On 4th Avenue I was painting in black and white a lot. Not with a chip on my shoulder about it, but I needed a lot of paint and I wanted to get free of materials. I could get a gallon of black paint and a gallon of white paint, and I could go to town.
Once, after finishing a picture, I thought I would stop for awhile, take a trip, do things — the next time I thought of this, I found five years had gone by.
Some painters, including myself, do not care what chair they are sitting on. It does not even has to be a comfortable one. They are too nervous to find out were they ought to sit. They do not want to ‘sit in style’. Rather they have found that painting – any kind of painting, any style of painting – to be painting at all, in fact – a style of living, so to speak. That is where the form of it lies. It is exactly in its uselessness that it is free. Those artists don’t want to conform. They only want to be inspired.
Spiritually I am wherever my spirit allows me to be, and that is not necessarily in the future... Art never seems to make me peaceful or pure. I always seem to be wrapped in the melodrama of vulgarity.
The artist fills space with an attitude. The attitude never comes from himself alone.
You get old, you get used to yourself. A painter can go down, way down, when he's waiting to go down. Franz Kline went very down, and I used to be so nervous I got palpitations. Now I don't have that trouble. I see the canvas, and I begin. But you have to keep on the very edge of something, all the time, or the picture dies.
You beg for happiness in life, but security is more important to you, even if it costs you your spine or your life. Your life will be good and secure when aliveness will mean more to you than security; love more than money; your freedom more than party line or public opinion; when your thinking will be in harmony with your feelings; when the teachers of your children will be better paid than the politicians; when you will have more respect for the love between man and woman than for a marriage license.
Modern man has developed a kind of Gallup-poll mentality, relying on quantity instead of quality and yielding to expediency instead of building a new faith.
The ultimate aim of all creative activity is a building! The decoration of buildings was once the noblest function of fine arts, and fine arts were indispensable to great architecture. Today they exist in complacent isolation, and can only be rescued by the conscious co-operation and collaboration of all craftsmen. Architects, painters, and sculptors must once again come to know and comprehend the composite character of a building, both as an entity and in terms of its various parts. Then their work will be filled with that true architectonic spirit which, as "salon art", it has lost.
The Renaissance of the fifteenth century was, in many things, great rather by what it designed that by what it achieved.
If only he would not pity us so much, weaken our fate, relieve us of woe both great and small, a constant fellow of destiny, a too, too human god, self-pity's kin and uncourageous genesis.
There are three points of view from which a writer can be considered: he may be considered as a storyteller, as a teacher, and as an enchanter. A major writer combines these three — storyteller, teacher, enchanter — but it is the enchanter in him that predominates and makes him a major writer...The three facets of the great writer — magic, story, lesson — are prone to blend in one impression of unified and unique radiance, since the magic of art may be present in the very bones of the story, in the very marrow of thought...Then with a pleasure which is both sensual and intellectual we shall watch the artist build his castle of cards and watch the castle of cards become a castle of beautiful steel and glass.
Two lumpy old ladies in semitransparent raincoats, like potatoes in cellophane.
Time, which alone makes the reputation of men, ends by making their defects respectable.
By working hard, old man, I hope to make something good one day. I haven't yet, but I am pursuing it and fighting for it . . . .
He studies a single blade of grass. But this blade of grass leads him to draw every plant and then the seasons, the wide aspects of the countryside, then animals, then the human figure. So he passes his life, and life is too short to do the whole.
I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.
I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream.
I myself believe that there is in every painter's life a period of making absurdities. In my case I think that period is already long past.
In my view, I am often immensely rich, not in money, but (although just now perhaps not all the time) rich because I have found my metier, something I can devote myself to heart and soul and that gives inspiration and meaning to my life.