After serious contemplation during the past year, I have concluded that three simple words reflect the most important aspect of my philosophy on art: “Art is Life.” To support such an elusive concept, I will provide my favorite quotations about art, from the Art Quotes websites, with my reflections on the inspirational thoughts behind them.
The first quote, by the novelist, William Falkner, is very insightful because it portrays the artist as a sustainer of life. He or she is called to the task of arresting motion, or time, through
artistic production. Long after the artist has died, the viewer looks at the artwork, which comes to life, metaphorically speaking.
“The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.”
~ William Faulkner
The next quote by the great artist, Leonardo da Vinci, connects the realms of art and literature. Both rely on the creative expression of unique human perceptions, which are often based on observations about the real world, hence life experiences.
“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen. ~ Leonardo da Vinci
Another famous quote by the novelist, Willa Cather, seems to suggest the idea that art is life. It conveys her sense of urgency about capturing moments in time:
“What was any art but a mold in which to imprison for a moment the shining elusive element which is life itself — life hurrying past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to lose.” ~ Willa Cather
Finally, the famous artist, Pablo Picasso, expresses his profound thoughts about art and life, which reflects artists’ desires to record their life experiences through their artworks:
“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” ~ Pablo Picasso
All these quotes imply the connections between the artists’ lives and their artistic productions. Hence, the simple, yet profound statement: "Art is Life” rings true to me as an artist.
Another aspect of my philosophy on art is the idea that art is an expression of the human soul. In other words, the artist’s voice is heard through his or her artworks. Georgia O’Keeffe conveys such a concept in the following quotation:
“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
There are limitations to language in that words cannot always convey a person’s deepest thoughts and feelings. I can relate to Georgia’s statement that colors and shapes are quite often more effective in my expression of my inner world than verbal or written communication.
Another famous quote by Henry Ward Beecher indicates the connection between the artist’s soul and his or her artworks:
“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher
I have observed that as an artist, I tend to express the essence of my soul in my drawings and paintings. My unique personal insights, based on my life experiences, are somehow portrayed in my artworks.
The following quote by the novelist, Isaac Bashevis Singer, describes the dilemma that many artists face as they try to convey their thoughts and feelings through their artworks:
“Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression.” ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
Thus, it is difficult for artists to capture their inner visions within the contexts of their artistic productions. I have experienced this chasm at times in my own efforts to portray my unique perceptions about my life experiences. Oscar Wilde, the famous author, states this same idea succinctly:
“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.” ~Oscar Wilde
In my portraits, I have noticed my tendency to project my own perceptions about my subjects into these artworks.
My philosophy on art includes an aspect of practical application. There is a craft to artistic productions, hence techniques are important. In order to increase my artistic skills,
I need to adhere to the adage: “Practice makes perfect.” Although I will never truly reach perfection, I can regard mistakes in a positive light. I agree with Scott Adams’ simple, yet profound statement:
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” ~ Scott Adams
At first glance, many people do not realize how challenging the creative process can actually be! Edgar Degas, the famous artist, implies such a statement in his quotation:
“Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do.” ~ Edgar Degas
Over the past twenty years, since I began taking art classes in the late 1990’s, I have come to realize that the more I improve in my drawing and painting skills, the more challenged I feel
about my craftsmanship. Now I spend more time with problem solving during the creative process of my artistic productions.
Another important aspect of my practical philosophy on art is the idea that an artist should be willing to abandon old concepts and techniques in favor of new ones. Robert Brault in his blog
states the same thought in his quotation:
“Sometimes, to pursue a new idea, the artist must forfeit his deposit on an old idea. ~ Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
Finally, a quote by William McElcheran summarizes my thoughts about the creative process:
“For the mystic what is how. For the craftsman how is what. For the artist what and how are one. ~William McElcheran
Thus, the artist is both a mystic and a craftsman! Such a complex, challenging role is difficult to achieve and sustain, but it has its rewards. I will end my summary of my philosophy on art with a quote from John Updike, the famous author:
“What art offers is space — a certain breathing room for the spirit.” ~John Updike
Updike’s opinion about art certainly reflects my own thoughts about my creative process during my artistic productions. While techniques are important to ensure craftsmanship, my mystical perceptions, conveyed in my artworks are essential to allow my spirit to not only breathe, but soar through the space between the natural world and the spiritual realm, beyond my senses.
Summer Dreams Abstract
Pastel on Textured Wallpaper