"Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don't bother concealing your thievery--celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: 'It's not where to take things from--it's where you take them to.'" Jim Jarmusch, an American independent film director.
"There is no blue without yellow and without orange, and if you put in blue, then you must put in yellow, and orange too, mustn't you? Oh well, you will tell me that what I write to you are only banalities." (from a letter by Vincent Van Gogh to Emile Bernard Arles, 6-11 June 1888)
"Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing." Camille Pissarro
"Without emotional content we make pictures; with it, we create art." Gerald Brommer
"Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play." Henri Matisse
"The centipede was happy quite, until a toad in fun
Said, 'Pray, which leg goes after which?'
That worked her mind to such a pitch,
She lay distracted in a ditch, considering how to run."
Mrs. Edward Craster (1871)
"In art the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can inspire." Ralph Waldo Emerson
"If you cut loose, you can soar!" Janet Clay, Pacific Northwest Artist
"I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it." Pablo Picasso
"To make art is to sing with the human voice. To do this you must first learn that the only voice you need is the voice you already have." - David Bayles and Ted Orland, Art and Fear: An Artist's Survival Guide, 1993, 7th printing 2007, p.117
"For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"It is in order to really see, to see ever deeper, ever more intensely, hence to be fully aware and alive, that I draw what the Chinese call 'The Ten Thousand Things' around me. Drawing is the discipline by which I constantly rediscover the world. I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle." Frederick Franck, The Zen of Seeing, 1973
"Let your eyes fall on whatever happens to be in front of you. It may be a plant or bush or a tree, or perhaps it is just some grass. Close your eyes for the next five minutes . . . Now open your eyes and focus on whatever you observed before — that plant or leaf or dandelion. Look it in the eye, until you feel it looking back at you. Feel that you are alone with it on Earth! That it is the most important thing in the universe, that it contains all the riddles of life and death. It does! You are no longer looking, you are seeing." Frederick Franck, The Zen of Seeing, 1973
"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes, art is knowing which ones to keep." Scott Adams, The Dilbert Principal
"The process of drawing is, before all else, the process of putting the visual intelligence into action, the very mechanics of visual thought. Unlike painting and sculpture it is the process by which the artist makes clear to himself, and not to the spectator, what he is doing. It is a soliloquy before it becomes communication." Michael Ayrton, British Artist 1921-1975
"The Small Business's Three Worst Enemies...Thinking Too Big...Thinking Too Small...Thinking Too Much..." Advertisement, Control Data Business Advisors, Inc.
"When you are completely caught up in something, you become oblivious to things around you, or to the passage of time. It is this absorption in what you are doing that frees your unconscious and releases your creative imagination." Rollo May, The Courage to Create
"If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
"I don't use 'compositional devices' in my paintings; I put shapes where I think they 'feel' right to me. Perhaps the so-called experts might analyse them and work out all sorts of mathematical formulae to give reasons for the positioning of the various elements, but that is all pie in the sky. If it feels right, do it...that's my belief!" Robert Wade, quoted in Landscapes in Watercolour by Theodora Philcox
"Everything that I call grammar on primary notions of Art can be summed up in one word: Irregularity. The earth is not round. An orange is not round. Not one section of it has the same form or weight as another. If you divide it into quarters, you will not find in a single quarter the same number of pips as in any of the other three; nor will any of the pips be exactly alike. Take the leaf of a tree—take a hundred thousand other leaves of the same kind of tree—not one will exactly resemble the other. Take a column. If I make it symmetrical with a compass, it loses its vital principle....Don't be afraid to look at the great masters of the best periods. They created irregularity within regularity. Saint Mark's Cathedral in Venice: symmetrical, as a whole, but not one detail is like another!" Auguste Renoir, quotes from his Notebook
"One can thus state, without fear of being wrong, that every truly artistic production has been conceived and executed according to the principle of irregularity." Auguste Renoir, from The Society of the Irregularists, 1884
"There is nothing new in nature, but its countless ingredients are eternally being shuffled into different combinations. There is a lesson in this for the artist, too." Maxine Masterfield in her book Painting Nature with a Free Spirit.
"No tether, no matter how long or how loosely tied, is tolerable to a truly free spirit." Maxine Masterfield in her book Painting Nature with a Free Spirit.
"The good thing about painting from memory is that so much is forgotten." Robert Henri, quoted in John Pellew Paints Watercolors
"If, when facing the paper, you say to yourself, 'I'm an artist,' you haven't a clue as to what to do! If, however, you say, 'I am an entertainer, a shapemaker and an expressive symbol collector,' you know the task ahead and how to proceed." Edgar Whitney
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." attributed to Anaïs Nin (French born American Author of novels and short stories, 1903-1977)
"And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."
T.S. Eliot (From Little Gidding, the last of his Four Quartets )
"I am interested in art as a means of living a life; not as a means of making a living." Robert Henri (A leading member of The Eight, later known as the Ashcan School, a group of artists who picked subjects from everyday urban life. The author of The Art Spirit.)
"To be nobody-but-yourself
in a world which is doing its best, night and day,
to make you everybody else--
means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight;
and never stop fighting."
"What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others." Pericles
"A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people." Edgar Degas
"Don't go an inch without changing color." (Millard Sheets, 1907-1989, one of the California School of Painting)
"When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine." Pablo Picasso
"No matter where you go, there you are." Buckeroo Banzai (neurosurgeon, particle physicist, rock musician, zen warrior) from the 1984 science fiction film The Adventures of Buckeroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension.
