Art Quote for the Day


” I have not worked at all….. Nothing seems worth putting down – I seem to have nothing to say – It appalls me but that is the way it is . – Georgia O’Keefe

” Just dash something down if you see a blank canvas staring at you with a certain imbecility. You do not know how paralyzing it is, that staring of a blank canvas which says to the painter: You don’t know anything……”Vincent Van Gogh

” …. and I thought , enough of this, I’m not an abstract painter, what the hell am I going to do ?  Should I get a job in a shoe store, sell real estate, or what?  I was really depressed by the whole thing, because I felt like a painter, yet I couldn’t make paintings.” – Ralph Goings

As the artists quoted above so vividly attest, discovering that you have no creative ideas is a devastating experience.  It calls into question some fundamental issues about who you really are.. Perhaps you are not the creative person you thought you were- after all, here’s the terrible immutable evidence.  Maybe you’re a fraud.  Between your inability to make anything and your doubts about whether you’ve got “the right stuff”, you’re caught in a vicious circle.

Well, there’s no quick fix, no sure way to order up the flash of inspiration.  What you can do, however, is create a set of circumstances that will increase the likelihood of its happening.  They are, by and large, quite straightforward,apparently hardly worthy of being  parents to a moment of revelation.  Yet if you think about it, you’ll realize that the building foundations of even the most dynamic architecture are not very exciting.  They make possible, but do not foretell, the imaginative structure to come.

The Blank Canvas – Inviting the Muse ,  by Anna Held Audette


Art Quote for the Day


We could take another trite and overused material- feathers , for example-and retrieve their potential as transformative devices.  Think of the Native American war bonnets, the feather capes of the Incas, or the masks of the Sepik River New Guineans.  In each case the feather , vested with symbolic meaning, is used to transform ordinary space and time and  substance , elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary.  Viewed in this way, there are no  “art supplies” because everything is supply for creative expression. Further, all substances, no matter how slight, even beans, feathers, or crayons, have the same four powers, each with infinite range.  Even a feather occupies time and space and is substance and movement.  Winsor & Newton paint, Carrera marble, Belgian linen, rosewood, and glass occupy no additional categories.

There are no humble or limited materials. there are only humble, limited uses – and these uses stem from humble, limited thinking.

The powers of every substance stretch in all four directions of time, space, substance and movement.  the question is, how far does our mind stretch?  How far are we willing to go in pursuit of finding the means to say what has to be said?  How far are we willing to go in the exploration of time, space, substance and movement in order to say what mwe must say?

No More Secondhand Art – Awakening the Artist Within by Peter London

Art Quote for the Day

IMG_3003Media are things that transform thought into action.  All things when moved from the domain of thought to the physical domain exist in time, place, substance, and movement.  Every medium therefore consists of these four qualities.  The basic character of each medium is determined by the degree to which each quality is exploited . It is  important to note that every medium has infinite potential in each category – time, place, substance and movement. And it is WE who choose to manifest any one or more of its potential qualities and conversely to delimit the active expressive presence of the others.

Thought of in this way, the most humble media exhibit infinite potential.  To illustate this point, let’s take the humblest of all media, the cheap and ubiquitous crayon.  Instead of using crayons conventionally to make a picture of a house, a tree, or what have you, we can exploit two rarely used dimensions of crayons, time and space.  We can denude the crayons of their wrappers, exposing cylinders of color.  Suppose we do this to about one hundred crayons, the cost of about one tube of Windor & Newton Rose Madder.. Let’s suspend these miniature cylinders of color from various lengths of thread, tying each end to an overhead grill.  We now have color cylinders in space whose intervals, hues, tones, and values we can arrange to fit our mood or theme.

Suppose we now have a small fan to gently blow through and animate the suspended colored cylinders.  Now, if we want to create a denser, more complex aesthetic environment, we can put in several light sources, each of a different color.  Positioned at various angles, they shine throught the oscillating rain of colored cylinders, casting bands of sifting colors on the surrounding walls.

Why not take this exploitation of the humble  crayon’s potential still further? Suppose we beat a simple rhythm to the movement of the crayons and the shadows and light they project. If still more drama is needed for our intentions, we can stand between the suspended crayons and the wall upon which the light from the bulbs is falling and move to what we see, what we hear, and what we feel.  Voila – the crayon transformed.

No More Secondhand Art – Awakening the Artist Within by Peter London


Art Quote of the Day


When you compare a Rembrandt to a Vermeer, it’s hard to believe they were practically neighbors, living at exactly the same time in a little country about twice the size of New Jersey.  Although both painted light, they saw the light of Holland very differently.  Not only do artists see differently, but often an artist will see differently at different times in his/her  life. If you didn’t know better, you  might find it hard to believe that the works of Picasso’s Rose period were from the same man who painted his Cubist works.  As long as we’re capapble of growth, our opinions are subject to change.

