A Collection of Thoughts on Art, Artists, and Creativity


Compiled and Edited by Astrid Fitzgerald


Lindisfarne Books - 1996 - $18.95, 240pp, Paper - ISBN 0-940262-76-2


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An Artist's Book of Inspiration is available in a limited edition of unique hand-bound books created by the artist. Click here


This collection was gathered during one person's life of making art and studying the spiritual traditions. It is filled with the best thoughts on art, artists, and the creative process, drawn from various traditions, times, and places. It is intended to serve as a guide and an inspiration for all those who want to be reminded of the sources of creativity amid the fractured confusion of the contemporary scene.


From the reports of mystics to the observations of scientists, these passages have been arranged in this volume to provide brief glimpses into the recesses of artistic being, into the tentative formations in consciousness, the first glimmers of imagination, the distinctive faculties of the creative mind, and the tensions of artistic expression in the workshop and the creative life.


Fitzgerald's great contribution has been to gather into a meaningful collection the words of 1,500 years of genius as a resource and inspiration for all those who would break out of creative limitations and take a bold step into the future.


Illustrated with the art of the author and others.


Endorsements for An Artist's Book of Inspiration


Astrid Fitzgerald's anthology of thoughts on art is the kind of book that will find the true reader: one who seeks solidarity with the kindred spirits of all times and places. - DORE ASHTON, author of The New School & A Critical Study of Philip Guston.


Open this book each time with a sense of celebration - that such things have been said and felt so cleanly, and that they are true. This is a permanent collection, light for the studio shelf. - ROGER LIPSEY, author of An Art of our Own: The Spiritual in Twentieth Century Art.


This eclectic and intelligent collection of artists' discoveries, explorations and insights guides its readers into the myriad byways of the creative life. These brief quotations act not only as maps but also as divining rods, awakening one's own perceptions on how the world may spring more imaginatively alive. - JANE HIRSHFIELD, poet, editor of Women in Praise of the Sacred.


The nature and contribution of art has been hidden in recent times, buried under a too-rational and mechanical world. This beautiful and inspiring collection is honest, fresh, and enlightening. I hope it marks a return to the depths of art. Read these great words and make a manifesto of them, or at least guidelines toward the rehumanization of art and our world. - THOMAS MOORE, author of Care of the Soul & The Reenchantment of Everyday Life.


Astrid Fitzgerald's work of love and mind cultivates a "garden of art," displaying and preserving endless varieties of imagination. Open to any page before, during, or after making art and receive an infusion of the creative spirit. - SHAUN McNIFF, author of Art as Medicine: Creating a Therapy of the Imagination. 


NAPRA Review 


Fitzgerald conveys a poet's sensibility in the organization of this collection on the spirit of art. A full field of illuminating ideas from great thinkers and artists is here for the reader to pluck from, dance through, roll about in, be startled by, and ponder. The theme that the artist is a conscious builder of a new worldview resonates from Fitzgerald's strong philosophical foundation. She states, "The great ideas on art and expressions of the creative process contained in this volume...have nourished my ground of being, have strengthened my reason and intellect, and have given me courage in times of struggle and doubt. The quotations in this book are offered to the reader in the spirit of exploration: Consider this! Reflect on that! See what arises in your mind! - NANCY QUACKENBUSH, Napra ReVIEW.


Umbrella Review 


This is an exhilarating gathering which will move the soul and inspire the mind, develop the human heart and stir the brain to make art. Beautifully designed, this will be worn enough to warrant the purchase of two: one to keep, and one to give. - JUDITH HOFFBERG, Umbrella. 


Bob & Nancy's Review 


An Artist's Book of Inspiration offers an unparalleled collection of what I would call "the best things deep thinkers and vibrant live-ers have had to say about some of the most important subjects in the world." Whether you take it off the shelf only once in a while to savor in small bites, or keep it by your bedside or on your desk for daily reflection or meditation, I think you'll find this book a joy to own. An Artist's book of Inspiration is a reference book that breathes life into its subjects and rewards the reader just for opening its pages. Very highly recommended. - BOB & NANCY'S BOOKSHOP


Spirituality & Health Review 


"To the poet," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, "all things are friendly and sacred, all events profitable, all days holy, all men divine." This is just one of the gems in this book, compiled and edited by Astrid Fitzgerald. In ten chapters, she has distilled the wisdom of such creative geniuses as Paul Klee, Vincent van Gogh, Martha Graham, James Joyce, Henri Matisse, and many others. Wassily Kandinsky celebrates "the gift of divining the inner life in everything." Kahlil Gibran honors inspiration as "seeing a part of the whole with the part of the whole in you." And Johann Wolfgang von Goethe notes that "only a work of art teaches true contemplation." This is an excellent sourcebook for those who are interested in exploring the tie between creativity and the true expression of soul. - FREDERIC AND MARY ANN BRUSSAT, Spirituality & Health.