"Dance with your painting." Edgar Whitney
"You can lose the essence by detailing a lot of extraneous things." Andrew Wyeth
"Watercolor shouldn't behave, it simply shouldn't." Andrew Wyeth
"Creativity is a celebration of life — my celebration of life. It is a bold statement: I am here! I love life! I love me!" Joseph Zinker, therapist, painter, sculptor, and poet (quoted in The Creative Artist by Nita Leland)
"What another would have done as well as you, do not do it. What another would have said as well as you, do not say it; written as well, do not write it. Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself—and thus make yourself indispensable." Andre Gide, quoted in Complete Guide to Watercolor Painting by Edgar A. Whitney
"Everything can look like a failure in the middle." Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Phd, Harvard Business School
"Be brave enough to live life creatively...what you discover will be yourself." Alan Alda, in a commencement speech (In Watercolor Magic, Feb. 2006, p. 80)
"The search for a meaningful subject is, in reality, a search for ourselves...those subjects that we see with our hearts with as much certainty as those we see with our eyes." Robert Reynolds
"Art, then, is not what the vulgar think, that is to say, a kind of inspiration which comes from I know not where, and which proceeds at random and presents only the picturesque exterior of things. It is reason itself embellished by genius, but pursuing a necessary course and kept in check by superior laws." Eugene Delacroix
"Composition is the art of arranging in a decorative manner the various elements at the painter's disposal to express his feelings. In a painting, each part will be visible and will play its proper role, be it a principal or a secondary one. Everything that has no usefulness in the painting is therefore harmful. A painting comprises an overall harmony: Any superfluous detail would steal, in the mind of the spectator, the place of another detail that is essential . . . "
Henri Matisse, Remarks on Paintings, 1908
[An Exerpt From: Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze [English Translation]. Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present. New York: Prentice-Hall Editions. 1988. p. 95]
"Everyone discusses [my art] and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love." Claude Monet
"Since transparent watercolor best produces fresh, spontaneous work, it makes sense to paint that way when using this medium. That means painting in an impressionistic manner, that is, rendering the first fast impression of the subject, without all the minute detail. To accomplish this, we must do two things as we paint: simplify and symbolize" (Tony Couch, Watercolor You Can Do It, p. 33).
"If you tear your painting into four equal parts and mix them into a pile of other paintings also torn into fourths—and can then instantly pcik out your four parts, your painting was a unit!" Edgar A. Whitney
"We are shape makers, symbol collectors, and entertainers!" Edgar A. Whitney
"Painting in watercolor is like walking a tight-rope; one must find perfect balance between what the paint wants to do and what the artist wants to do, or all is lost" (Mary C. Taylor).
"Texture adds quality to a painting and makes it appear more realistic. Texture draws the eye of a viewer—drybrushing, sponging-on, spattering with paint-loaded brush... Spattered dots become the 'diamonds' that add sparkle even in the darkest shadows" (George Politis).
"I have to create an object which resembles the tree. The sign for a tree, and not the sign that other artists may have found for the tree" (Henri Matisse).
"Painting with the minimum number of colors to achieve maximum result is a sign of sophistication and compositional discipline" (Zoltan Szabo).
"Simplicity can only be achieved by forethought, planning and insight. It actually takes much more effort to create a bold simple painting, than to endlessly worry and poke a picture to death" (Ron Ranson).
"With greater completeness and abstraction, I have attained a form filtered to its essentials" (Matisse).
"Never put more than two waves in a picture; it's fussy" (Winslow Homer).
"Out of clutter, find simplicity" (Albert Einstein).
"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see" (Degas)
"A mediocre man copying nature will never produce a work of art, because he really looks without seeing, and though he may have noted each detail minutely, the result will be flat and without character... the artist on the contrary, sees; that is to say, his eye, grafted on his heart, reads deeply into the bosom of nature" (Auguste Rodin).
"Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing" (Camille Pissarro).
"To get the effect of distance in a flat field or an area of water, the answer is gradation... either from the front to the back, or side to side. It can often solve the problem of what to do with your foreground" (Ron Ranson).
"Don't waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you; well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it" (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
"All painting is an accident. But it's also not an accident, because one must select what part of the accident one chooses to preserve" (Francis Bacon).
"Creativity flourishes when we have a sense of safety and self-acceptance". (Julia Cameron)
"Invite the viewer into the picture and entertain him everywhere." (Edgar A. Whitney)
"Think pattern first, then drawing, then color. The character of your painting is resolved in the pattern scheme." (Edgar A. Whitney)
"Design is like gravity--the force that holds it all together." (Edgar A. Whitney)
"The artist's concern has three subdivisions: (1) perception (2) conception (3) craft. All are subject to development.
"The beginning and end of all literary activity is the reproduction of the world that surrounds me by the means of the world that is in me, all things being grasped, related, created, molded and reconstructed in a personal form and original manner." Goethe
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." Pablo Picasso
"When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have in front of you, A tree, A field—Merely think, Here is a little square of blue, Here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape, until it gives your own naïve impression of the scene." Claude Monet (1840-1926)
"The nature and essence of watercolor is its spontaneity, the swift seizure of a single impression, not the careful building up of design and inclusion of carefully defined detail. That is oil, gouache, or casein painting." (Ed Whitney).
"Plan like a turtle; paint like a rabbit." Ed Whitney
"Take care of the big pieces and the little ones will fall into place." Ed Witney
"When nature's right, use her- when she isn't, spit in her eye." - Ed Whitney
"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. (Martha Graham, quoted in The Artist's Way: A spiritual path to higher creativity, by Julia Cameron. Jeremy P. Tarcher/Perigee, 1992)
"We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own or to other peoples' models, learn to be ourselves, and allow our natural channel to open. (Shakti Gawain, quoted in The Artist's Way: A spiritual path to higher creativity, by Julia Cameron.)
"The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution." (Paul Cezanne)
"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way--things I had no words for. (Georgia O'Keeffe)
"Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. (Winston Churchill)