The artist must always be specific about how he/she  wants you to see nature in his/her  painting.  He/she really has no choice; a painting is merely  an arrangement of fixed  areas of color on a flat surface.  The artist must lay down definite shapes that can never move once the painting is finished. If the artist wants you to see nature in more than once way, he must paint more than one picture.  That’s why many artists, like Monet, paint in series.

When you look at a painting, you do not see the subject as the artist saw it; you see the subject as the artist wanted you to see it. The artist has an idea about what constitutes the reality of vision.  Understand other artist’s ideas of vision so that you can find a way of seeing that’s right for you. Whatever idea of vision is true for you is  as valid as any other.

There are at least seven different ideas about what constitutes the reality of vision:

Through the Window Realism – what you see is what you paint. the picture represents everything you would see exactly as you would see it through a window or a door.

Selective Realism – the selective realist says you can’t possibly see every single object that’s in  front of you, let alone paint it. There’s just too much. Only three or four objects may stand out,so that’s all you paint.

Light and Shade Realism – unless you’re a bat , you can’t SEE in the dark. The only reason we see is because light strikes the retina . Vision is just light and dark and what we perceive as dark is simply the absence of light. Therefore, the only way to paint is to capture the way light falls on a surface and is reflected to the eye.

Focus and Fringe Realism – the actual image you perceive on the retina is clear only in the middle of the field.  Surrounding this clear center of sharp-edged interest is a blurred fringe that grows increasingly blurred toward the edges. Thus visual realism demands a clear center of interest at the focal point, which then shades off into less clarity.

Fringe Realism / Impressionism – since light is the only thing that stimulates the eye, to be true to vision, paint only the pattern of light that impinges on the retina.In Impressionism there are no “things”, only light-reflecting surfaces.

Dynamic Realism – nature is seen as being in constant change. Similar to Impressionism in that  it is not about objects as things. Rather , objects are just  planes with a tensional relationship to each other.

Dream-World Realism – paintings are images that appear in the artist’s mind.

Conversations in Paint – A Notebook of Fundamentals by Charles Dunn

Art Quote of the Day

Many , if not most, artists have music on in the background while they are painting or drawing because there is a natural rapport between these two art forms.  In certain forms of improvisational music, like jazz, the musician and visual artist are both relying heavily on their sense of intuition to guide them.  The process of improvisation is more apparent in music than in visual art because you can usually hear the experimentation in the music, but you can’t always see when an artist is improvising rather than following a predetermined plan.  During some of my lectures, I’ve demonstrated that it is just as reasonable to describe a painting in vocalized sounds – humming, whistling, yelping, gurgling, etc. – as it may be to describe a piece of art in conventional language, but I may be quite alone in that assertion. ” -Dean Nimmer-

” I make my paintings listening to live music that is being performed in front of an audience in bars or jazz music clubs. In other words, I set up my canvas and materials right there in the club, and I paint directly when the group is playing.  These paintings are my interpretations of the sounds, rhythms , and movements that I hear and see at these events.  My paintings are purely spontaneous and impromptu expressions of the music I hear.  I paint what I feel subjectively, rahter than trying to ‘picture’ what I hear.  This type of painting has helped me break down my own barriers between painting what I see and painting what I hear in music, and that process is a new visual language in oil paint.” -Kristen Mills

Art from Intuition – Overcoming Your Fears ande obstacles to Making Art by Dean Nimmer

Art Quote(s) of the Day

“Cultivate and value the skill of allowing thoughts and ideas to rise from your creative depths unhindered by the filters of logic, critique or worries about other people’s opinions.  Have you ever come up with a completely unexpected and fully useful solution to an artistic challenge in the middle of the night or just upon waking? How about while driving when your mind was not even trying to solve the problem?  Where did those ideas come from and how did they make it to your conscience mind?  What kept them from arriving sooner? What else is held in the depths of our  brains?   DIG DEEP .

Access encourages use.  Make a practice of keeping art supplies within easy reach.  Play by yourself, play with friends.  Be silly, be serious.

What better centerpiece could there be for a dining room table  than a container of colored pencils and a stack of paper?

Paper, (in sheets or as a “tablecloth”) , pencils, colored pencils, crayons, paintbrushes, watercolors, acrylics, water containers, glue sticks, scissors, old magazines, glitter, magnetic poetry, clay, rubber stamps, a digital camera or polaroid and film….

