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Teacher's Best - The Creative Process

Art Quotes

art history & art education posters

The word ‘art’ comes from Latin ars and meant skill or craft based on the Indo-European meaning “to arrange”. Today ‘art’ is generally understood to be the results and process of making something that has not existed before and is not a necessity, as in biological survival.

Maxwell Anderson ~
• “If you practice an art, be proud of it and make it proud of you. It may break your heart, but it will fill your heart before it breaks it; it will make you a person in your own right.”

Sherwood Anderson ~
• “The object of art is not to make salable pictures. It is to save yourself.”
• “The thing of course, is to make yourself alive. Most people remain all of their lives in a stupor. The point of being an artist is that you may live.”

Guillaume Apollinaire ~
• “Without poets, without artists, men would soon weary of nature's monotony.”
• “A structure becomes architectural, and not sculptural, when its elements no longer have their justification in nature.”

Antonin Artaud ~
• “No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell.”

Ethel Barrymore ~
• “The arts are not just instantaneous pleasure - if you don't like it, the artist is wrong. I belong to the generation which says if you don't like it, you don't understand and you ought to find out.”

Jacques Barzun ~
• “Art distills sensation and embodies it with enhanced meaning in a memorable form - or else it is not art.”

Simone de Beauvoir ~
• “Art is an attempt to integrate evil.”

Samuel Beckett ~
• “To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now.”

Saul Bellow ~
• “What is art but a way of seeing?”
• “Any artist should be grateful for a naive grace which puts him beyond the need to reason elaborately.”

Mary McLeod Bethune ~
• “Cease to be a drudge, seek to be an artist.”

Constantine Brancusi ~
• “Architecture is inhabited sculpture.”

Sir Thomas Browne ~
• “Art is the perfection of nature.”

Kenneth Clark ~
• “The great artist takes what he needs.”
• “... The great religious art of the world is deeply involved with the female principle.”

Jean Cocteau ~
• “Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.”
• “Film will only became an art when its materials are as inexpensive as pencil and paper.”
• “The reward of art is not fame or success but intoxication: that is why so many bad artists are unable to give it up.”

Joseph Conrad ~
• “All creative art is magic, is evocation of the unseen in forms persuasive, enlightening, familiar and surprising, for the edification of mankind, pinned down by the conditions of its existence to the earnest consideration of the most insignificant tides of reality.” Henry James - An Appreciation (1905)

Walter Crane ~
• “We want a vernacular in art. No mere verbal or formal agreement, or dead level of uniformity but that comprehensive and harmonizing unity with individual variety which can be developed among people politically and socially free.”
• “The basis of all art ... might be described as different kinds of drawing. Each artistic craft ... is a method of drawing, each is actually based on a drawing as a preliminary stage of its existence.”

Dante ~
• “Nature is the art of God.”

Isak Dinesen ~
• “A great artist is never poor.”

Theodore Dreiser ~
• “Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail.”

Betty Edwards ~
• “Ability to draw depends on ability to see the way an artist sees, and this kind of seeing can marvelously enrich your life.”
• “When you see in the special way in which experienced artist see, then you can draw.”
• “Art has this long history, predating even language, of expressing nonverbal information.”

Loren Eiseley ~
• “It is frequently the tragedy of the great artist, as it is of the great scientist, that he frightens the ordinary man.”

Marsilio Ficino ~
• “Artists in each of the arts seek after and care for nothing but love.”

Helen Frankenthaler ~
• “There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.”

André Gide ~
• “Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ~
• “Science and art belong to the whole world, and before them vanish the barriers of nationality.”
• “I call architecture ‘petrified music’.”

Arshile Gorky ~
• “Drawing is the basis of art. A bad painter cannot draw. But one who draws well can always paint.”
• “Art must always remain earnest... Art must be serious, no sarcasm, comedy. One does not laugh at a loved one.”

Nadine Gordimer ~
• “Art is so wonderfully irrational, exuberantly pointless, but necessary all the same. Pointless and yet necessary, that's hard for a puritan to understand.”
• “Art is on the side of the oppressed. Think before you shudder at the simplistic dictum and its heretical definition of the freedom of art. For if art is freedom of the spirit, how can it exist within the oppressors?”

Adolph Gottlieb ~
• “When I was a boy studying art I became aware of and accepted the difficulties of the modern artist. By the age of 18 I clearly understood that the artist in our society cannot expect to make a living from art; must live in the midst of a hostile environment; cannot communicate through his art with more than a few people; and if his work is significant, cannot achieve recognition until the end of his life, if he is lucky, and more likely posthumously.”

