Favorite Quotations

This page is an opportunity to share my favorite quotations that echo my views on creativity and other topics I focus on in this blog. I divided it by topic and then have some commentary. Please share your own favorites in the comments section!

On Creativity, Imagination and the Artist:

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.  ―Maya Angelou

I love this because it is about trusting your creativity and reminds me of water and wells. You can drink from the well and trust there will be more when you need it.

Art was, seriously, the only thing I’d ever wanted to own. It has always been for me a stable nourishment. I use it. It can change the way that I feel in the mornings. – David Bowie

I love David Bowie and was happy to see this. He articulates so well how art is so much more than pictures on walls or movies. That having art in your daily life can change your basic mood and boost it in the mornings and be there for you if you’re having a bad day. People don’t realize that what they look at and see can change how they feel in a profound way. It also explains how art feeds the artist. Art and food have a lot in common which is also why the arts therapies are so effective with people who have eating disorders.

If you hear a voice within you say, “You cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and the voice will be silenced.  –Vincent Van Gogh

This one is interesting in that it sums up the effectiveness of affirmations as having the power to counter our negativity and negative self images. It also explains why I share with clients that you can be accepting of your negative voice and acknowledge it and still do things you say you can’t do.

I dream my paintings and paint my dreams. –Van Gogh

I got this one from a client who had written it in her journal and decorated that page. I would love to dream my paintings, but I don’t have dreams of my art. It still sounds magical and makes me feel a kinship with Van Gogh because it can also just mean that we artists are in our art making mode a lot, even daydreaming our art.

The artist who forgets how to play soon forgets how to work. –Julia Cameron 

Julia Cameron is the author of The Artist’s Way and other books like it. This quote reminds us to let go of being serious and get back into the play space.  Often we are in judgmental, rational mind, and play is the key out of that into creative mind where there are six impossible things waiting for us before breakfast. I also see it in a broader way to encompass some of the therapy process with adult clients. Many adults have lost the desire and concsiousness of their need for play. In therapy we can awaken this desire through art and play.

The creative adult is the child who survived.  –Ursula Le Guin

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. –Sylvia Plath

I never came upon any of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking. –Albert Einstein

These three quotes go together. I had a client who called herself a “kidult”. In my baseline calm state I am a kidult. Like everyone else the child inside hides during high stress and reactivity. This child cannot come out until they feel safe to join me. One needs one’s own child mind when involved in the creative process. There is no room for judgment, doubt or logic when in the throes of creating, of being in that space.

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way… things I had no word for. –Georgia O’Keefe

When I read this from the mind of a pure painter, I feel a kinship, as I discovered art as an island of sanctuary where words disappeared, or if they were there, they didn’t have to make sense at all; they became just line, color, shape.

No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell. -Antonin Artaud

The world gives you so much pain and here you are making gold out of it — There is nothing purer than that. –Rupi Kaur

These two quotations express how art can save you and be a pain killer or help you express your pain, and why art therapy is useful when you are in hell in your life as a way out.

The discipline of creation, be it to paint, compose, write, is an effort towards wholeness. ―Madeleine L’Engle

This is another one about the healing power of creativity. Healing means “to make whole”.

On being yourself and self discovery:

But if you have nothing at all to create, then perhaps you create yourself. –Carl Jung

Maybe the fear is that we are less than we think we are, when the actuality of it is that we are much much more. –Jon Kabat Zinn

Both of these are about the voyage of self discovery and how cultivating awareness and expanding your mind can open you up to new vistas about yourself.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. -Oscar Wilde

Being a little weird is just a side effect of being awesome. –Sue Fitzmaurice

These two quotations express the concept of dancing to your own drums or whatever that expression is, and accepting yourself in all your unique weird different qualities; they are what make you you.

I am what is around me. -Wallace Stevens

Inner Stability is gained by contemplating a luminous, sorrowless, effulgent light. –Yoga Sutra

I see these quotations as living in the seventh chakra, the top of the head and what is called “superconsciousness” and connection to the oneness of being.

Thirty seconds of pure awareness is a long time, especially after a lifetime of escaping yourself at all costs. –Kiera Van Gelder

You do not just wake up and become the butterfly. Growth is a process. –Rupi Kaur

I love the first one as it’s ironic and humourous and captures how mindfulness is a very slow process as is the process of becoming more self aware; the Kaur quote is another way of saying the same thing.

Quotations about the here and now and about entering new dimensions and the imagination:

It is only from risking from one hour to another that we live at all. -William James

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh you can’t help that”, said the Cat. “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice. “You must be”, said the Cat, “Or you wouldn’t have come here.”

“What day is it?”, asked Pooh. “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day.” said Pooh.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. –Dr. Seuss

Life is what happens when you’re making other plans. –John Lennon

She decided to stop cleaning her house and start decorating her soul. –Anonymous

Last but not least, a few other quotations I enjoy that I woulnd’t categorize.

A wounded deer leaps the highest. –Emily Dickinson

And New York is the most beautiful city in the world? It is not far from it. No urban night is like the night there… Squares after squares of flame, set up and cut into ether. Here is our poetry, for we have pulled down the stars to our will. –Ezra Pound

And I have a few quotations about inspiration that I made up myself:

Make something: something that never existed.

Nobody can take your soul or your sketchbook away from you.

Art surrounds you; art is inside you.

Making art means you can destroy something to create something. The word “mess” means food after all…

Drawing always takes me back to the truth. There is no hiding in it. It’s there on the paper and in the marks: a track like footsteps in the snow. You see where you are, where you’ve been, all at once. Then you move on to the next drawing.


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