As much as possible, invest in the best equipment you can.  Good pens, good brushes, good computers, software and digital equipment.  Ride a good chair or stool.  Be a snob when it comes to the tools of your trade becasue good tools mean faster and more efficient work.  You deserve equipment that will keep up with the speed and vision of your creative output.  On the other hand, never let a lack of the good stuff hold you  back; creativity and resourcefulness can always compensate.”

Creative Sparks – An Index of 150+ concepts,Images and Exercises to Ignite Your Design Ingenuity by Jim Krause

Art Quote of the Day

” Why is it that dexterity, knowledge of art, and taste do not necessarily add up to what we seek in art?  What ingredient is missing whose presence would make the work throb with vitality and invite us to live more fully – or at least to SEE more fully- as a consequence?

This is not at all to say that dexterity, knowledge, and taste are unnecessary components of art that DOES move us. It is to say that they are insufficient in themselves and that other qualities of mind and spirit must be present for these constituents to spill over into an art with the power to move us to tears, laughter, or silence.

Unless a couragous stance to life is coupled with these ingredients, tedious and shallow things will be made.  Unless a capacity to dream  and fantasize is there, derivative things will be made.  Without an unflinching sense of self, the work will reign hollow and will remain unconvincing.  Unless one wanders into territory that is perplexing, mysterious, overwhelming, the work will be pedestrian and predictable , and so will we.  To cultivate these “other” constituents of art and life, and so improve one’s life , and consequently one’s art, the creative encounter must be discovered and employed.

In pursuing a vital confrontation with life and our own creativity we are not interested in putting art and ourselves in the service of pretty things or  novel things, or even in the mere exposure of ourselves.. We want  to reclaim the actual  power of art.  Throught the creative encounter we seek to facilitate our private and communal evolutiion so that we may become who we prefer to be.”

No More Secondhand Art – Awakening the Artist Within by Peter London

Art Quote of the Day

” When Philip Guston was asked how he decided what he was going to do  next, he replied that sometimes he would try something he’d never seen before.. Or you could go just partway in this direction and ask yourself, “What if?”  What if you used only cool colors, or made everything as ugly as possible? What if your dog image split in half and its owner appeared in the middle, your perfect white geometric forms were invaded by some neon organic ones, your small,delicate plaster piece became ten times as big and was cast in rubbery plastic instead?  “What if?” has been a persistnet theme in twentieth-century art and a major influence on its revolutionary character.

One of Leonardo da Vinci’s suggestions for stimulating the imagination was to “look at crumbling walls, glowing embers, clouds or mold, because in these  irregular shapes one can find strange inventions just as we are apt to project words into the sound of church bells.

Unfortunately, nothing comes of nothing: so at all costs, try to keep working.  Just looking at a blank sheet of paper is an absolute guarantee of failure.  If none of the preceding suggestions have pried your creative powers loose, you may need to adopt a disciplinary approach.  Set yourself a daily task. The task you decide on should be of limited duration each day (no more than an hour or two) but moderately demanding-like physical exercise.  It should make you feel that you have done something,yet not wear you out so that you fail to continue on  successive days.

The Blank Canvas – Inviting the Muse by Anna Held Audette

Art Quote of the Day

” Another dilemma that confronts many students occurs when they have been working on both abstract and representational pieces.  They are equally  interested in the two directions and at the same time feel they are suffering from a visual split personality.  Admittedly this is a problem, but not the hopeless one it might seem.  Contrary to what you might suppose, these two modes of expression are not irreconcilable opposites.  They simply allow for responses to different aspects of the same phenomena.  Artists working in a representational vein are concerned on some level that the subject of their visual experience be identifiable.  Nonobjective artists dwell  on components of visual experience in ways that do not necessarily add up to anything other than these components.  The important point is that they have a common base of departure.  Many  artists have commented on this frequently close relationship.  Charles Sheeler’s work is representational, but he wrote, ” I had come to feel that a picture could have incorporated in it the structural design implied in abstraction and be presented in a wholly realistic manner.”  Wayne Thiebaud said in connection with his painting that realism seemed ‘alternately the most magical alchemy on the one hand and on the other the most abstract intellectually.’  Overtly , Mark Rothko’s abstract paintings couldn’t look more different from Thiebaud’s, yet Rothko wrote, “I am not interested in relationships of color or form or anythign else… I am interested in only expressing the basic human emotions – tragedy, ecstasy, doom and so on….And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationships, then you miss the point.”  Richard Diebenkorn, who worked as both a representational and an abstract painter, made the conncetion this way: ” Abstract means literally to draw from or separate.  In this sense every artist is abstract….. a realistic or non-objective approach makes no difference.  the result is what counts.”

The Blank Canvas – Inviting the Muse by Anna Held Audette