J. B. S. Haldane ~
• “And if we must educate our poets and artists in science, we must educate our masters, labour and capital, in art.”

Edith Hamilton ~
• “Great art is the expression of a solution of the conflict between the demands of the world without and that within.”

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper ~
• “Every mother should endeavor to be a true artist, who knows how to weave into her child's life images of grace and beauty, the true poet capable of writing on the soul of childhood the harmony of love and truth, and teaching it how to produce the grandest of all poems - the poetry of a true and noble life.”

Robert Henri ~
• “Art cannot be separated from life. It is the expression of the greatest need of which life is capable, and we value art not because of the skilled product, but because of its revelation of a life's experience.”
• “It is harder to see than it is to express. The whole value of art rests in the artist's ability to see well into what is before him.”

Hans Hofmann ~
• “Being an artist and being a teacher are two conflicting things. When I paint, I improvise… I deny theory and method and rely only on empathy and feeling… In teaching, it is just the opposite, I must account for every line, shape and color. One is forced to explain the inexplicable.”

Victor Hugo ~
• “Architecture has recorded the great ideas of the human race. Not only every religious symbol, but every human thought has its page in that vast book.”

Gustav Holst ~
• “About 'Aristocracy in art' - art is not for all but only for the chosen few - but the only way to find those few is to bring art to everyone - then the artists have a sort of masonic signal by which they recognise each other in the crowd.”
• “... the artist is born again & starts afresh with every new work.”

Edward Hopper ~
• “So much of every art is an expression of the subconscious that it seems to me most of all the important qualities are put there unconsciously, and little of importance by the conscious intellect. But these are things for the psychologist to untangle.”
• “The only quality that endures in art is a personal vision of the world. Methods are transient: personality is enduring.”
• “Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world… …The inner life of a human being is a vast and varied realm.”

Horace ~
• “A picture is a poem without words.”

Elbert Hubbard ~
• “Art is the beautiful way of doing things. Science is the effective way of doing things. Business is the economic way of doing things.”

Friedensreich Hundertwasser ~
• “Visual pollution is more poisonous than any other pollution because it kills the soul.”

Eugene Ionesco ~
• “A work of art is above all an adventure of the mind.”

James Weldon Johnson ~
• “The final measure of the greatness of all peoples is the amount and standard of the literature and all they have produced. The world does not know that a people is great until that people produces great literature and art.”

Ben Jonson ~
• “Art hath an enemy called ignorance.”

Barbara Jordan ~
• “Art has the potential to unify. It can speak in many languages without a translator. Art does not discriminate - it ignores external irrelevancies and opts for quality, talent and competence.” 1993

Jerzy Kosinski ~
• “The principle of art is to pause, not bypass.”

Willem de Kooning ~
• “The attitude that nature is chaotic and that the artist puts order into it is a very absurd point of view, I think. All that we can hope for is to put some order into ourselves.”

Madeleine L'Engle ~
• “Our truest responsibility to the irrationality of the world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find the truth.”

Norman Mailer ~
• “The final purpose of art is to intensify, even, if necessary, to exacerbate, the moral consciousness of people.”

Henri Matisse ~
• “An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable him to express himself in his own language.”

W. Somerset Maugham ~
• “Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul.”

Francois Mauriac ~
• “Men resemble great deserted palaces: the owner occupies only a few rooms and has closed-off wings where he never ventures.”

Marshall McLuhan ~
• “Artists in various fields are always the first to discover how to enable one medium or to release the power of another.”
• “The artist is the person who invents the means to bridge between biological inheritance and the environments created by technological innovation.”

Henry Miller ~
• “An artist is always alone - if he is an artist. No, what the artist needs is loneliness.”

Theodor Mommsen ~
• “Art is permitted to survive only if it renounces the right to be different, and integrates itself into the omnipotent realm of the profane.”
• “The writer of history is perhaps closer to the artist than the scholar.”

Piet Mondrian ~
• “The unconscious in us warns us that in art we have to follow one particular path. And if we follow it, it is not the sign of an unconscious act. On the contrary, it shows that there is in our ordinary consciousness a greater awareness of our unconsciousness.”

Robert Motherwell ~
• “The public history of modern art is the story of conventional people not knowing what they are dealing with.”
• “Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it.”

