I've been saving quotations since I was a child.  I used to write them down on index cards and save them in a plastic recipe box.  Then I started jotting them in a notebook that I carried to classes with me in my purse.  I ended up cutting things out of magazines, scrawling them onto sticky notes, and writing them in at least seven or eight different notebooks.  I finally decided to end the madness, and get everything recorded in one notebook for easy reference.  I use the quotations in my art, in my journaling, on my blog, and for my own personal encouragement and inspiration.  Here is a small selection of some of my favorites.


While it is true that everything has already been said, it hasn’t been said by you, at this moment in time, in this place. (Nick Meglin, Drawing From Within)

What art offers is space—a certain breathing room for the spirit. (John Updike)

So often we sabotage our creative growth by providing an often temporary and swift answer to a question that wasn’t ready to be answered. (Kelly Rae Roberts)

It is a choice we artists make, that is not too unlike love, where we find ourselves venturing into a realm of total vulnerability. (Kirk Wassell)

If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.  (Marc Chagall)

Art doesn’t have to be pretty, impress your friends, or match your bedroom set. (Sarah Whitmire)

Track down the muse in its wild habitat, your own life, and tag it and pin it into your journal for when you are ready to turn it into your art. (Rowena Murillo)

The artist is not a special kind of person; rather each person is a special kind of artist. (Ananda Coomar Aswamy)

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.  (Thomas Merton)


How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.  (Annie Dillard)

I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.  (Arthur Rubenstein)             

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it; I want to have lived the width of it as well.  (Diane Ackerman)

“How dull it is to pause, to make an end,/ To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!/ As though to breathe were life!”  (Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses”)

Actually it was not until I was 40 that I was able to go into a room and say to myself, “What do I think of these people?” Before that, I had always thought, “What do these people think of me?”  When I became 40, I said to myself, “You are either a whole person now or you never will be.”  Believe in yourself.  (Brooke Astor)

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.  (ee cummings)

It is time to start living the life you’ve imagined.  (Henry James)

There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.  (Albert Einstein)

A sobering thought:  what if, at this very moment, I am living up to my full potential? (Jane Wagner)

Fall down six times, stand up seven. (Proverb)

Just imagine, though, how magical this planet could be if we all felt secure enough to be precisely who we are at this very moment. We would move mountains, my friend. We would. (Shari Beaubien)

Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.  Live! Live! Live! (Patrick Dennis, Auntie Mame)

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.  I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. (Henry David Thoreau, Walden)

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. (Dr. Howard Thurman)

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.  (Mark Twain)


All of us are watchers—of television, of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway—but few are observers.  Everyone is looking, not many are seeing.  (Peter M. Leschak)

To pay attention, that is our endless and proper work.  (Mary Oliver)

Being present means honoring what is real in our lives.  When we only show others the appearance of perfect, we miss the opportunity to meet them in the place where we are deeply seen. (Liz Lamoreux)

Don’t just do something!  Stand there! (contemporary Buddhist saying)

I see skies of blue, clouds of white, bright blessed days, dark sacred nights.  And I think to myself, “What a wonderful world.” (Louis Armstrong)

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware.  Joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. (Henry Miller)

An unhurried sense of time is in itself a form of wealth.  (Bonnie Friedman)

The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.  (Eden Phillpotts)


Who has not felt, in the first madness of sorrow, an unreasoning rage against the mute propriety of chairs and tables, the stiff squareness of Turkey carpets, the unbending obstinacy of the outward apparatus of existence?  We want to root up gigantic trees in a primeval forest, and to tear their huge branches asunder in our convulsive grasp; and the utmost that we can do for the relief of our passion is to knock over an easy-chair…   (Mary E. Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret)

All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them.   (Isak Dinesen)

I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.   (Duke Ellington)

We all have the seeds of compassion, forgiveness, joy, and nonfear in us.  If we’re constantly trying to avoid suffering, there is no way for those seeds to grow.   (Thich Nhat Hanh)


Deceitful men…their twenty pockets aren’t enough for their lies. (from “Ulysses” the movie)

Hallie and I weren’t forty percent of anything—we were all there was.  The image in the mirror that proves you are still there.  We had exactly one sister apiece.  We grew up knowing the simple arithmetic of scarcity:  A sister is more precious than an eye. (Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams)

“My hair—only my hair, nothing else—looked drunk.” (Charles Dickens, David Copperfield)

You would not write your name in pencil across the hypotenuse of a rightangled triangle.  (James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)

Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.   (Samuel Johnson)

She was a perfect freeway Mona Lisa.  (Richard Brautigan, “Holiday in Germany,” Revenge of the Lawn)

I’ve married a cupboard of Rubbish.  (Sylvia Plath, “The Beast”)

He is a crude, twisted line, but no brushstroke is in vain.  (Isabel Allende, The House of Spirits)

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