I was glad to have my brain picked by a recent post on Maria Popova's blog, in which she shared some choice quotations from Agnes Martin: Paintings, Writings, Remembrances. Two thoughts by this great modernist artist that I loved were, first, regarding inspiration:
"Young children have more time in which they are untroubled than adults. They have therefore more inspirations than adults. The moments of inspiration added together make what we refer to as sensibility — defined in the dictionary as 'response to higher feelings.' The development of sensibility is the most important thing for children and adults alike, but is much more possible for children. What is the experience of the small child in the dirt? He suddenly feels happy, rolls in the dirt probably, feels free, laughs and runs and falls. His face is shining… 'The light was extraordinary, the feeling was extraordinary' is the way in which many adults describe moments of inspiration. Although they have had them all their lives they never really recall them and are always taken by surprise. Adults are very busy, taught to run all the time. You cannot run and be very aware of your inspirations."
And secondly, on studio practice:
"You must clean and arrange your studio in a way that will forward a quiet state of mind. This cautious care of atmosphere is really needed to show respect for the work. Respect for art work and everything connected with it, one’s own and that of everyone else, must be maintained and forwarded. No disrespect, carelessness or ego [and] selfishness must be allowed to interfere if it can be prevented. Indifference and antagonism are easily detected — you should take such people out immediately. Just turning the paintings to the wall is not enough. You yourself should not go to your studio in an indifferent or fighting mood."