work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.
(Sun conjunct Venus & Neptune.)
The awareness of
our own strength makes us modest.
We live in a rainbow
When I judge art,
I take my painting and put it next to a God made object like a tree
or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.
I am old and ill,
and I have sworn to die painting.
With an apple I
will astonish Paris.
(Leo on MC.)
Art is a harmony
parallel with nature.
One had to immerse
oneself in one's surroundings and intensely study nature or one's subject
to understand how to recreate it.
I thought that
by leaving Aix I should leave behind the boredom that pursues me. Actually
I have done nothing but change my abode and the boredom has followed
When a picture isn't
realized, you pitch it in the fire and start another one!
(Moon conjunct Uranus.)
There is no model;
there is only color.
Nature is more
depth than surface. Hence the need to introduce into our light vibrations
represented by the reds and yellows, a sufficient amount of blue to
give the impression of air.
When the color
achieves richness, the form attains its fullness also.
There is a logic
of colors, and it is with this alone, and not with the logic of the
brain, that the painter should conform.
I am progressing
very slowly, for nature reveals herself to me in very complex forms;
and the progress needed is incessant.
Time and reflection...
modify, little by little, our vision, and at last comprehension comes
(Saturn square Moon.)
a constructor, and Rafael an artist who, great as he is, is always limited
by the model. When he tries to be thoughtful he falls below the niveau
of his great rival.
The artist must
scorn all judgment that is not based on an intelligent observation of
character. He must beware of the literary spirit which so often causes
a painting to deviate from its true path – the concrete study
of nature – to lose itself all too long in intangible speculations.
I have made some
progress. Why so late and with such difficulty? Is art really a priesthood
that demands the pure in heart who must belong to it entirely?
(Saturn square Moon/Uranus.)
The contour eludes
Drawing and colour
are not separate at all; in so far as you paint, you draw. The more
the colour harmonizes, the more exact the drawing becomes.
All my compatriots
are asses compared to me.
(Mars in 11th house.)
The strong experience
of nature... is the necessary basis for all conception of art on which
rests the grandeur and beauty of all future work.
The knowledge of
the means of expressing our emotions is only acquired through very long
Get to the heart
of what is before you and continue to express yourself as logically
(Venus in Aquarius conjunct Capricorn Sun.)
One is neither
too scrupulous nor too sincere nor too submissive to nature; but one
is more or less master of one's model, and, above all, of the means
I have to keep
working, not to arrive at finish, which arouses the admiration of fools...
I must seek completion only for the pleasure of being truer and more
(Venus & Sun in 3rd house.)
To paint is not
to copy the object slavishly, it is to grasp a harmony among many relationships.
(Sun conjunct Venus.)
are done right, harmony appears by itself. The more numerous and varied
they are, the more the effect is obtained and agreeable to the eye.
Everything we see
falls apart, vanishes. Nature is always the same, but nothing in her
that appears to us, lasts. Our art must render the thrill of her permanence
along with her elements, the appearance of all her changes. It must
give us the taste of her eternity.
I wish to die painting.
Light is a thing
that cannot be reproduced, but must be represented by something else
– by color.
An optical impression
is produced on our organs of sight which makes us classify as light,
half-tone or quartertone, the surfaces represented by colour sensations.
So that light does not exist for the painter.
I advance all of
my canvas at one time.
Treat nature by
the cylinder, the sphere, the cone, everything in proper perspective
so that each side of an object or a plane is directed towards a central
Studying the model
and realizing it is sometimes very slow in coming for the artist.
What I am trying
to translate to you is more mysterious; it is entwined in the very roots
of being, in the implacable source of sensations.
I have not tried
to reproduce nature: I have represented it.
In order to make
progress, there is only nature, and the eye is turned through contact
The Louvre is a
good book to consult, but it must only be an intermediary. The real
and immense study that must be taken up is the manifold picture of nature.
What is one to
think of those fools who tell one that the artist is always subordinate
to nature? Art is a harmony parallel with nature.
To be sure an artist
wishes to raise his standard intellectually as much as possible, but
the man must remain in obscurity. Pleasure must be found in the studying.
(Venus in 3rd house.)
He unfolds, as
a painter, that which has not yet been said; he translates it into absolute
terms of painting – something other than reality.
itself by abstractions, whereas painting, by means of drawing and colour,
gives concrete shape to sensations and perceptions.
Painting from nature
is not copying the object; it is realizing one's sensations.
Pleasure must be
found in study.
All pictures painted
inside in the studio will never be as good as the things done outside.
I am not altogether
displeased with the shirt-front. [after 115 sittings for a portrait
of Ambroise Vollard]
There is no such
thing as an amateur artist as different from a professional artist.
There is only good art and bad art.
To achieve progress
nature alone counts, and the eye is trained through contact with her.
It becomes concentric by looking and working.
I wished to copy
nature. I could not. But I was satisfied when I discovered the sun,
for instance, could not be reproduced, but only represented by something
I cannot attain
the intensity that is unfolded before my senses. I have not the magnificent
richness of colouring that animates nature.
I am still searching
for the expression of those confused sensations that we bring with us
(Mars conjunct South Node in 11th house.)
One must see one's
model correctly and experience it in the right way; and furthermore
express oneself forcibly and with distinction.
Monet is only an
eye, but my God, what an eye!
One can do good
things without being very much of a harmonist or a colourist. It is
sufficient to have a sense of art – and this sense is doubtless
the horror of the bourgeois.
My nervous system
is very much weakened – nothing but painting in oil can keep me
Taste is the best
judge. It is rare. Art only addresses itself to an excessively small
number of individuals.
Painting is nature
seen through a temperament.
Right now a moment
of time is fleeting by! Capture its reality in paint... We must become
that moment, make ourselves a sensitive recording plate... give the
image of what we actually see, forgetting everything that has been seen
before our time.
There is no light
painting or dark painting, but simply relations of tones.
Talks on art are
almost useless. The work which goes to bring progress in one's own subject
is sufficient compensation for the incomprehension of imbeciles.
The painter unfolds
that which has not been seen.
The Louvre is the
book in which we learn to read.
It took me 40 years
to find out that painting is not sculpture.
Don't be an art
critic, but paint, there lies salvation.
All my life I have
worked to be able to earn my living, but I thought that one could do
good painting without attracting attention to one's private life. Certainly,
an artist wishes to raise himself intellectually as much as possible,
but the man must remain obscure. The pleasure must be found in the work.
It's so fine and
yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.
There are two things
in the painter, the eye and the mind; each of them should aid the other.
Painting, like any
art, comprises a technique, a workmanlike handling of material, but
the accuracy of a tone and the flicitous combination of effects depend
entirely on the choice made by the artist."
Style is not created
through servile imitation of the masters; it procees from the artist's
own particular way of feeling and expressing himself.
the ability to renew one's emotions in daily experience.
The artist makes
things concrete and gives them individuality.
are things in nature which have not yet been seen. If an artist discovers
them, he opens the way for his successors. If I have left something
unsaid, they will say it.
God knows how the
Old Masters got through those acres of work ... I exhaust myself, work
myself to death trying to cover fifty centimetres of canvas.
Painting is damned
difficult ... you always think you've got it, but you haven't.
I could paint for
a hundred years, a thousand years without stopping and I would still
feel as though I knew nothing.
Fruits ... like
having their portrait painted. They seem to sit there and ask your forgiveness
for fading. Their thought is given off with their perfumes. They come
with all their scents, they speak of the fields they have left, the
rain which has nourished them, the daybreaks they have seen."