(of Artistic Concerns) Cecil Orion
If one wishes to dispense with discipline,
one must first develop a strong discipline.
If one wishes to develop humility,
one must first develop self-respect.
To eliminate one's faults, they
must first be brought out to view.
This is called the subtle illumination.
The humble and receptive
overcomes the proud and forceful.
As fish can only live in the stream,
so one's inner life is developed
only inwardly; hidden rather than displayed. 
 I have always tried to hide my own efforts and wished my works to
have the lightness and joyousness of a springtime which never lets anyone
suspect the labors it has cost. So I am afraid that the young, seeing in
my work only the apparent facility and negligence in the drawing, will
use this as an excuse for the dispensing of certain efforts which I believe
The few exhibitions that I have had the opportunity of seeing
during these last years make me fear that the young painters are avoiding
the slow and painful preparation which is necessary for the education of
any contemporary painter who claims to construct by color alone.
This slow and painful work is indispensable. Indeed, if gardens
were not dug over at the proper time, they would soon be good for nothing.
Do we not first have to clear, and then cultivate, the ground at each season
of the year?
When an artist has not known how to prepare his flowering period,
by work which bears little resemblance to the final result, he has a short
future before him: or when an artist who has “arrived” no longer feels
the necessity of getting back to earth from time to time, he begins to
go round in circles repeating himself, until by this very repetition, his
curiosity is extinguished.
An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with
her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable
him to express himself in his own language.
The future painter must feel what is useful for his development
- drawing or even sculpture - everything that will let him become one with
Nature, identify himself with her, by entering into things - which is what
I call Nature - that arouses his feelings. I believe study by means of
drawing is most essential. If drawing is of the Spirit and color of the
Senses, you must draw first, to cultivate the spirit and to be able to
lead color into spiritual paths. That is what I want to cry out loud, when
I see the work of the young men for whom painting is no longer an adventure,
and whose only goal is the impending first one-man show which will first
start them on the road to fame.
It is only after years of preparation that the young artist should
touch color - not as description, that is, but as a means of intimate expression.
Then he can hope that all the images, even all of the symbols, which he
uses will be the reflection of his love for things, a reflection in which
he can have confidence if he has been able to carry out his education,
with purity, and without lying to himself. Then he will employ color with
discernment. He will place it in accordance with a natural design, unformulated
and completely concealed, that will spring directly from his feelings:
this is what allowed Toulouse-Lautrec, at the end of his life, to exclaim,
“At last, I do not know how to draw anymore.”
The painter who is just beginning thinks that he paints from
his heart. The artist who has completed his development also thinks that
he paints from his heart. Only the latter is right, because his training
and discipline allow him to accept impulses that he can, at least partially,
Henri Matisse in a letter to Henry Clifford, 1944