Robert Henri: Find out what you really like… Then sing your song
“I know I have said a lot when I say ‘You can do anything you want to do.’ But I mean it. There is reason for you to give this statement some of your best thought. You may find that this is just what is the matter with most of the people in the world; that few are really wanting what they think they want, and that most people go through their lives without ever doing one whole thing they really want to do.
An artist has got to get acquainted with himself just as much as he can. It is no easy job, for it is not a present-day habit of humanity. This is what I call self-development, self-education. No matter how fine a school you are in, you have to educate yourself.
There is nothing more entertaining than to have a frank talk with yourself. Few do it – frankly. Educating yourself is getting acquainted with yourself.
Find out what you really like if you can. Find out what is really important to you. Then sing your song. You will have something to sing about and your whole heart will be in the singing.
…Very few people know what they want, very few people know what they think. Many think and do not know it and many think they are thinking and are not thinking.
Self-education is no easy proposition.
Men either get to know what they want, and go after it, or some other persons tell them what they want and drive them after it….
Get as much acquainted with yourself as you can. Question yourself. After a while you may get some answers. They will surprise and shock you, but they will interest you.”
Robert Henri: Your only hope of satisfying others is in satisfying yourself
“You have to go on satisfying yourself more and more in order that others less keen to see and less used to reading pictures will get the song you sing. Your only hope of satisfying others is in satisfying yourself.”
Samuel Beckett: In accepting it, I will make it work for me
“[During a winter storm] he suddenly realized that the ‘dark he had struggled to keep under’ in his life – and in his writing, which had until then failed to find an audience or meet his own aspirations – should, in fact, be the source of his creative inspiration. ‘I shall always be depressed,’ Beckett concluded, ‘but what comforts me is the realization that I can now accept this dark side as the commanding side of my personality. In accepting it, I will make it work for me.'”
[on writer Samuel Beckett, from Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals]
Danny Gregory: Discovering new worlds through a thousand tiny details
“The wonderful artists in this book want to see the world through their own eyes. . . .
“They want to stop and drink it in, refresh their eyes and minds, dismiss preconceptions and replace them with wonder. They know that to truly see the places one has traveled so far to see, one need only pack along a pen and a sketchbook.
“When we document a journey in a sketchbook, we discover the difference between vacationing and traveling; we become adventurers, discovering new worlds through a thousand tiny details. Unlike those who hide behind a pudgy mystery novel and a piña colada while plopped in a poolside lounge chair, the travel journal keeper clears his mind, refreshes his eyeballs and builds a cache of enduring memories.
“[Artists] discover the differences and particularities of each destination through drawing: the unique flow of every city, the specific lines that make up each city’s signature, the way people dress and park and eat and shop.
“I discovered in interviewing people for the book that to talk about art and travel is to talk about life – to learn people’s stories and their loves.
“Keep a travel journal and draw the things you see every day on your trip. The point is not to create works of art that will hang in galleries or museums but to form a permanent record of your experience, one that you can return to when you want to recapture the nuance and the revelations you discovered on your trip. Don’t worry about the quality of the drawings… Make your own images, and you will make your own memories.”
[excerpts from Danny Gregory’s book An Illustrated Journey, Inspiration from the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers]
“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: They try to have more things or more money, in order to do more of what they want to do so that they will be happier: The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you really need to do, in order to have what you want.” -Margaret Young
“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” -Buddha
“Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9 per cent of everything you think, and of everything you do, is for yourself – and there isn’t one.” -Wei Wu Wei
“…Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” -Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love