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Life Arts

Five by Jules Olitski, an Inspired Artist-Worker

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"As we all know, inspiration, like love, can't be induced. If we are fortunate, it will happen, falling upon us like a gift from the gods. If we are very fortunate, it will happen more than once. The only thing I could hope for was that I would be at work when the miracle came about; so I worked all the time. And then some seven or eight years ago I came upon this sentence by Ralph Waldo Emerson: 'Do the thing and you will have the power.' I didn't know, and still don't, its exact meaning, but the words had for me a power in themselves, an incantatory power. It was as if, simply by saying the words and in that instant taking hold of the work, I had also taken hold of the power. Now here was a power I could induce. And what's more, the experience was similar to that which I had called inspiration. I believe I had tapped into some universal power. My experience is far from unique. Creative workers in many occupations and professions have experienced a communion with a divine source. It is maybe what Matisse had in mind when he asked himself if he believed in God and answered, yes, when at work.

Excerpt from the essay The Courage of Conviction, 1986, Ballantine Books, New York edited by Phillip L. Berman."

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All five paintings are acrylics on canvas:


Bathsheba Reverie - Yellow (2001)


Temptation - Yellow


By Love Unlocked - Beauty (2003)

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Patutsky Embraced - Black and White (2005)


Paututsky Embraced - Orange and Green (2005)

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*The words in double quotation marks are reproduced courtesy of Artnet's Artist Works Catalogues, which can be clicked on here. There is says: "This body of Modern and Contemporary artists' sites brings insight into the depth and scope of extraordinary artists' oeuvres, and it serves as a research tool for students, faculty, museum curators, researchers, dealers and collectors.

Artist Works Catalogues reflect the dynamic nature of the Web, and our goal is to present a growing body of artists' online monographs. Unlike published print monographs and catalogues raisonne's, these are living catalogues, which will be constantly updated as artists create new works and estates release additional information. Artnet offers these catalogues free to the public as an educational resource. Simply click on an individual artist's image to begin, and check back often to browse new catalogues."

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I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)
 

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