Contact Review 


Culled from a lifetime of study and reading, this assemblage of inspiring quotations and anecdotes is a powerful sourcebook not only for working artists, but for everyone who stops to touch from time to time the center of his/her soul. Fitzgerald has drawn her material from a wide range of traditions, times and places. Selections from 20th century artists, such as Kandinsky, Henry Moore, Rothko and Matisse, dovetailed elegantly with material from Emerson, Thoreau...A sensitive, intelligent preface to the book emphasizes the larger questions of art-making: the quest for truth; the exploration of one’s spiritual ground; the goals of transformation - individual and societal - that challenge today’s creative artists. The author also introduces each of the ten parts of the anthology with her own graceful, but sharply illuminating reflections. One feels as if one has been granted privileged access to a working artist’s journal, a powerful record of her own creative process. One of my favorite selections is the very last, by Emerson. "An artist spends himself like the crayon in his hand, til he is all gone." A true artist’s life, or perhaps the true life of an artist, is a generous one. Artmaking is a replication of the larger creative act of breathing life into what was before lifeless, or non-existent. This anthology then is itself a work of art, a generous offering to readers to partake in the feast that has inspired one artist’s soul. - LIZ MARRAFFINO-REES - CONTACT, ed. 13, London, 1997.


Small Press Book Review - Winter 1997


Well-chosen quotes by a wide variety of artists, philosophers, religious thinkers, and some sacred texts. Hegel, Thoreau, Goethe, Lao Tsu, Cẻzanne, Goethe, Wilde, and Meister Eckhart are among the individuals who are quoted on the subject of art. The numerous quotations both illumine the nature of art and also inspire contemplation on matters larger than oneself. 


Exceptional Human Experience Network, Inc Reviews


This is a compendium of quotations on art, artistic expression, and creativity. It is of value to EHEers in two ways. First, reading these inspired and inspiring quotations can spark recollections of one’s own moments of creative insight and inspiration, and help to potentiate one’s EHEs. Some of the quotations may trigger EHEs in themselves in the act of reading. Thus, the book is relevant to two forms of exceptional human experience: the creative insight and the literary experience. If you are involved in writing about your EHEs or are in an artistic activity, or project of transcendence, then reading some of the passages in this book should get you into the frame of mind you need to do your best work. The book can provide starting points for meditation also. One of the quotations I opened to randomly is Harold Rosenberg’s "Today, each artist must undertake to invent himself, a life-long act of creation..." The same, with the addition of herself, could be said of the process of honoring our exceptional experiences. 


What readers say about AN ARTIST'S BOOK OF INSPIRATION


This book is to the arts and the creative experience what Aldous Huxley’s PERENNIAL PHILOSOPHY was to philosophy and the mystical experience; a compendium of memorable quotes and reflections direct from creative people throughout history.  A marvelous source book to keep somewhere close by for easy and frequent reference. - John Anthony West, author of Serpent in the Sky - The high wisdom of Ancient Egypt


Highly recommended. A wonderful source of quotations of spiritual wisdom from an international array of artists, philosophers, spiritual leaders, etc. I have returned to it again and again for refreshment and inspiration. Astrid Fitzgerald has provided us with a gift from the heart. - Ted Knerr


I read it with great delight...The book is a comfort to read and you did a very fine job of selecting passages. - Burghild Nina Holzer


It is truly what it is meant to be - a book of inspiration. I thank you over and over for sharing your collection. - Elizabeth Mowry


Your book - what a miracle. We use it exactly as you intended; it's our watering-hole on our coffee table. - Susan Lipsey


What a beautiful book you put together, so tenderly, lovingly and wisely. - Gilah Yelin Hirsch


I do like your "Book of Inspiration" that's what it truly is - a rich choice of precious and interesting quotations...the introductions to the different parts are very intelligent and convincing. - Rosemarie Schirmer


Thank you for making this book available, An Artist’s Book of Inspiration – A Collection of Thoughts on Art, Artists, and Creativity; I've thoroughly ENJOYED reading all the different thoughts of others on the various subject matter pertaining to "Art, Artists, and Creativity." I am an artist myself, and have begun working in stone carving, just recently. I first heard of your book through a '4-day stone carving' workshop held in the my local area last Fall 2008, by professional sculptor, Bob Lockhart. So, once again, many thanks for sharing your 'special' treasure trove of insightful, quotes. – Deb Schug - April 2009


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