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

“It has long been a rite of passage for an artist in New York to set up shop in a loft downtown, such as that mentioned earlier, often in the Soho neighborhood.  Now, these spaces are much sought-after and usually extremely expensive.  After the second world war, when the area was not zoned for dwellings, there were bargains to be had and artists were among the first to live in Soho. Jasper Johns found a loft for himself in the mid -1950’s. Robert Rauschenberg encouraged him-it was what artists did.  Johns  found a building on Pearl Street in downtown Manhattan.

“Around the corner on Fulton Street was Rauschenberg’s fifteen-dollar-a-month walk-up loft that had pressed tin ceilings so low they could be touched, old floorboards with gaping half-inch spaces between them through which the floor below was visible, a bed on a platform a refrigerator, hot plate, shower, and toilet.” – Jill Johnson

Cindy Sherman’s studio is just off the living room.  Her SoHo loft is traditionally furnished and could be a home anywhere, but the studio is another story.  At the time I was there, it was littered with body parts, eyeballs, fake accident victims, magic-store props, and all sorts of gruesome paraphernalia.  She was in the midst of directing a horror film.” – David Seidner

Donald Judd bought a building on Spring Street in Soho in 1968. Ten years later , in search of more space, he moved to an abandoned army base in Marfa, Texas.

In 1909 , Picasso moved to a new place on the Boulevard de Clichy.  Olivier said that Picasso wouldn’t allow the studio to be dusted because the dust would fly up and get stuck on the canvases.  Every couple of months, the paintings would be moved so the studio could be cleaned.

Much later, Picasso had a studio in Vallauris on the French Riviera.  The photographer and art director Alexander Liberman visited the Vallauris and noticed what seemed to be a flaw:

” Picasso works with very little of the painter’s essential – light.  The little light there is comes through the window nearest his easel in a single , intense shaft of sunlight, its blinding brightness making everything around it darker.  Sabartes, Picasso’s lifelong friend and secretary, once said to me. ‘He does not need light….he has his own light from within.’

The Artist’s Mentor – Inspiration from the World’s Most Creative Minds , edited by Ian Jackman

Art Quote of the Day


“Perhaps we require that every pattern have balance ( and we do require it) because we’re human.  Maybe this need for balance stems from the fact that we have only two legs to stand on  We don’t like being “caught off-balance.”  Perhpas it’s this need that makes us so quick to notice when anything is off-balance and about to fall.  We project into the unstable object the same sort of emotional upset we feel when we stumble and lose our own balance.

Take my cousin Peter: The only time he ever gets upset is when he sees a picture that’s hanging off-balance. That some-what askew picture disturbs him so much that he can’t even carry on a conversation or drink a beer, the two things he loves to do most,  until he’s straightened it.  Peter is not unusual; many people react the same way.

On the other hand, I read that Picasso used to go around making sure his pictures were hung a little off-plumb.  He hated it when the verticals and horizontals paralleled the walls and corners of the room.  When pressed for an explanation, Picasso explained that hanging his pictures askew forced people to notice them.

Conversations In Paint – A Notebook of Fundamentals by Charles Dunn

Art Quote of the Day

” The individuality of your artistic voice takes a while to mature,but be reassured, it’s there. Only a very few artists, such as Durer, VanDyck, Bonington, Sargent, and Picasso, did notable work in their early teens.  The overwhelming number of artists  take much longer.  ( on the other end of the scale we find Auguste Rodin, who was thirty-six when he completed his first masterwork, and Milton Avery and Jean Dubuffet, who became full-time painters after the age of forty.  Hokusai tells us that “since the age of six I have had the habit of sketching forms of objects..  Although from about fifty I have often published my pictorial works, before the seventieth year none is worthy.”) It’s clear that the pace of artistic development is more likely to resemble that  of  the proverbial tortoise than than the hare-like course of athletes and some musicians.  ( In the early Renaissance, students were bound to master for twelve years.)  Artists ordinarily take a great deal of time to arrive at the necessary high level of synthesis and coordination between eye, hand and  mind. This process can’t be accelerated by anything except work.

