Monday Motivator: The Point of a Painting

Monday motivator art quotes
Monday motivator art quotes

“The point of a painting is, after all, for it to hang there, to be more noticeable than the wall, and more resonant with human presence than a poster or a reproduction of a painting, but less important than the lives of those looking at it.

“I think it’s enough for a painting to arrest a sensitive viewer with its motionless grace, even if the pleasure that affords is rather modest.”

Laurie Fendrich, “Confessions of an Abstract Painter“, The Chronicle of Higher Education 10 May 2002

Another important point of a painting is what creating it does for, and to, its maker.

Monday Motivator: Pattern and Emotion

Monday motivator art quotes
Monday motivator art quotes

I’m for an art that takes its form from the lines of life.

“…The intoxicating medium is an integral part of the work, as are impulses and accidents. I play with depth, foreground, pattern and emotion.

“… Building layers that accumulate texture while gathering elements and images of juxtaposition that will forever swim beneath the surface. Some images dominate the space, while others recede like a whisper, quiet but insistent.”

Brigitte D’Annibale, Flower Series

Monday Motivator: Where They Were Left

Monday Motivator quote
Monday Motivator quote

“I know the objects are where I left them. But they change with each viewing and always reward you with more looking—and most importantly, more thinking. Each time you stand before them, they expose something new—often because you’ve changed in the face of their endurance.”

Christine Coulson, As The Met Reopens, a Former Employee Longs For Its Art

The weather, the season, the time of day, our mood: these differences we tend to notice when revisiting a location. Less evident are the longer term changes to ourselves and how this impacts what we see and feel, and paint.

Monday Motivator: The Tyranny of the Vanishing Point

Monday Motivator quote
Monday Motivator quote

“Have you ever thought about the cultural hegemony of the act of placing the vanishing point on your paper? There you are, drawing so as to solve a problem. You draw to think.

And then, plink. You place a vanishing point, or two, or even three, on your paper. And once you place the point(s), suddenly your entire drawing mindset changes.

With the vanishing point on the paper, suddenly now all lines need to radiate out from the point … you find yourself now working to “make it look right’.”

Kurt Ofer, Eliminate the Vanishing Point


Vanish the vanishing point.

Perspective in train track

Monday Motivator: Delight

Monday Motivator Inspirational Art Quote
Monday Motivator quote

“Delight, unlike pleasure, contains an element of surprise, an unexpected frisson. And delight, unlike pleasure, leaves no bitter aftertaste. You never saw the delight coming so you don’t miss it when it’s gone.

… Appreciating life’s small, fleeting pleasures demands a loose grip. Hold them too tightly and they break.”

Eric Weiner on Reading Sei Shōnagon

Anticipate and enjoy, like the moment before dandelion seeds fly on a puff of air.

Monday Motivator: Experience Creates Specific Questions

Monday Motivator quote
Monday Motivator quote

“We keep coming back to learn more and more as we go along …We don’t load up facts and then spew out painting after painting because we had all the necessary information ready at hand. Try it first, decipher it next. We are explorers. …

“I teach my students that they must dive in while they learn basics. That way, they come back from the experience with specific questions, not just general thoughts like, “how do I get better?” or “what’s the right color?'”

Gregory Manchess, 10 Things…Color

Try first, then read the manual.

(Exception to the rule: flatpack furniture!)

Exploring Colour Mixing

Monday Motivator: Why Work From a Live Subject

Monday Motivator quote
Monday Motivator quote

“As an artist you can’t be afraid to change angles and poke and prod. This is why we work from a live subject. If you work from a photograph you only get one angle and you can’t touch your subject. But when we work from life we can really get in there and do some in depth investigation.

“…think about art not as an act of creation but as an act of deep observation.”

Courtney Clinton, Rokeby Museum Distance Drawing Course Week 1: Vision

“From life” doesn’t mean “outdoors”, it means “not a photo”, something you can hold and turn, or walk around, to see the ‘other side’. So not a photo of a vase with flowers, but flowers you can touch and smell and that will droop and drop their petals if you take too long to paint them. Not that flowers past their prime can’t be a painting.

“Sunflowers Gone to Seed” by Vincent van Gogh, 1887, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

Monday Motivator: Investing Creativity

Monday motivator art quotes
Monday motivator art quotes

“Building relationships is like investing a small percentage of our happiness in this other person, and receiving an investment of some of their happiness in us in return. This allows us to diversify our happiness across many people in many different aspects of life. And this diversification makes our own emotional health more resilient when difficulties in life come.”

Mark Manson, 5 Ways to Build Resilience and Conquer Adversity

Substiute “creativity” and “art/painting” for “happiness” and “relationships”, and we get:

Creating art is like investing a small percentage of our creativity in every painting, and receiving an investment of some of its creative energy in us in return. This allows us to diversify our creativity across many pieces in many different aspects of painting. And this diversification makes our own creative health more resilient when difficulties in painting come.

Monday Motivator: Continuous vs Dramatic Improvement

Monday Motivator Inspirational Art Quote
Monday Motivator quote

“So often we convince ourselves that change is only meaningful if there is some large, visible outcome associated with it. … we often put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering improvement that everyone will talk about. Meanwhile, improving by just 1 percent isn’t notable (and sometimes it isn’t even noticeable). But it can be just as meaningful, especially in the long run.”

James Clear, Continuous Improvement:

We know the tortoise beats the hare, eventually. The hard part is having the patience to plod.

Free quilt pattern scallop tortoise
Temperance the Tortoise, a scallop quilt I made in 2010