Sunday, December 24, 2006


I generally sympathize with Matisse's view that artists should cut their tongues out so they won't be tempted to explain their work. It may not show, but I do try on this blog to avoid adding to the sum total of BS written about art in the world.

Here are some comments about the artistic process from illustrators or other artists that I think are particularly insightful:

Don't stop to admire a partly completed sketch.
--Robert Fawcett

On always doing your best work: The argument that "it won't be appreciated anyway" may be true, but in the end this attitude does infinitely more harm to the artist than to his client.
--Robert Fawcett

On being accused of making art like a madman: There is only one difference between a madman and me. I'm not mad
--Salvador Dali

What one has most to strive for is to do the work with a great amount of labor and study in such a way that it may appear, however much it was labored, to have been done almost quickly and almost without any labor, and very easily, although it was not.

I ain't yet worked out whether I like girls because I like curvy lines or if I like curvy lines because I like girls.
-- some artist on the internet whose name I forgot to write down

On when to put the finishing touches on an illustration: The longer the idea can be considered in the abstract, the better.
--Robert Fawcett

There are moments when art attains almost to the dignity of manual labor.
-- Oscar Wilde


lotusgreen said...

oscar wilde is such a trip

Anonymous said...

I always liked the quotation Niccolaides began with in his classic book on drawing, attributed to DaVinci: "The supreme misfortune is when theory outstrips practice." [I quote from memory, so I hope I've got it right]. It's a good thing to keep in mind for most endeavors in life, but certainly seems apt for illustration.

David Apatoff said...

That's an interesting quote, Bob, although I must say I've seen some pretty awful results when practice outstrips theory as well.

colin said...

"I ain't yet worked out whether I like girls because I like curvy lines or if I like curvy lines because I like girls."

I wish I knew who said that. He sounds like my kind of artist. ;)

Let's be an Inspiration said...

i also like the curvy comment. you have quite a nice site, i enjoyed browsing it.
~Lara ~

Anonymous said...

Insofar as it's possible, art should explain itself, which I suppose is the origin of Matisse’s complaint.
However bad an artist’s explanation of their own work often is, everyone else's explanations are usually far worse. And it's often illuminating to learn what it is that the artist thought they were doing.