Keep your resolutions with advice from these five artists

  • 3 January 2018

Be more productive, more perceptive, more curious about the world. What are your New Year's resolutions? These quotes from five inspirational artists offer words of wisdom to help kickstart your 2018.

1. Pablo Picasso’s productivity

Talk about making the most of a year; for Pablo Picasso, 1932 was a frenzy of creation, with the artist making more than 100 paintings, sculptures and works on paper in the space of just a few months.

Whatever your New Year’s resolutions, this prolific period in Picasso’s life is testament to what can be achieved with dedication and application – and how everything can change in as little as a year.

As he once famously said: ‘Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.’

Opening in 2018, Picasso 1932: Love, Fame Tragedy at Tate Modern explores Picasso’s ‘year of wonders’, when he completed many of his major works – including three portraits of his lover, Marie-Thérèse Walter, produced in a five-day window.

2. Claude Monet’s observation

Claude Monet used similar motifs throughout his work – lily pads, flowers, water, haystacks – all depicted in his distinct, highly perceptive style, capturing the effects of natural light through broken colour and diffuse brushstrokes.

His approach is a lesson in the power of observation, and taking time to appreciate the scene around you.

As Monet once put it: 'Paint what you really see, not what you think you ought to see.'

3. Tacita Dean’s curiosity

Working primarily in film, contemporary artist Tacita Dean has travelled the world – from Bodmin Moor in England to the vast lands of Wyoming in the American West – discovering detail we all too often ignore.

'You go places, and you want to make something as a result of that,' she says.

Dean’s attentiveness to place serves as a reminder to engage with our environment, to immerse ourselves in the moment and to listen to the stories of the land.

An upcoming exhibition at the Royal Academy, Tacita Dean: Landscape, illustrates her restless quest to document the world around us, at a time when it truly requires our attention.

4. Bridget Riley's perception

Vivid colours and patterns create movement in Bridget Riley's Op art paintings. The optical effect of curving elements and diagonal lines encourages you to see and think differently. A new outlook for 2018?

As Bridget Riley said: 'Perception is the medium.'

Challenge your perceptions at Southampton City Art Gallery by viewing Riley's Red Movement which was Art Funded in 2005.

5. Paul Cézanne’s emotion

Often termed the ‘father’ of modern art, Paul Cézanne was a pioneer in the way he combined formal experimentation with an intensely emotional, humane approach to his subjects.

Downcast eyes, raised eyebrows and pensive smiles: Cézanne’s portraits are laden with feeling, and the moods of the painter often seem as visible in his images as those of his sitters.

As the artist once said: ‘A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.’

Bonus: Winnie-the-Pooh’s open heart

Okay, so Pooh Bear is not an artist – but he is an icon thanks to author AA Milne and illustrator EH Shepard. This year, in what can sometimes feel like an increasingly divided world, his infectious sense of wonder – and fabled, unflagging kindness – might just offer the example we need.

After all, we could do worse than take a leaf out of Pooh’s book and remember, 'A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.'

See Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger and more at Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic at the V&A, and discover how one small bear has had such an enduring influence on popular culture.

With a National Art Pass you don't need to choose. See art across the UK with free entry to 240 museums and galleries and 50% off entry to major exhibitions.

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