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Art and painting

Excerpt from The Painter: A Novel of Pursuit

Monday August 12


The Bay has never been more spacious. Even the landscape seems to celebrate April’s relocation to some other part of the country. Today, there’s room for the spirit to roam, to climb, to glide, to float.

The artistic wind has shifted, and the variety of maritime life – blue crabs, male and female, sea nettles, anemones – leads to new combinations of the concrete and the exalted. How did I miss seeing these creatures? The first concern of the artist is to see. When the eye sees, and the heart feels, the painter communicates meaning, and the world learns the idea of life.

Other quotations on art and painting

When I started to paint, I felt transported into a kind of paradise... In everyday life, I was usually bored and vexed by the things that people were always telling me I must do. Starting to paint, I felt gloriously free, quiet, and alone.
    Henri Matisse


Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beenath, or that is in the water under the earth.
    Bible, Ten Commandments, Exodus 20: 4


The visible substitute may gain favor at the expense of the absent visible person or entity it stands for.
    Julian Bell, What is Painting?


Art is a form of play, not to be taken seriously.
    Plato, The Republic, Book 10.


It is through mimesis (mimicking) that man develops his first understanding.
    Aristotle, Poetics


For Renaissance artists, painting was perhaps an instrument of knowledge but it was also an instrument of possession.... It is this avid and ambitious desire to take possession of the object for the benefit of the owner or even of the spectator which seems to me to constitute one of the outstandingly original features of the art of Western civilization.
    Claude Lévi-Strauss


Art, with its unique undimished authority, justifies most other forms of authority, that make makes inequality seem noble and hiearchies seem thrilling.
    John Berger, Ways of Seeing


Go to nature... rejecting nothing, seleting nothing, and scorning nothing.
    John Ruskin


Drawing is not only a means of comprehending and recording the world, but a ritualized enactment of one's own subjective position within it. Drawing thus has something to do wtih desire and restraint, flattery and equivocation.
    Keith Miller


To paint not the thing, but the effect that it produces.
    Stephane Mallarmé


... the untranslatable term, sprezzatura, meaning something like nonchallance an effortless integration of faculties, the art of doing difficult things easily.
    Keith Miller


"Magician" is an epithet we reach for whenever a performance is beyond our grasp...
    Julian Bell


The world of the artist is often ordered in terms we cannot accept. This is true, in very different ways, of Aeschylus, Hardy, Ibsen, and Zola; we are prepared to accept neither Zeus nor the President of the Immortals nor hereditary disease as having the sort of ordering power that these writers ascribe to them.
    John Passmore


The pilgrimage from appearance to reality is the subject of every good play and novel.
    Iris Murdoch


Essentially it was an art ... of sudden birth, of brief-lived span, and of abrupt and premature decay... It was splendid while it lasted, but it had within it no organic life.
    Curzon on early Persian art


A single painting is no longer sufficient to capture the multi-dimensional quality of contemporary reality in a meaningful way.
    Dana Crane: The Transformation of the Avant-Garde (1987)


I may be excused for putting bones and joints out of their place as painting in this sense is no longer imitative but creative.
    James Jeffreys (1770)


We live with the experience of form and time. But it is much easier to find ways to gtell you about the latter than to find ways to show you it.
    Julian Bell


The only arms I allow myself to use: silence, exile and cunning.
    James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man


The course of a river is almost always disapproved of by its source.
    Cocteau


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The Painter by Stephen Denning

The Painter

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Sonnets by Stephen Denning

Sonnets 2000

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