Make art with fresh Insight with quotes from Famous Artists

Doubts and realisations


In times of doubt, I refer to the wisdom of famous and accomplished artists. Life is full of struggles and obstacles, and this is the perfect time to build a foundation of understanding to support creative thinking.

I would like to look at wise words from Henri Cartier-Bresson.

The following 5 quotes take me away from my constant personal ranting, inspiring me to look forward and strive with more vigour in my creative endeavours.

Quote 1

Many moments to capture

 “Thinking should be done before and after, not during photographing.”- Henri Cartier-Bresson.

 To be free from criticism or any other blocking action during painting is liberating and can produce consistent results. This becomes easier through doing the work. Any resistance to doing the work is also a rich resource for research.  

As a practicing fine artist, I can certainly relate to Henri Cartier-Bresson’s quote. In the realm of photography, it is essential to approach the process with a thoughtful and deliberate mindset. Let’s delve into the significance of this quote and how it applies to fine art photography.

Before Photographing: Before picking up a camera, it is crucial for a fine artist to engage in thoughtful contemplation and planning. This involves conceptualizing the idea or theme behind the photograph, considering the composition, lighting, and overall visual aesthetic.

By taking the time to think deeply about the intended message or emotion, the artist can create a more impactful and meaningful image. During this pre-photographing stage, the artist can explore various techniques, research other artists’ work, and experiment with different approaches. This preparation allows for a more intentional and focused execution when it comes time to capture the image.

During Photographing: Henri Cartier-Bresson’s quote suggests that the act of photographing should not be a moment for deep thinking. Instead, it should be a moment of instinct and intuition.

When the artist is behind the camera, they should rely on their pre-planning and preparation to guide their decisions. In the midst of photographing, the artist should be fully present and attuned to the visual elements unfolding before them. This requires being in the moment, observing the surroundings, and capturing the essence of the subject matter.

By allowing instinct and intuition to guide the process, the artist can capture authentic and spontaneous moments that convey their intended message. All these processes can be transferred into different creative disciplines such as painting. So this quote is broad and embraces an aspect of the creative process

Starting is the first hurdle to overcome. Confidence begins to emerge when first we look at the object and deliver paint onto the canvas. There are no mistakes, just marks and these all have a purpose.

Painting is a doing word, an action. Without action, there is no painting; it is all just a theory.

Quote 2

 “Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson.

 So is an immediate reaction instinctive? In a sense, the process that I have been developing is about responding at the moment of painting. The meditation that Bresson alludes to is reflection.

Whilst completing a portrait, I will revisit the moment time and time again until I have established a strong relationship with the subject.

This concept can certainly influence the creation of an oil painting. When translating the immediacy of photography into an oil painting, an artist may focus on capturing the essence of a moment or subject with bold and spontaneous brushwork. The artist can use loose and expressive brushstrokes to convey the energy and emotion of the scene, similar to how a photograph captures a fleeting moment.

On the other hand, the meditative nature of drawing can influence the planning and composition of an oil painting. Drawing requires careful observation and analysis of the subject, allowing the artist to study its form, proportions, and details. This attention to detail can be applied to the initial sketch or underpainting of an oil painting, ensuring accuracy and a solid foundation for the subsequent layers of paint.

Additionally, drawing as a meditation can encourage the artist to explore different perspectives and compositions before committing to a final image. This introspective process can lead to a more thoughtful and deliberate approach to creating an oil painting. The artist may take the time to consider the placement of objects, the play of light and shadow, and the overall balance and harmony of the composition. In summary, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s quote highlights the contrasting approaches of photography and drawing. When applied to oil painting, it can inspire artists to capture the immediacy of a moment through bold brushwork, while also encouraging a meditative and deliberate approach to composition and planning.

 This continues for days and is a meditation and a relationship. I experience a zone or flow state. Perhaps the connection is another way to describe the moment or collection of moments.

Quote 3

 “I believe that, through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson.


The act of painting has increased my awareness of the environment around me. Light changes from moment to moment, directly impacting how things look and feel. We live in a transient environment. This awareness enables me to be flexible in my approach to each piece of work I create.

In a way, as our perception and sense response to everything around us is enhanced, then our environment has a new identity.


Making Creative work Improves your wellness

 Quote 4

“You just have to live, and life will give you pictures.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson.


Being able to live life to be more in touch with your potential. This striving mindset decides a life condition. The benefits become cumulative and therefore tangible. Like all things, it is hard to believe that they will continue to grow and give value. So far, the continual growth is a reflection of continuing efforts.

These insights are taken directly into our daily lives and affect change in the very fabric of our existence.

 Quote 5

“To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson.


Finally, about painting, there are many moments of recognition. The task is trusting a multitude of fractions. We are incredible and see so much detail in such a short time. We have the reflexes to translate these into images. So again, the health and wellness of creative making have clear benefits.



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