Louise Nevelson ~
• “I think most artists create out of despair. The very nature of creation is not a performing glory on the outside, it's a painful, difficult search within.”

Barnett Newman ~
• “Any art worthy of its name should address ‘life’, ‘man’, ‘nature’, ‘death’ and ‘tragedy’.”

Friedrich Nietzsche ~
• “Art is the proper task of life.”
• “The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
• “In architecture the pride of man, his triumph over gravitation, his will to power, assume a visible form. Architecture is a sort of oratory of power by means of forms.”

Emil Nolte ~
• “There is silver blue, sky blue and thunder blue. Every color holds within it a soul, which makes me happy or repels me, and which acts as a stimulus. To a person who has no art in him, colors are colors, tones tones ... and that is all. All their consequences for the human spirit, which range between heaven to hell, just go unnoticed.”

Novalis ~
• “Only an artist can interpret the meaning of life.”

Paracelsus ~
• “Thoughts create a new heaven, a new firmament, a new source of energy, from which new arts flow.”

Jean Piaget ~
• “When the child comes to draw things as he sees them, it will be precisely because he has given up taking isolated objects in and for themselves and has begun to construct real systems of relations which take account of the true perspective in which things are connected.”

Pablo Picasso ~
• “The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place; from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.”
• “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Katherine Anne Porter ~
• “Human life itself may be almost pure chaos, but the work of the artist — the only thing he's good for — is to take these handfuls of confusion and disparate things, things that seem to be irreconcilable, and put them together in a frame to give them some kind of shape and meaning. Even if it's only his view of a meaning. That's what he's for — to give his view of life.”

Ezra Pound ~
• “Artists are the antennae of the race.”

Giacomo Puccini ~
• “Inspiration is an awakening, a quickening of all man's faculties, and it is manifested in all high artistic achievements.”

Otto Rank ~
• “Art is life's dream interpretation.”

Rainer Maria Rilke ~
• “Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go any further.”

John Ruskin ~
• “No architecture can be truly noble which is not imperfect.”

Vincent Scully ~
• “Architecture is a continuing dialogue between generations which creates an environment across time.””

Rabindranath Tagore ~
• “What is Art? It is the response of man's creative soul to the call of the Real.”

George Sand ~
• “The artist vocation is to send light into the human heart.”

George Santayana ~
• “An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world.”

Friedrich Schiller ~
• “Art is the daughter of freedom.”

Upton Sinclair ~
• “All art is propaganda. It is universally and inescapably propaganda; sometimes unconsciously, but often deliberately, propaganda.”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn ~
• “The one and only substitute for experience which we have not ourselves had is art, literature.”

Gertrude Stein ~
• “A writer should write with his eyes and a painter paint with his ears.”

Alma Woodsey Thomas ~
• “Creative art is for all time and is therefore independent of time. It is of all ages, of every land, and if by this we mean the creative spirit in man which produces a picture or a statue is common to the whole civilized world, independent of age, race and nationality; the statement may stand unchallenged.”

Leo Tolstoy ~
• “Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.”

Miguel de Unamuno ~
• “Art distills sensations and embodies it with enhanced meaning.”

Vincent van Gogh ~
• “It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures.”

Leonardo da Vinci ~
• “Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”
• “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

Evelyn Waugh ~
• “Art is the symbol of the two noblest human efforts: to construct and to refrain from destruction.”

Orson Welles ~
• “I passionately hate the idea of being with it; I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time.”

Alfred North Whitehead ~
• “Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.”
• “Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self.”
• “The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.”

Walt Whitman ~
• “I say that democracy can never prove itself beyond cavil, until it founds and luxuriantly grows its own forms of art, poems, schools, theology, displacing all that exists, or that has been produced anywhere in the past, under opposite influences.”

Oscar Wilde~
• “Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.”

August Wilson ~
• “What comes forth from you as an artist cannot be controlled. But you have responsibilities as a global citizen. Your history dictates your duty. And by writing about black people, you are not limiting yourself. The experiences of African-American are as wide open as God's closet.”

Thomas Wolfe ~
• “This is the artist, then, life's hungry man, the glutton of eternity, beauty's miser, glory's slave.”

Howard Zinn ~
• “Whenever I become discouraged (which is on alternate Tuesdays, between three and four) I lift my spirits by remembering: The artists are on our side! I mean those poets and painters, singers and musicians, novelists and playwrights who speak to the world in a way that is impervious to assault because they wage the battle for justice in a sphere which is unreachable by the dullness of ordinary political discourse.”

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