If there is a higher being it is an unconscious one. A tree never worries about the house it blocks from view. — Ken Kewley Artist Ken Kewley has remarkable insight into colors. "Pure colors are rare," he says. "Look at great paintings. Look for primary colors, colors that...

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...

A perceptual approach to painting is not synonymous with rote observation. — Matthew Ballou "Perceptual painters," artist Matthew Ballou says, dwell on two surfaces at once: the surface of the object and the surface of the canvas. The artist daubs paint on one surface (the canvas) in order...

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...

Painting is another way of keeping a diary. — Pablo Picasso I dashed off Social Distancing last March, the morning I realized Covid-19 was not just some flu, but "really real." Since that morning ten months ago, 389,000 Americans have died of the virus, including a close family...

Others have no data for computing our orbit other than our past acts. — Ralph Waldo Emerson Twenty years ago, a business coach recommended I read the now out-of-print Nichecraft. The book convinced me to specialize—a lesson I've carried with me into my move into professional painting. Specializing...

I'm rereading Somerset Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence and am struck by the scene in which the narrator begs Charles Strickland to explain himself. Why has the stockbroker abandoned his wife and children for la vie de bohème? "Do you mean to say you didn't leave your...