Ideally, an artist should not become conscious of his insights

Rilke is one of the geniuses of art writing. He writes evocatively and intuitively, finding new handles on experience, indeed leading you by the hand into new awarenesses of old- seeming life. So here is something he wrote on Cezanne that I personally try to live up to, to work with as little self- consciousness as possible:

Theres something else I wanted to say about Cezanne : that no one before him ever demonstrated so clearly the extent to which painting is something that takes place among the colors, and how one has to leave them alone completely, so that they can settle the matter among themselves. Their intercourse this the whole of painting. Whoever meddles, arranges, injects his human deliberation, his wit, his advocacy, his intellectual agility in any way, already disturbing and cloudung their activity.

Ideally a painter (and, generally, an artist) should not become conscious of his insights: without taking the detour through his reflective processes, and incomprehensibly to himself, all his progress should enter so swiftly into the work that he is unable to recognize them in the moment of transition. Alas, the artist who waits in ambush there, watching, detaining them, will find them transformed like the beautiful gold in the fairy tale which cannot remain gold because some small detail was not taken care of. 

Rainer Maria Rilke     Paris VIe, 29, rue Cassette, October 21, 1907

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