I recently had a chance to visit the Henri Matisse museum in Nice and have since developed a renewed interest in this artist. Matisse was an expert draughtsman, and very good with colors. He is also one of the few artists out there who has written and spoken about art and the creative process extensively. The visit inspired me to paint “Red Flowers” which now has a home in Monaco. And I am beginning to re-read the words of Matisse which I had read years ago. Here are some quotes that I found particularly interesting and true, in my own experience.
A painting in an interior spreads joy around it by the colours, which calms us. The colours obviously are not assembled haphazardly, but in an expressive way. A painting on a wall should be like a bouqet of flowers in an interior. These flowers are an expression, tender or passionate.
Feeling is an enemy only when one doesn’t know how to express it. And it is necessary to express it entirely.
It is indispensable for the artist to reduce his existence to the minimum. Maillol understood that. ‘I can live on a pickled herring a day,’ he said. Simplify life. Don’t admit anything useless.
God guides my hand. Certainly he doesn’t speak into my ear, but I trust in Him.
Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working.
Since I am convinced that an artist can have no greater enemies than his bad paintings, I do not release a painting or a drawing until I have given it every possible effort; and if after that it still has life, I am happy as to the impression that it will make on the minds of those who see it.