Doing easily what others find is difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius.
Genius is not a possession of the limited few, but exists in some degree in everyone. Where there is natural growth, a full and free play of faculties, genius will manifest itself.
The object isn't to make art, it's to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.
Don't worry about your originality. You couldn't get rid of it even if you wanted to. It will stick with you and show up for better or worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do.
Good composition is like a suspension bridge - each line adds strength and takes none away.
If you want to know how to do a thing you must first have a complete desire to do that thing. Then go to kindred spirits -- others who have wanted to do that thing -- and study their ways and means, learn from their successes and failures and add your quota. Thus you may acquire from the experience of the race. And with this technical knowledge you may go forward, expressing through the play of forms the music that is in you and which is very personal to you.
He should be careful of the influence of those with whom he consorts, and he runs a great risk in becoming a member of a large society, for large bodies tend toward the leveling of individuality to a common consent, the forming and adherence to a creed.
You can do anything you want to do. What is rare is this actual wanting to do a specific thing: wanting it so much that you are practically blind to all other things, that nothing else will satisfy you.
The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides.
For purposes of action nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will.
An artist has got to get acquainted with himself just as much as he can. It is no easy job, for it is not a present-day habit of humanity.
Every great artist is a man who has freed himself from his family, his nation, his race. Every man who has shown the world the way to beauty, to true culture, has been a rebel, a "universal" without patriotism, without home, who has found his people everywhere.
The artist should have a powerful will. He should be powerfully possessed by one idea. He should be intoxicated with the idea of the thing he wants to express.
I am interested in art as a means of living a life; not as a means of making a living.
Art is a lie which makes us realize the truth.
Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
I do not seek. I find.
My mother said to me, "If you become a soldier you'll be a general; if you become a monk you'll end up as the pope." Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.
Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.
A painting is not thought out and settled in advance. While it is being done, it changes as one's thoughts change. And when it's finished, it goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it.
The fingers must be educated, the thumb is born knowing.
In our life there is a single color, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.
One fine day (but all days are fine!) as my mother was putting the bread in the oven, I went up to her and taking her by her flour-smeared elbow I said to her, "Mama . . . I want to be a painter."
If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.
I work in whatever medium likes me at the moment.
When I'm finishing a picture I hold some God-made object up to it -- a rock, a flower, or a tree branch -- as a final test. If the painting stands up beside a thing man cannot make, the painting is authentic. If there's a clash, it's bad art.
All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites.
Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers -- and never succeeding.
Great art picks up where nature ends.
I adore the theater and I am a painter. I think the two are made for a marriage of love. I will give all my soul to prove this once more.
Vincent van Gogh
A good picture is equivalent to a good deed.
Conscience is a man's compass.
Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model.
Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again.
Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.
I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate.
I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.
If one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things.
One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever come to sit by it. Passersby see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on the way.
Painting is a faith, and it imposes the duty to disregard public opinion.
Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul.
What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?
All human wisdom is summed up in two words -- wait and hope.
Business? it's quite simple: it's other people's money.
How is it that little children are so intelligent and men so stupid? It must be education that does it.
Infatuated, half through conceit, half through love of my art, I achieve the impossible working as no one else ever works.
Love without esteem cannot go far or reach high. It is an angel with only one wing.
Men's minds are raised to the level of the women with whom they associate.
No matter how hardened to danger a man may be, he always realizes from the pounding of his heart and the shivering of his flesh, the enormous difference there is between a dream and reality, between a plan and its execution.
Oh, stir the lucid waters of thy sleep
And coin for me a tale
Of happy loves and gems and joyous limbs
And hearts where love is sweet!
Rogues are preferable to imbeciles because they sometimes take a rest.
Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss.
Until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words -- Wait and Hope.
The chain of wedlock is so heavy that it takes two to carry it -- and sometimes three.
If I could I would always work in silence and obscurity, and let my efforts be known by their results.
A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it.
The promises of this world are, for the most part, vain phantoms; and to confide in one's self, and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course.
The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.
Trifles make perfection, but perfection is no trifle.
What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful that the garment with which it is clothed?
Genius is eternal patience.
Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.
My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be through Earth's loveliness.
If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all.
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.
Beauty is the purgation of superfluities.
Leonardo da Vinci
All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.
I roamed the countryside searching for answers to things I did not understand.
Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind.
Just as iron rusts from disuse, even so does inaction spoil the intellect.
Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you.
The eye sees a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination awake.
The men of experiment are like the ant; they only collect and use. But the bee . . . gathers its materials from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own.
Time stays long enough for those who use it.
While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.
Men of lofty genius when they are doing the least work are most active.
Obstacles cannot crush me; every obstacle yields to stern resolve.
As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.
He turns not back who is bound to a star.
Human subtlety . . . will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.
I have offended God and mankind because my work didn't reach the quality it should have.
The really great writers are people like Emily Bronte who sit in a room and write out of their limited experience and unlimited imagination.
James Michener - 1907-1997
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
Sun Tzu - 544-496 b.c.
The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.
Sun Tzu - 544-496 b.c.
The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.
Sun Tzu - 544-496 b.c.