Make art with fresh Insight with quotes from Famous Artists

written by Patrick Turner-lee | Art Blog post, Art Practise

July 25, 2021

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.  

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 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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