t it?

A: No, I don’t have a specific picture in my mind’s eye. I want to end up witha picture that I haven’t planned.This method of arbitrary choice, chance, inspiration and destruction may produce a specific type of picture, but it never produces a predetermined picture. Each picture has to evolve out of a painterly or visual logic: it has to emerge as if inevitably. And by not planning the outcome, I hope to achieve the same coherence and objectivity that a random slice of Nature (or a Readymade) always possesses. Of course, this is also a method of bringing in unconscious processes, as far as possible. I just want to get something more interesting out of it than those things that I can think out for myself.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote for the Day

21 July 1989
Nature/Structure. There is no more to say. In my pictures I reduce to that. But ‘reduce’ is the wrong word, because these are not simplifications. I can’t verbalize what I am working on: to me, it is many layered by definition; it is what is more important, what is more true.
Everything you can think of – the feeblemindedness, the stupid ideas, the gimcrack constructions and speculations, the amazing inventions and the glaring juxtapositions – the things you can’t help seeing a million times over, day in and day out; the impoverishment and the cocksure ineptitude – I paint all that away, out of myself, out of my head, when I first start on a picture. That is my foundation, my ground. I get rid of that in the first few layers, which I destroy, layer by layer, until all the facile feeblemindedness has gone. I end up with work of destruction. It goes without saying that I can’t take any short cuts: I can’t start off right away with the work in its final state.
The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote for the Day

ACTION PAINTING

Action painting is just what the name suggests: painting with pure abandon, dripping and spilling colors all over the place with no particular idea or plan in mind

In the 1950″s , Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and other abstract expressionist painters introduced action painting  to the art world. However, long before that (probably since the advent of liquid paint) , generations of young children practiced action painting.  It makes sense that  children would be the first to see how much fun it is to toss and smear paint around without wondering if what they were making was somehow great art.  The fact that the abstract expressionists made this kind of child’s play into an art form gives us adults a great excuse to play with paint, color, and texture just to see what comes out in the process.

One of the unique things about action painting is that the resulting picutres are a visual record of the artist’s “dance” that created the painting in the first place.  Action painting emphasizes the dynamics of the painting process with a focus on movement , gestsure, and free-form play.  This approach is a good place to start using your intuition because it allows you to use materials freely and to explore movement, spontaneity, and dynamic change without exerting overt control over the painting process.  Action painting can involve your whole body- not just your  hands – and allow you to use  new tools and movements to make a work of art

Art from Intuition – Overcoming Your Fears and Obstacles to Making Art by Dean Nimmer   ( contains more than 60 drawing and painting exercises).