"Quotespirations" For Mixed Media Artists

Quotes and mantras often help us stay focused on the paths we choose, and Lesley Riley is an artist who knows this well. Lesley is the author of Inspirational Quotes Illustrated, and it’s my sincere pleasure to share with you the story of how she came to bring together this collection of art and lovingly curated quotations. Lesley talks about a pivotal quote by Goethe, one that has graced the walls of my own studio space for several years and has compelled me to try to find my limits and then push past them. Read on to see if this quote is one that you’re familiar with. If it’s new to you, I think it just might become one of your favorites, too.

Click here to “pin” Inspiration Arriving (digital photo collage: vintage papers, found images, 8×10) by Catherine Anderson, featured with Howard Pyle’s quote, “I put on my dream-cap one day and stepped into Wonderland,” in Inspirational Quotes Illustrated

From Inspirational Quotes Illustrated by Lesley Riley

My first introduction to quotes was my father’s well-worn, blue hardback copy of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. I remember it being quite heavy for my ten-year-old hands—a large book with tiny print, filling just about every inch on every page. This book was full of amazing insight and wisdom. I understood the magic it held even at that early age.

Quotes became a visual obsession a few years later when the Abbey Press catalog arrived in our mailbox full of Sister Corita Kent’s brightly colored 1960s-era illustrated quotes. It was the first place I read the words that set me on my path to becoming an artist:

“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Tweet this quote)

I have been collecting quotes for over 50 years. Thankfully it’s much easier now with word processors, Internet quote sites, and search engines. But I still love to pull my very 1960s colored journal off the shelf, smile at my teenage penmanship, and read over the words that inspired and influenced me back then.

Today, finding a quote takes nothing more than a visit to Google to type in the few words of a specific quote I am looking for, or entering keywords for a new one. That is, if it’s not already in my vast collection. I have a two-column, 126-page Microsoft Word document that right now contains 41,657 words of wisdom. By the time you read this, I know there will be more. I add to it daily.

You see, I’m fascinated by how much I glean and am inspired by the bite-sized thoughts of famous and not-so or not-even famous people that have been preserved for posterity. I call it “quotespiration.”

Back in 1989, I tucked Goethe’s quote into that whisper of a space between the frame and the mirror so I would see it every day. “Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it.” Begin it, begin it . . . It took me several years to work up the courage to begin it. Ten to be exact. And I can tell you now, 15 years later, that it’s so true, so powerfully true. Boldness does have “genius and power and magic in it.” Inspiration Quotes Illustrated itself is evidence. ~Lesley Riley

Inspired yet? I sure am. What you’ve read and seen here is just a glimpse into Lesley’s book. The artwork of 100+ artists accompany the 130 quotes within the pages of Inspirational Quotes Illustrated (click here to order your copy today). In the meantime, I hope you begin what you dream.



Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Collage, Mixed-Media Techniques


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