20 October, 2010

Quotes - The Artist's Ideas

Der Blaue Reiter, 1903
Wassily Kandinsky


"I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else," Pablo Picasso.

The artist must have something to say, for mastery over form is not his goal but rather the adapting of form to its inner meaning.” Wassily Kandinsky.

"One can say nothing about the content of a painting...It says itself, like breath without words." James Matthew Wilson.

"Truth and reality in art do not arise until you no longer understand what you are doing and are capable of, but nevertheless sense a power that grows in proportion to your resistance." Henri Matisse.

"In art, one idea is as good as another. If one takes the idea of trembling, for instance, all of a sudden most art starts to tremble. Michelangelo starts to tremble. El Greco starts to tremble. All the Impressionists start to tremble." Willem de Kooning.

"Any artist should be grateful for a naive grace which puts him beyond the need to reason elaborately," Saul Bellow.

"But often it's doubtful whether the logic of the work itself and the words used to describe it really have anything to do with each other," Thom Mayne.

Trust your feelings entirely about color, and then,
even if you arrive at no infallible color theory, you will at least have the credit of having your own color sense.” John F. Carlson.

"See, don't think." Attributed to Wolf Kahn.

"I never came upon any of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking." Albert Einstein.


Kahn quote: h/t Tracy Helgeson.

22 comments:

Sonya Johnson said...

Great quotes, and gentle reminders of various things to consider in our process and journey as artists.

I came across a fantastic quote by Georgia O'Keeffe several months ago, and wrote it down on the back of a receipt; your post has inspired me to go and find it and share it :).

Dan Kent said...

Great quotes. Just read Kandinsky a month ago, and now always try to reach for that "inner need" when I do anything serious The John Carlson quote struck me as funny because my attempts in the last few days to follow my color sense have not been so hot.:)

Jean Spitzer said...

I especially like, see don't think.

Maybe there are folks who visualize something fully before they start, but I'm not one.

Casey Klahn said...

I look forward to seeing that GO quote, Sonya.

Keep trying, Dan. I have the same experience all of the time. I just finished Kandinsky's Essay. I have a series of quotes from him, too. I never expected to be so in-agreement with him, but I am.

That one is the most challenging one, Jean. I also really like the Einstein quote.

Celeste Bergin said...

quotes always soothe me when I am feeling out of sorts. I especially love anything that Winston Churchill said...(he was also an artist, I am sure you know).

Casey Klahn said...

Yeah, that's an interesting thought about quotes, Celeste. I get encouragement, and somehow straightened out by good quotes. Of course, these are meant to challenge, too.

Peggy Stermer-Cox said...

Hi Casey, Interesting collection of quotes; I like how they relate. Interesting array of contributors, from Picasso to Einstein!

-Don said...

One of my favorite artists, Franz Marc, was of Der Blaue Reiter. I knew that Wassily Kandinsky had coined the name of the group, but had never seen the painting he created with the same name. Thanks for adding to my art education yet again.

-Don

Casey Klahn said...

Hi, Peggy! You are the only one who has commented, if I remember right, on the unity in one of my quote posts. I am kinda proud of that - the past few have cool themes, but I kept them semi-hidden. This time, I highlighted the theme because of the series on ideas. You made my day with that comment!

Hey, Don! I read about Marc when studying up on W Kandinsky. Now I'd better have a look at his stuff, since I know you favor him. You can actually find the painting on a Wikipedia page, and also the Blue Rider group has a page there.

Kathy said...

Great quotes - especially that ones about concept, content, and idea. I'm not entirely certain I agree with Kahn, but I guess there are a few ways to interpret his words. Nice post!

Casey Klahn said...

Hi, Kathy!

All quotes on thinking, reason, ideas and mental "sense." I made up that last term, but I think it interprets Carlson's phrase, "color sense," which is a mysterious quality.

I try to hit a range of quotes with a heavy dose of ambiguity, and I feel that Kahn's fits that way. Elsewhere he says that his habits (of good technique) are always present, and that he tries to do an "end around" to avoid dependence on old habits and ideas.

Then, I give you Einstein, who disses rational thinking - which is surprising, huh?

loriann said...

Hi Casey, I too love finding and reading words that say so much in so few words. thanks for sharing.

Casey Klahn said...

It is powerful, Loriann. I save up quotes and categorize them, as you can tell.

Jean Spitzer said...

Truly only marginally related, but I recently met--and lunched with--a granddaughter of Carlson's. Small world.

Casey Klahn said...

Jean: "brush with greatness." I like it!

Jean Spitzer said...

She's a fascinating, talented woman. Truthfully, I didn't recognize the name of her grandfather when she told me; I'm very bad with names.

Casey Klahn said...

Carlson's book has icon status among landscape painters. I remember my happiness at finding my copy at a flea market.

I see another thing about JFC is that he was much decorated, and favored the winter scene. That explains why the images of his that stick in my mind are snow scenes.

Casey Klahn said...

In the grandchildren of fame department, I once dated the granddaughter of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Good quotes delivered to a receptive group of listeners always spurs more thoughts and more quotes. Thanks for sharing these!

At the Picasso exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, this one: "Art is not chaste." And more!

Casey Klahn said...

I want to go see Picasso! We'll see if I can swing it.

I think an undeniable statement by PP would've been, "I am not chaste." But, I digress...

Clive said...

“The artist must have something to say, for mastery over form is not his goal but rather the adapting of form to its inner meaning.” Wassily Kandinsky.

If I had something to say, I'd just say it.

Casey Klahn said...

"If I had something to say, I'd just say it," Clive Powsey.

That is a keeper, Clive.

Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism