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Patrick Swift

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I think that I probably have a real talent for painting trees if I developed it assiduously. I want to give them great density and depth pile heaps of detail into them and yet keep the sense of presence which is the whole point.

Patrick Swift

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Not every painter has a gift for painting, in fact, many painters are disappointed when they meet with difficulties in art. Painting done under pressure by artists without the necessary talent can only give rise to formlessness, as painting is a profession that requires peace of mind. The painter must always seek the essence of things, always represent the essential characteristics and emotions of the person he is painting...


Depth, in a pictorial, plastic sense, is not created by the arrangement of objects one after another toward a vanishing point, in the sense of the Renaissance perspective, but on the contrary (and in absolute denial of this doctrine) by the creation of forces in the sense of push and pull. Nor is depth created by tonal gradation (another doctrine of the academician which, at its culmination, degraded the use of color to a mere function of expressing dark and light).

Hans Hofmann

Islamic doctrine goes further than the other great religions, for it proclaims the presence of the soul, perhaps minute but nevertheless existing in an embryonic state, in all existence - in matter, in animals, trees, and space itself. Every individual, every molecule, every atom has its own spiritual relationship with the All-Powerful Soul of God. But men and women, being more highly developed, are immensely more advanced than the infinite number of other beings known to us.

Aga Khan III

I think we must see this very clearly right at the beginning that if one would solve the everyday problems of existence, whatever they may be, one must first see the wider issues and then come to the detail. After all, the great painter, the great poet is one who sees the whole who sees all the heavens, the blue skies, the radiant sunset, the tree, the fleeting bird all at one glance; with one sweep he sees the whole thing. With the artist, the poet, there is an immediate, a direct communion with this whole marvellous world of beauty. Then he begins to paint, to write, to sculpt; he works it out in detail. If you and I could do the same, then we should be able to approach our problems however contradictory, however conflicting, however disturbing much more liberally, more wisely, with greater depth and colour, feeling. This is not mere romantic verbalization but actually it is so, and that is what I would like to talk about now and every time we get together. We must capture the whole and not be carried away by the detail, however pressing, immediate, anxious it may be. I think that is where the revolution begins.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Since one cannot create "real depth" by carving a hole in the picture, and since one should not attempt to create the illusion of depth by tonal gradation, depth as a plastic reality must be two dimensions in a formal sense as well in the sense of color. "Depth" is not created on a flat surface as an illusion, but as a plastic reality. The nature of the picture plane makes it possible to achieve depth without destroying the two-dimensional essence of the picture plane. ... A plane is a fragment in the architecture of space. When a number of planes are opposed one to another, a spatial effect results. A plane functions in the same manner as the walls of a building. ... Planes organized within a picture create the pictorial space of its composition. ... The old masters were plane-consciousness. This makes their pictures restful as well as vital...

Hans Hofmann
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