What a delight! What a feast for the eyes of color, joy, energy, light, abandon!
Miraculously, my intrepid fellow traveler, dear friend, and writing buddy Nancy managed to snag two tickets to the MoMA Matisse exhibit just before it ended.
The exhibit didn’t focus on Henri Matisse’s paintings, but on his enchanting and playful cut-outs — color-burst collages that he created using paper, scissors, imagination, and endless patience and discipline. These incredible works of art were created at the end of Matisse’s long career and at the peak of his creativity.
In many ways, the process he used is similar to writing because the pieces of his collages were pinned to a wall or other surface and could be moved around — edited and revised — until Matisse felt he had a work that was harmonious and whole. Sometimes he revisited and reworked one image, fine-tuning and reshaping it in subtle ways. Seeing these beautiful works inspired me to seek out some words of wisdom from Matisse about art and creativity, which I wanted to share with you because they apply so beautifully to writing:
“Starting to paint, I felt gloriously free, quiet, and alone.”
“Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.”
“The artist begins with a vision — a creative operation requiring effort.
Creativity takes courage.”
“One gets into a state of creativity by conscious work….Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes
while one is working.”
“Work cures everything….Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.”
“A large part of the beauty of a picture arises from the struggle which an artist wages with his limited medium.”
“Fit the parts together, one into the other, and build your figure like a carpenter builds a house. Everything must be constructed, composed of parts that make a whole…”
“The effort to see things without distortion takes something like courage and this
courage is essential to the artist, who has to look at everything as though he saw it
for the first time.”
What a gift to the world joyous work is! Bravo, Matisse! Thanks, Nancy! Inspired by the beauty all around us, let’s all write on.