I often painted fragments of things because it seemed to make my statement as well as or better than the whole could.
I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way.
I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way -- things I had no words for.
Nobody sees a flower -- really -- it is so small it takes time -- we haven't time -- and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.
You write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower -- and I don't.
Bement was a very good teacher but he was a very poor painter. I guess he wasn't a painter at all. He had no courage and I believe that to create one's own world in any of the arts takes courage.
I'd been taught to paint like other people, and I thought, what's the use? I couldn't do any better than they, or even as well. I was just adding to the brushpile. So I quit.
The abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can clarify in paint.
Sometimes I start in a very realistic fashion, and as I go on from one painting to another of the same kind, it becomes simplified until it can be nothing but abstraction.
The painting is like a thread that runs through all the reasons for all the other things that make one's life.
I know I am unreasonable about people but there are so many wonderful people whom I can't take the time to know.
When I think of death, I only regret that I will not be able to see this beautiful country anymore unless the Indians are right and my spirit will walk here after I'm gone.
Before I put brush to canvas, I question, 'Is this mine? ...Is it influenced by some idea which I have acquired from some man? ...I am trying with all my skill to do a painting that is all of women, as well as all of me.
Did you ever have something to say and feel as if the whole side of the wall wouldn't be big enough to say it on, and then sit down on the floor and try to get it onto a sheet of charcoal paper?
Nothing is less real than realism. Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things.
We feared the heartlessness of human beings, all of whom are born blind, few of whom ever learn to see.
I am not an exponent of expressionism. I don't know exactly what that means, but I don't like the sound of it. I dislike cults and isms. I want to paint in terms of my own thinking and feeling.
Now and then when I get an idea for a picture, I think, how ordinary. Why paint that old rock? Why not go for a walk instead? But then I realise that to someone else it may not seem so ordinary.
I have lived on a razors edge. So what if you fall off. I'd rather be doing something I wanted to do. I'd walk it again.
I took back a barrel of bones to New York. They were my symbols of the desert, but nothing more. I haven't seen enough to think of any other symbolism. The skulls were there and I could say something with them.
Someone else's vision will never be as good as your own vision of your self. Live and die with it 'cause in the end it's all you have. Lose it and you lose yourself and everything else. I should have listened to myself.
I think it's so foolish for people to want to be happy. Happy is so momentary -- you're happy for an instant and then you start thinking again. Interest is the most important thing in life; happiness is temporary, but interest is continuous.
The unexplainable thing in nature that makes me feel the world is big fat beyond my understanding -- to understand maybe by trying to put it into form. To find the feeling of infinity on the horizon line or just over the next hill.
I can't live where I want to, I can't go where I want to go, I can't do what I want to, I can't even say what I want to. I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to.
Making your unknown known is the important thing -- and keeping the unknown always beyond you -- catching -- crystalizing your simpler clearer vision of life -- only to see it turn stale compared to what you vaguely feel ahead -- that you must always keep working to grasp.
One works because I suppose it is the most interesting thing one knows to do. The days one works are the best days. On the other days one is hurrying through the other things one imagines one has to do to keep one's life going.
My center does not come from my mind -- it feels in me like a plot of warm moist well tilled earth with the sun shining hot on it... It seems I would rather feel starkly empty than let any thing be planted that cannot be tended to the fullest possibility of its growth.
There is something so perfect about the mountains and the lake and the trees... sometimes I want to tear it all to pieces.
A week ago it was the mountains I thought the most wonderful, and today it's the plains. I guess it's the feeling of bigness in both that carries me away.
Singing has always seemed to me the most perfect means of expression.
Singing has always seemed to me the most perfect means of expression. It is so spontaneous. And after singing, I think the violin. Since I cannot sing, I paint.
I always have a curious sort of feeling about some of my things -- I hate to show them -- I am perfectly inconsistent about it -- I am afraid people won't understand -- and I hope they won't -- and am afraid they will.
The simple fact of yourself... there it is... just you... no excitement about it... a very simple fact... the only thing you have... keep it as clear as you can.
I believe I would rather have Stieglitz like something -- anything I had done -- than anyone else I know.
I said to myself, I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me -- shapes and ideas so near to me -- so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn't occurred to me to put them down.
Sun-bleached bones were most wonderful against the blue -- that blue that will always be there as it is now after all man's destruction is finished.
I know now that most people are so closely concerned with themselves that they are not aware of their own individuality, I can see myself, and it has helped me to say what I want to say in paint.
I often lay on that bench looking up into the tree, past the trunk and up into the branches. It was particularly fine at night with the stars above the tree.
I have things in my head that are not like what anyone has taught me -- shapes and ideas so near to me -- so natural to my way of being and thinking that it hasn't occurred to me to put them down.
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