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...

All painting is accident. — Francis Bacon My small oil painting Nutella came about almost by itself and almost instantly—or at least it felt that way, coming on the heels as it did of a much larger painting entitled Yoo Hoo.  Nutella took less than two hours to paint;...

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...

A painter should not paint what he sees, but what will be seen. — Paul Valéry Every painter—even realists—spends years training to "abstract" scenes; to cease to see only objects and begin to see only lines, shapes, contours, and shadows. Ceasing to see only objects is not an...

The true use of art is to cultivate the artist’s own spiritual nature. — George Inness The 19th century American art movement known as Tonalism celebrated gentle tones, soft edges, atmosphere, and “the reality of the unseen.” Americans fell in love with it in the aftermath of the Civil...

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...

The past isn't dead. It isn't even past. — William Faulkner I love to paint stoneware crocks. Their chunky, chilly corporality reminds me of granite markers and monuments, the steadfast avatars of past lives. And their rootedness in the earth—crocks being made of dirt, a literal rootedness—lend them...

Painting a "picture" is meaningless. One paints beauty. — David Leffel In perhaps my favorite semester of college, I took a philosophy course on beauty. Philosophers call the study of beauty "aesthetics" and for 2,500 years have  argued over aesthetics questions like "does a painting actually exist?" and...

Whatever the objects of his attention, the painter will not make them say what they are without thereby learning what he is. — Jean-Paul Sartre Just when I think I've about had it with party strife, microbes, blizzards, intolerance and inequality, painting comes along to pick me up. Still-life...

Whoever is in a hurry shows that the thing he is about is too big for him. — Lord Chesterfield Originally, "slow food" founder Carlo Petrini didn't mean to start a global movement 3o years ago. He merely wanted Europeans to preserve local cuisines. But Petrini's "Slow Food...