Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lessons from the Dead

copyright Hannah Phelps
Pumpkin Wave

Here are some words of wisdom, humor and commiseration from some of my favorite artists who are no longer with us.   In the spirit of Halloween, there is a round coven of them.

"I never draw what a wave looks like, - I draw what it does."   
- Charles H. Woodbury, American, died 1940

“Learn to look for essentials and you’ll find that both painting and life are simpler than you suppose.”
- Emil Gruppe, American, died 1978

“ By and large I see a mess; it’s always for me unbelievably complicated.”  
- Neil Welliver, American, died 2005

 "To use all this for my own expression. That counts above all. It will be my own or nothing. May be both!!!"
- Blanche Lazelle, American, died 1956

“Spring is merely a state of the mind."
- Charles Burchfield, American, died 1967

“In every picture I’ve painted there came a time when it was impossible to continue. There was a hill I couldn’t climb. It’s then when that pressure bears down on the solar plexus, that you must keep on!”
- Cecelia Beaux, American, died 1942

“My work is going badly.....I made an attempt in the field, but the moment I had set up my easel more than fifty boys and girls were swarming about me, shouting and gesticulating....On a boat one has another level of difficulty. Everything sways, there is  an infernal lapping of water; one has the sun and the wind to cope with, the boats change position every a result of all this, I am not doing much....” 
- Berthe Morisot, French,  died 1895

“....the function of the artist in life: he must accept in deep singleness of purpose the manifestations of life in man and great in nature, and transform these into controlled, ordered and vital expressions of meaning.”
- Lawren Harris, Canadian, died 1970

“Know what the old masters did ...but do not fall into the conventions they established. They made their language - you make yours.” 
- Robert Henri, American, died 1929

"It seems as if those shimmering seas can scarcely bear a hand’s touch. That which moves across the water is scarcely a happening...It’s more like a breath, involuntary and alive, coming, going, always there but impossible to hang on to...Only spirit can touch this." 
- Emily Carr, Canadian, died 1945

“I don’t paint things, I paint the difference between things.”
- Henri Matisse, French, died 1954

“And so I started to try not to duplicate nature, but to endeavour to make my onions, etc., obey me, and not me them. To add my mind (aestheticism) to their contours and let my eyes be more controlled by my brain...”
- Margaret Preston, Australian, died 1963

“We are going after the money there is in art, but the art is there, all the same.”
- Louis Comfort Tiffany, American, died 1933

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