It may happen that you find yourself making art early on that looks fully developed and receives some recognition. Perhaps it is mature, but if you’re honest with yourself, you might have to admit that for you it lacks meaning or roots.  You have discovered that your work is not genuinely yours, and you must reassess where you are going. You need to keep searching for a way of expressing yourself that will elicit the response from you:  “THAT’S ME”  Ben Shahn describes this experience in his early life as an artist:

‘ It was during those years that the inner critic first began to play hara-kiri with my insides. With such ironic words as, “It has a nice professional look about it ,” my inward demon was prone to ridicule  or tear down my work in just those terms in which I was wont to admire it.  The question, “Is that enough? Is that all?” began to plague me. Or, “This may be art but is this my own art?”  And then I began to realize that however professional my work might appear, even how original it might be, it still did not contain the central person which, for good or ill, was myself.”

The Blank Canvas – Inviting the Muse by Anna Held Audette

Art Quote of the Day

” When you have it – creativity, that is –  what do you have?  A good way to start on an answer is to think about creativity the word. It’s a member of a little family of  words including the verb to to create , the adjective creative applied to things like Guernica, the theory of relativity, or Aunt Beth’s cooking, and the adjective creative applied to people like Picasso, Einstein, or Aunt Beth.  Which of these words is central?

I’d say it was creative as applied to things.  The verb won’t do because it is much more general than the adjective.  For example, a person may create a problem, a hurricane create havoc, or a journalist create a stink without any of these outcomes being particularly creative. The kind of creating we are talking about is the kind of creating that leads to creative results.  Creative people are people who often produce creative results.  And creativity is whatever people  who get creative results have.  The idea of a creative outcome or product is the conceptual center; all the other words in the family get their meanings from it.

If creativity is whatever people have that leads to creative results, it might include many things. Creative abilities would be  abilities that make a person’s thinking creative .  A creative style of thinking might be a style  which gives novel ideas a chance by not rejecting them out of hand.  Interest in and commitment to doing creative things would be important.  Neither the enthusiast without ability nor the able  but uninterested person would be called creative.  So we ought to think of creativity as a mix of abilities and many other traits. But often we don’t.. Instead, we think of it as creative abilities alone.  Creativity becomes a kind of “stuff” which the creative person has and uses to do creative things , never mind other factors. If you have so much of it, that’s what you have , and that’s that. We think of intelligence in much the same way .  Intelligence is the “stuff” people have that lets them think intelligently. ”

The Mind’s Best Work by D.N. Perkins

Art Quote of the Day

“You won’t catch me brushing up on Matisse or Picasso.  I prefer to research art created by the mentally ill, the homeless, the insane and the forgotten.  They seem to all have one thing in common-the element of surprise.  And they stir up a connection that I can’t  explain.

That connection is what I felt when I read about the M&M guy. Living in solitary confinement, with three life-sentences, He would be the last guy you would think to have his art reviewed in the New York Times. Yet his work seemed to resonate beyond steel walls and touch a chord in us we couldn’t ignore.

Blogs, newspapers, magazines…. everyone was talking about the guy who saved up his plastic jelly containers and melted M&Ms in them with his saliva to make paint. The bristles of his brush were made from his own hair, secured with foil and plastic wrap.  And so, he painted – small postcards of colorful lines and circles. Circles that had stories to them – stories of regret. Circles of one day after the next.  Circles of the chaos he longed for.  Circles within circles within circles.

And somehow, those of us on the outside connected to the nonsense of it all, for we too live in a world of longings – longing for the future, longing for what once was.  Meanwhile we miss out on today.  Gazing at these 6×4 inch canvases, we hear his voice – sensory deprivation, diminished depth perception and a  life remaining  spent recalling past and questioning the future.  All this is heard through M&Ms and human hair.  He gives us a gift we have forgotten- he gives us today.”

Wide Open –  Inspiration & Techniques for Art Journaling on the Edge  by  Randi Feuerhelm-Watts

Art Quote of the Day

“The  artist is a receptacle for the emotions that come from all over the place ; from the sky , the earth, the scrap of paper, a passing shape, a spider’s web. The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life  off our souls. We all know that art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.”  – Picasso-