Quotes about Art

Quotations are commonly printed as a means of inspiration and to invoke philosophical thoughts from the reader. Likewise, visual artists sometimes turn to a motivational quote for a bit of inspiration. Some of these acute sayings have become remarkable paintings or drawings.

“To be an artist at twenty is to be twenty: to still be an artist at fifty is to be an artist.” ~Eric Gibbons as inspired by Eugene Delacroix

“That’s the difference between the serious artist and the craftsman—the craftsman can take material and because of his abilities do a professional job of it. The serious artist is like an object caught by a wave and swept to shore. He’s obsessed by his material; it’s like a venom working in his blood and the art is the antidote.” ~Truman Capote

“What artists have accomplished is realizing there's only a small amount of stuff that's important and then seeing what it was.”  ~Mitchell Feigenbaum

“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?” ~Frida Kahlo

“The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.” ~Orson Welles

“Art is not a pastime but a priesthood.”  ~Jean Cocteau

“Since I am the creator of the painting and the first real ‘viewer’–when I feel satisfied, I put the brushes down and hope that someone else will feel satisfied too.”  ~David Lussier

​"If museums and galleries could only show what everyone liked, they would be empty." ~ Eric Gibbons

 “The measure of the artist is to have the eye to see the spirit underlying the particulars, and the skill to capture both in paint.”  ~Marney Ward

“Paintin's not important. The important thing is keepin' busy.”  ~Grandma Moses

 “There is no substitute for feeling the stone, the metal, the plaster, or the wood in the hand; to feel its weight; to feel its texture; to struggle with it in the world rather than in the mind alone.”  ~William M. Dupree

“There are many accidents that are nothing but accidents—and forget it. But there are some that were brought about only because you are the person you are... you have the wherewithal, intelligence, and energy to recognize it and do something with it.”  ~Helen Frankenthaler

“O painter skilled in anatomy, beware lest the undue prominence of the bones, sinews & muscles cause you to become a wooden painter from the desire to make your nude figures reveal all.”  ~Leonardo da Vinci

“We have art in order not to die of life.” ~Albert Camus

“I have my art to comfort me, but what have these wretched men and women to live for?”  ~Honore Daumier

“Do not become the slave of your model.” ~Vincent van Gogh

“Real painters understand with a brush in their hand.”  ~Berthe Morisot

“Life is pain, art is redemption.”  ~Brian Lee Jones

 “Art is an effort to make you walk a half an inch above ground.” ~Yoko Ono

“Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film. Your bright eyes, your easy smile is your museum.”  ~Ansel Adams

“Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.”  ~Confucius

“Art without heart is craft. Craft with a heart is Art!” ~Eric Gibbons

“Without freedom, no art; art lives only on the restraints it imposes on itself, and dies of all others.”  ~Albert Camus

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration… If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work.”  ~Chuck Close

“I am an artist who, for forty years—Has stood at the lake edge—Throwing stones in the lake—Sometimes, very faintly—I hear a splash.” ~Maxwell Bates

“Drawing is still basically the same as it has been since prehistoric times. It brings together man and the world. It lives through magic.” ~Keith Haring

“Drawing is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence.”  ~Henri Matisse

“We all have at least 100,000 bad drawings inside of us. The sooner we get them out and onto paper, the sooner we’ll get to the good ones buried deep within.” ~unknown~

"Some of the most unhappy artists, in the most difficult of situations, can create awe inspiring works of art." ~Eric Gibbons

“Drawing is the artist’s most direct and spontaneous expression, a species of writing: it reveals, better than does painting, his true personality.”  ~Edgar Degas

“A critic at my house sees some paintings. Greatly perturbed, he asks for my drawings. My drawings! Never! They are my letters, my secrets.”  ~Paul Gauguin

“He who wants to devote himself to painting, must begin by cutting off his tongue”  ~Henri Matisse

“Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination” ~Vincent van Gogh

“No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.”  ~Edward Hopper

“It is not enough to know your craft – you have to have feeling. Science is all very well, but for us imagination is worth far more.”  ~Edouard Manet

“Consistency is the last resort of the unimaginative.”  ~Oscar Wilde

“Art is often born from inner struggle. Artists are often plagued by impulses they must express. Contentment does not seek action but struggle always seeks release” ~Eric Gibbons