Art is long. Life is short. A picture can become for us a highway between a particular thing and a universal feeling.

— Lawren Harris

The most surprising Lawren Harris quotes that will inspire your inner self

In the inner place where true artists create there exists a pure child.


Every work of art which really moves us is in some degree a revelation: it changes us.


Through our own creative experience we came to know that the real tradition in art is not housed only in museums and art galleries and in great works of art; it is innate in us and can be galvanized into activity by the power of creative endeavour in our own day, and in our own country, by our own creative individuals in the arts.


We were told, quite seriously, that there never would be a Canadian art because we had no art tradition.


Visible nature is but a distorted reflection of a more perfect world and the creative individual viewing her is inspired to perceive within and behind her many garments, that which is timeless and entirely beautiful.


And light has no weight, / Yet one is lifted on its flood, /Swept high, /Running up white-golden light-shafts, /As if one were as weightless as light itself - /All gold and white and light.


Art is not an amusement, nor a distraction, nor is it, as many men maintain, an escape from life. On the contrary, it is a high training of the soul, essential to the soul's growth, to its unfoldment.


The primary function of art is not to imitate or represent or interpret, but to create a living thing; it is the reduction of all life to a perfectly composed and dynamic miniature - a microcosm where there is perfect balance of emotion and intellect, stress and strain resolving itself, form rhythmically poised in three dimensions.


I don't suppose you do know precisely what you are after.

I don't think in the creative process anyone quite knows. They have a vague idea - a beckoning, an inkling of some truth - it is only in the process that it comes to any clarity.


I myself incline to drift, to accept a lesser situation rather than strive for a greater, and yet, I know that character in life and art is only made by an effort that is quite beyond one's ordinary everyday acceptance of things as they are.


It requires courage to face and to conquer the immense weight of inertia and the dead and dying traditions and sophistications that clutter the minds of men and mould them into the mimicry of living ways.


Beauty is a living abiding presence completely untouchable by all the devices of man, such as moral codes, creeds, intellectual analysis, games and cliches, the acquisitive instinct, or lust for anything whatsoever.


About Lawren Harris

Quotes 31 sayings
Profession Painter
Birthday October 23, 1885

The power of beauty at work in man, as the artist has always known, is severe and exacting, and once evoked, will never leave him alone, until he brings his work and life into some semblance of harmony with its spirit.


New material demands new methods, and new methods fling a challenge to old convention.


I felt the strange brooding lonely presence of Nature fostering a new race, a new age, and as part of it, a new expression in Art. It was an unfolding of the heart itself through the effect of environment, of people, of place, and time.


Experiences, much more than instruction, are a seeing with the inner eye - finding a channel to our essential inner life, a door to our deepest understanding wherein we have the capacity for universal response.


So long as painting deals with objective nature, it is an impure art, for recognizability precludes the highest aesthetic emotion. All painting, ancient or modern, moves us aesthetically only in so far as it possesses a force over and beyond its aspect.


Of course there must be the urge, the indefinable longing to get something through into terms of plastic presentation, but results are nearly always unpredictable.


It requires a conviction that every people has a unique contribution to give to mankind, and that this they must make or remain sterile, subservient, sallow, and that this contribution they must have commenced to make before they can hope to understand the spirit that informs all great works and inspires all noble living.


For the arts epitomize, intensify and clarify the experience of beauty for us as nothing else can.


Art must take to the road and risk all for the glory of adventure.


Art is the distillate of life, the winnowed result of the experience of a people, the record of the joyous adventure of the creative spirit in us toward a higher world; a world in which all ideas, thoughts, and forms are pure and beautiful and completely clear, the world Plato held to be perfect and eternal. All works that have in them an element of joy are records of this adventure.


The truth is that works of art test the spectator much more than the spectator tests them.


Art is the beginning of vision into the realm of eternal life.


Abstract art is a creative interplay between the conscious and the unconscious, with the conscious mind making all the final decisions and in control throughout.


If we view a great mountain soaring into the sky, it may excite us, evoke an uplifted feeling within us. There is an interplay of something we see outside of us with our inner response. The artist takes that response and its feelings and shapes it on canvas with paint so that when finished it contains the experience.


The thought of today cannot be expressed in the language of yesterday.


Sometimes, indeed often, we work on a theme with an unformed idea, and, when it has passed through the process, its final result is something we could never have predicted when we commenced.


Mind alone remains stable, and watches the chaos of phenomena, and knows that there is a plastic unity of existence - a changeless harmony - behind the everchanging.


Are we taking the drunken drivers off the road only to turn them into drunken pedestrians?