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Karel Appel

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It’s (painting like this – you are in front of your canvas, your hands holds the painting, ready, raised. The canvas waits, waits, empty and white – but all the time it knows what it wants. So – what does it want, anyway? My hand comes near, my eyes begin to transform the waiting canvas; and when – with my hand holding the paint and my eyes seeing the forms – I touch the canvas, it trembles, it comes to life. The struggle begins, to harmonize canvas, eye, hand forms. New apparitions stalk the earth, c. 1953
--
'Karel Appel, Painter', Hugo Claus, Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1962; as quoted in "Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art"", eds. Kristine Stiles & Peter Selz, University of California Press, 1996, p. 98

 
Karel Appel

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I tell you, if one wants to be active, one must not be afraid of going wrong, one must not be afraid of making mistakes now and then. Many people think that they will become good just by doing no harm — but that's a lie, and you yourself used to call it that. That way lies stagnation, mediocrity.
Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. You don't know how paralyzing that is, that stare of a blank canvas is, which says to the painter, You can't do a thing. The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerises some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of 'you can't' once and for all.
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