Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Creative Comfort Quotes

I am very depressed and deeply disgusted with painting. It is really a continual torture.
(Claude Monet)

The creative person finds himself in a state of turmoil, restlessness, emptiness, and unbearable frustration unless he expresses his inner life in some creative way. (Silvano Arieti)

How difficult it is to be simple. (Vincent van Gogh)

I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. (Vincent Van Gogh)

Difficulties increase the nearer we approach our goal. (J.W. von Goethe)

Writing is so difficult that I often feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment hereafter. (Jessamyn West)

I have made some progress. Why so late and with such difficulty? Is art really a priesthood that demands the pure in heart who must belong to it entirely? (Paul Cezanne)

I haven't yet managed to capture the colour of this landscape; there are moments when I'm appalled at the colours I'm having to use, I'm afraid what I'm doing is just dreadful and yet I really am understating it; the light is simply terrifying. (Claude Monet in Bordighera, Italy)

In an artist's life, death is perhaps not the most difficult thing. (Vincent van Gogh)

Anyone that witnesses my agitation and frustration in the final hour of a painting would wonder why I even bother. (David Oleski)

I had gotten to the point where I was either going to play the violin much better or I was going to break it over my knee. (Ellen Taaffe Zwilich)

I've spent so long on some paintings that I no longer know what to think of them, and I am definitely getting harder to please; nothing satisfies me... (Claude Monet)

Unless your work gives you trouble, it is no good. (Pablo Picasso)

I have once more taken up things that can't be done: water with grasses weaving on the bottom. But I'm always tackling that sort of thing! (Claude Monet)

It is the artist who realizes that there is a supreme force above him and works gladly away as a small apprentice under God's heaven. (Alexander Solzhenitsyn)

It seems to me that when I see nature I see it ready-made, completely written -- but then, try to do it! (Claude Monet)

I am frequently out of control and, of course, run into lots of trouble. I think I like to create problems for the love of solving them. (Ann Zielinski)

If the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's. (Joseph Campbell)

Friday, February 13, 2009


I find painting and the act of making art exasperating.
It is such a lonely path and yet so totally fulfilling.
Shouldn’t all great art just happen and be a process of great joy and ease?

Until just recently these contradictory feelings have haunted my artist soul. My burdens were eased with the discovery of a catalog of art quotes, . I quickly went to the subject of frustration and found the writings of such noted masters as Monet and Piscassro like scripture before me.

The ideas expressed in these writings confirm that I am not alone in my frustration and hardship. Even the great and honored Michelangelo stated that his life might have been so much easier if he had taken a simpler path early in life. 

“Painting and sculpture, labour and good faith, have been my ruin and I continually go from bad to worse. Better it would have been for me if I had set myself to making matches in my youth. I should not be in such distress of mind.” (Buonarroti Michelangelo) 

There have been times that I have also secretly wished that this burden to create and express had not been laid on my heart. Often another will express how they wish that they had my talent and that they would give anything to be able to paint as I do. “Ha, I think to myself, you think this is all fun? It is agony!” Painting is a process of great problem solving. I am always struggling to express the idea in my head and heart, pushing into uncharted territory, not being able to step back and relax until all of the problems I have created are solved. I never had a special interest in math or science in school. In fact I hated them. I just wanted to draw and paint. Now, as I stand in front of a blank canvas I often rethink my choices. At least in math and science there are right and wrong answers along with certain commonly known formulas to achieve the solution. 

That is not the way in art. The artist must express his own ideas and forge his own path to resolution. The fact that there is no one right solution makes the path even more challenging, and mentally tasking. Even with all of the exasperation I just expressed, there is another side that is ultimately prevails in the heart of the dedicated artist. The deep need to create, to express unspoken thoughts, to release oneself from the daily reality of life and delve into a deeper reality almost on a spiritual level with ones ideas and chosen materials of expression. I live to create and I create to live. 

Although the process can be exasperating it can also be a Zen like experience, as if I am being used by some greater force as a means of expression and I am letting the idea into a new reality through my act of creation. When a painting flows like this it is an awesome magical experience. I had expected all my work to flow gracefully from my heart to the canvas, but alas it doesn’t and most paintings are struggles. 

After discovering the writings of other artists whose work I admire, and hearing the same thoughts of frustration and exasperation as well as the constant deep need for creation and expression, I felt great comfort. I felt a new closeness to those who walked this walk many years before me. I am not alone, this is they way it is supposed to be – not easy. Last week I had the joy of sharing my art and process with a new acquaintance. He had admired my work from afar for sometime. I also shared a bit about my trials and doubts. He was quick to admonish those thoughts in my head. “You have to paint! What a shame if a talent like this was wasted!” Those are the same thoughts I had after finding the quotes of Monet and Pissarro. Their persistence and determination has now become part of my inspiration. Alas, I can move on.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I really do learn from my mistakes, at least in my painting studio that is. My theory is “If it’s already screwed up there’s no risk left.”

At this point I don’t give up. I go beyond. I get bold and do things to the canvas I wouldn’t dare try on a “perfect painting”. In the process I’ve discovered many new techniques and most often the resulting finished painting has an amazing energy taking my art as a whole to a new level.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I want to eat them up. The globs of paint on my palette look delicious!

I’m in love with color just the same as a mother with her babe. Young mothers hunger for their children. They cannot get enough of their scent, their soft skin and beautiful smiles. Haven’t you ever nibbled on a baby’s toes? It’s just that kind of feeling for me.

The subjects or motifs I choose to paint are just excuses to play with color and explore all the wonderful possibilities that seem endless in my mind.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I don’t remember Julie, though my family has talked about her for years. Did I really have an imaginary friend at four or did my parents decide it sounded better to have an imaginative youngster than a crazy kid who talked to herself? Maybe it’s all one in the same.

You see I still do. I talk to myself a lot, and aloud. Most of these animated conversations play out in the privacy of my studio. I pose and answer questions and sometimes argue to defend a point. As most focused and self-directed artists I spend a lot of time alone developing my craft. Luckily, I’m quite good company.