Theories Have Been Outgrown

Jul 11 005

My quote for today is from legendary American artist, Arthur Dove:

“Theories have been outgrown.  The means is disappearing, the reality of the sensation alone remains.  It is that in its essence which I wish to put down. It should be a delightful adventure.”

To engage all the senses and not rely purely on sight produces work of exquisite sweetness.  This rests at the heart of the Zen arts.

Man is a Thinking Reed


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My Quote today is from D.T. Suzuki:

“Man is a thinking reed but his great works are done when he is not calculating and thinking.  “Child-likeness” has to be restored with long years of training in the art of self forgetfulness.      

When this is attained, man thinks yet he does not think.

He thinks like the showers coming down from the sky, he thinks like the waves rolling on the ocean, he thinks like the stars illuminating the nightly heavens, he thinks like the green foliage shooting forth in the relaxing spring breeze.

Indeed, he is the showers, the ocean, the stars, the foliage.  When a man reaches this stage of “spiritual” development, he is a Zen artist for life.”

I can’t say I am at this stage although do have a funny feeling that all of nature speaks to me by constantly expressing the truth of the universe.  Can you hear it? Can you see it?

It’s About Trust

2.27 Sunbaking in the Sky 42cm x 59cm3


 When you learn to trust yourself implicitly, you no longer need to prove something through your art.  You simply allow it to come out, to be as it is. This is where creating art becomes effortless.  It happens just as you grow your hair.  It grows.”
John Daido Loori


Come Said the Muse…

Late May 008

My quote today is from the amazing and unforgettable Walt Whitman:

“Come said the muse,

Sing me a song no poet yet has chanted,

Sing me the universal.

In this broad earth of ours,

Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,

Enclosed and safe within its central heart,

Nestles the seed perfection.”

I read into this that among all the technology, chatter, traffic, images, disturbances and fragmentation of everyday life there lies within us the seed of perfection.  This eternal flame is enclosed and safe within our hearts. You are perfect as you are and everything you aspire to be you are already, yet you do not realize it.

Do You Talk Too Much?

Crowded Drawing

Here I present two quotes to set you straight about being humble and not talking yourself up if and when you get adulation.

“Those who know don’t talk. Those who talk don’t know.” Laozi

And from Konstantin Stanislavsky:

“Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art.”  This is not easy for many artists, especially performers who receive a lot of attention.  When we’re full of ourselves, art cannot flow through us.  Our art becomes rigid, limited  by the boundaries we’ve created for ourselves, or stunted by our feelings and ideas.” 

This is of no concern for me because I don’t get a lot of attention.  However, after reading these two quotes, I have decided to be a little quieter….

Can you think of a person who talked too much and didn’t let anybody else get a word in? And did they know what they were talking about?  Were you feeling anxiously eager to get away from them?  I’d love to read your comments.

For Artists: Do You Leap in The Dark?

Xmas 2012 005


My quote today is from Agnes De Mille:

“Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how.  The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows.  We guess.  We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.”

You may not realize it but every sketch you start, every mark you make, every photo you take, every word you write, every note you play is indeed a leap in the dark.  It is a dive into the ocean of pure potentiality or possibility.  Anything could happen and usually does.  Are you happy with ambiguity?. If you are an artist, the answer is a resounding “yes!”.  After all, who else would be crazy enough to live so tentatively.

Are you leaping?  How far and how high, that is the question.


Courage -Daily Therapy for Artists

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Expectation precludes the opportunity for discovery.  When we try to reach a goal, we become fixated on it and miss the process.”   John Daido Loori


For Artists: You Can’t Do It

National Day


My quote today is from Picasso:

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

This is the first ever drawing I did in charcoal, I was terrified and surely got in a right mess!  Anyway, I persevered, practiced and eventually, after a few years could do a reasonable charcoal drawing.  One of my favourite lecturers always said, “With drawing, your first three are usually duds!”  Does anyone agree?

To discover new ways of seeing and a different approach to creativity, check out my free tutorials on this site.


For Artists: Does Your Work Have Balls?

The Poupee

My quote today is from Francis Bacon “A painting that doesn’t have any balls is never vulnerable.”

What exactly does this mean?  Can you think of any paintings/drawings worthy of this description?

I am thinking Bacon may mean artwork with attitude, out there, with impact and standing out from the rest.  With Zen principles, your work can become bold and new even though the theme has been explored many times before.  Visit my free tutorials to check out how to see in bold new ways.

With this in mind, I created the pen and ink drawing (from a photo) of a female pleasure doll from the early part of the century.  I broke every rule I had learned.  What do you think?

For Creatives: Has A Bond Been Created?

Reclining Nude Foreshortened

My quote today is from legendary photographer, Minor White..

“Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer.  It has chosen.”

For more on this see my last post titled “Are You The Chosen One?”  In other words, do you allow your subject to choose you?