For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business. — T.S. Eliot Businesspeople are always citing Voltaire's advice, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." They know you'll never earn a profit, if you do. I wish more painters felt that way. Instead,...

All you have to do is show up. — Constantine Brancusi My worst enemy is indolence. You could call it my favorite hobby. Writer Ernest Hemingway famously beat indolence by leaving his last sentence unfinished every night. Sculptor Constantine Brancusi beat it by arriving early at his studio in the mornings...

Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. — Franklin D. Roosevelt On Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of painting en plein air outside the studio of N.C. Wyeth in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, under the guidance of my realism teacher, Randall Graham. The afternoon was warm,...

Inspiration is for amateurs. — Chuck Close Old objects and the personal memories associated with them inspire most of my paintings. I'm content to call it nostalgia. Like weight-gain, nostalgia is an affliction of the aged and can rapidly get out of hand. I especially loathe the kind that...

The question is not what you look at, but what you see. — Henry David Thoreau This week I had to print my Artist Statement for an exhibition and wondered whether it was up to date. I'd put a lot of work into it last year (as did...

I have to work constantly, but not in order to arrive at the finish, which attracts the admiration of imbeciles. I must strive to complete only for the satisfaction of becoming truer and wiser. — Paul Cezanne One of my teachers used Cezanne's Still Life with Water...

  We all lean toward prolixity. — Samuel Butler I'm putting into conscious practice Harold Speed's advice to "leave out the details" and go for a "large and simple statement." (Speed's is identical to John Singer Sargent's advice to "omit all but the most essential elements.") And so serendipity...

Every canvas is a journey all its own. — Helen Frankenthaler Wanderlust is gripping my friends and family, as July 4th approaches. They're planning tourist itineraries, reserving summer rentals, buying RVs, and booking flights. While they've been locked down for 12 months, I've completed more than 100 journeys, thanks...

If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful. — Michelangelo A particularly pappy talk show I watched yesterday featured a segment entitled "Minute Masterclass," prompting me to wonder: Why do so many broadcasters and web-content producers think we expect...

Mistakes are the portals of discovery. — James Joyce In a painting class this week, I confessed to "wiping" a lousy still life, an admission that triggered a 15-minute discussion of the upside of mistakes. "Wiping a painting is a badge of honor," the teacher said. "It's also...