I like to read famous quotations. There are some that are so concise you marvel at the clarity.
“In nature, light creates the color. In the picture, color creates the light.”
- Hans Hofmann
There are the quotes that make you smile:
“If life gives you lemons, make some kind of fruity juice.” - Conan O'Brien
But sometimes you come across a quote that just stops you. Really, you stop and read it over a few times. Maybe you write it down in the margin of your calendar or copy and paste it into the notes section of your phone. Maybe you print it out and tack it to the bulletin board in your studio. You might even get those words tattooed onto your arm. Because, well, you don’t want to forget them. But you do.
So the words keep following you, popping up again and again.
“When you start working, everybody is in your studio- the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas- all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you are lucky, even you leave.” - John Cage
I love this quote from John Cage. It feels personal and universal. The words comfort and inspire. They are like a gentle push and an “I know what you are going through”. Cage vividly lists the sources of the baggage we bring to creating. I can see all of the people around my easel between me and the canvas. Then he reminds me how to get past it, telling me to keep painting and get out of the way.
I pinned that one to my bulletin board so I don’t forget it and because it’s much too long for a tattoo.
As an artist giving myself permission to play is at the heart of my practice.
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