*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Charles Baudelaire once wrote that the frenzy of the artist
is the fear of not going fast enough, of letting the phantom escape before the synthesis has been extracted and pinned down; it is that terrible fear which takes possession of all great artists and gives them such a passionate desire to become masters of every means of expression so that the orders of the brain may never be perverted by the hesitations of the hand and that finally… ideal execution, may become as unconscious and spontaneous as is digestion for a healthy man after dinner.
Mary Gabriel in Ninth Street Women
Comments are welcome!
Q: All artists go through periods when they wonder what it’s all for. What do you do during times like that?
A: Fortunately, that doesn’t happen very often. I love and enjoy all the varied facets involved in being an artist, even (usually) the business aspects, which are just another puzzle to be solved. I have vivid memories of being stuck in a job that I hated, one I couldn’t immediately leave because I was an officer in the US Navy. Life is so much better as a visual artist!
I appreciate the freedom that comes with being a self-employed artist. The words of Louise Bourgeois often come to mind: “It is a PRIVILEGE to be an artist.”
Still, with very valid reasons, no one ever said that an artist’s life is easy. It is difficult at every phase.
Books offer sustenance, especially ones written by artists who have endured all sorts of terrible hardships beyond anything artists today are likely to experience. I just pick up a favorite book. My Wednesday blog posts, “Pearls from artists,” give some idea of the sorts of inspiration I find. I read the wise words of a fellow artist, then I get back to work. As I quickly become intrigued with the problems at hand in a painting, all doubt usually dissolves.
I try to remember: Artists are extremely fortunate to be doing what we love and what we are meant to do with our short time on earth. What more could a person ask?
Comments are welcome!