q       The following is a list of quotes about Art that I have gathered over the years. I may not totally agree with all of them, but they are all pertinent and useful to artists and students alike.




There is, strictly speaking, no modern art any more than there is modern truth.  There is just art and truth.  There is good art and bad art, as there is truth and untruth.  Harold Speed 1872-1957


"There is no abstract art.  You must always start with something." Pablo Picasso1881-1973


"Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense." Georgia O'Keefe 1887-1986


In art, all that is not indispensable is not necessary.

John singer Sargent died 1929



"The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work."
Emile Zola 1840-1902


"The greatest tragedy in art is when theory outstrips performance."
Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519


Art does not reproduce what we see.  It makes us see." Paul Klee 1879-1940


"The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection."  Michelangelo Buonarrotti 1475-1564


"I'm convinced that, in the end, art is not for the artist but for their fellow man."  George Rickey 1907-


"A good artist ought never to allow impatience to overcome his sense of the main end of art -- perfection"  Michelangelo Buonarroti 1475-1564




What quality is shared by all objects that provoke our aesthetic emotions?… …Only one answer seems possible --- Significant Form.  Clive Bell 1913


Paint is much more brilliant swiftly handled, than put on in a hesitating manner” Harold Speed 1872-1957


The distinction between form and color is an unreal one; you cannot conceive a colorless line or a colorless space; neither can you conceive a formless relation of colors. Clive Bell 1913


Color is my day long obsession, joy and torment.  Claude Monet 1840-1926


When color is at its fullest, form is at its fullest.  Paul Cezanne 1839-1906


Colors in paintings are allurements for persuading the eyes, as sweetness of meter is in poetry.  Nicholas Poussin 1595-1665


Color is like music. The palette is an instrument that can be orchestrated to build form.

John Sloan 1871 - 1951


"There is a logic to color, and it is with this alone and not with the logic of the brain, that the painter should conform."  Paul Cezanne 1839-1906


q       Composition


"After drawing, comes composition.  A painting with good composition is halfway done."

Peirre Bonnard 1867-1947


"I want a very ordered image, but I want it to come about by chance."  Francis Bacon 1909-1992


"Composition is the art or arranging in a decorative manner, the various elements at the painter's disposal for the expression of his feelings."  Henri Matisse 1869-1954


q        Creativity


Genius lies not in having good ideas, but in being possessed by the idea that what has already been said is not yet enough.  Eugene Delacroix 1798-1863


"There are some things in painting which cannot be explained, and that something is essential."  Pierre Auguste Renoir 1841-1919


 "The artist begins with a vision - a creative operation requiring effort.  Creativity takes courage."  Henri Matisse 1869-1954


q       Drawing


Drawing is not following a line on the model, it is drawing your sense of the thing.

Robert Henri 1865- 1929


Drawing is the basis of art.  A bad painter cannot draw.  But one who draws well can always paint." Arshile Gorky 1905-48


"For me, drawing is the great discipline of art."  Alice Neel 1900-1984


"Make a drawing, begin it again, trace it; begin it again and trace it again."  Edgar Degas 1834-1917


First you draw what you see.
Next, you draw what you know, and only then will you know what it is that you see."
  Robert Beverly Hale


q            Education


It is, we believe, the business of the artist to please his public, but it is also hi privilege to educate hi patrons.  Kenyon Cox  1856-1919


"Let every student enter the school with this advice.  No matter how good the school is, his education is in his own hands.  All education must be self education."  Robert Henri 1865-1929


"An artist…has to be as disciplined as a mathematician.  Discipline is not a restriction but an aid to freedom.  It prepares an artist to choose his own limitations."  Wayne Thiebaud 1920-


…there are two ways to teach art, to teach and not to teach.  But both are necessary, and it’s only when what can be taught, is working in perfect harmony with what cannot be taught, that a work of art results.”  Harold Speed 1872-1957




The deepest and most lifelike has been expressed, and that is the reason they have taken so long to execute.  Rembrandt Van Rijn 1606-1669


q            Fear and Doubt


I felt so insufficiently equipped, so unprepared,, so weak, and at the same time it seamed to me that my reflections on art were correct.  I quarreled with all the world and with myself.   Edgar Degas 1834-1917




"The figure is still the only thing I have faith in in terms of how much emotion it's charged with and how much subject matter is there."  Jim Dine 1935-


"How wrong are the simpletons, of whom the world is full, who look more at…color than at the figures which show spirit and movement."  Michelangelo Buonarroti 1475-1564




May I repeat what I told you here: Treat nature by the cylinder, the sphere and the cone…  Paul Cezanne 1839-1906


q       Hands

"Don't avoid hands.  They are the final expression of the person they represent."  Marrero


q       History


"Fine works of art never age, because they are marked with genuine feeling.  The language of the passions, the impulses of the heart, are always the same."  Eugene Delacroix 1798-1863


"I think only time tells about a painting…It takes at least seventy-five to one hundred years before the thing begins to sort itself out."  Francis Bacon 1909-1992


q       Imagination

No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination. Edward Hopper 1882-1967


"A picture is, above all, the product of imagination.  It must never be a copy."  Edgar Degas 1834-1917


q       Inspiration


q      You can’t do enough sketches.  Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh. John Singer Sargent died 1929


The artist has only to remain true to his dream and it will possess his work in such a manner that it will resemble the work of no other.  Albert Pinkham Ryder 1847-1917


      The making of paintings is above all else personal.  They necessarily reflect the artist himself.  They say something about his mind and vision and view of life. 

Andrew Hemingway  (dates unkown)


q       Landscape


"It's enough to drive you crazy, trying to depict the weather, the atmosphere, the ambience."  Claude Monet 1840-1926


q       Light


"Light…the soul and medium of Art." John Constable 1776-1837


"The tantalizing thing is not always to show the source of the light, but the effects of the light."  Edgar Degas 1834-1917


"The first things to study are form and values.  For me, these are the basis of what is serious in art."  Jean Baptist Camille Corot 1796-1875


q      Line


Line has in itself neither matter nor substance and may rather be called an imaginary idea.

Leonardo DaVinci 1452-1519


"Where does one see line in nature?  I see only masses in light and masses in shadow, planes that come forward and planes into recession."  Francisco De Goya 1746-1828



Painting from nature is not copying the object, it is realizing one's sensation.  Paul Cezanne 1839-1906


The study of nature can never be neglected by the artist without impoverishing the language in which he expresses himself.  Harold Speed 1872-1957


Nature is not one of those who disclose their best to a shallow observer; she only reveals herself to those who seek her reverently.”  Harold Speed 1872-1957




"Painting is special, separate, a matter of meditation and contemplation." Ad Reinhardt 1913-1967


q       Perfection


A painting is done when you have overstayed your welcome. (Marrero)


"Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle." (Michelangelo)


"We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then, is not an act,
but a habit."


"If people knew how hard I have had to work to gain my mastery,
it would not seem wonderful at all."
Michelangelo Buonarroti 1475-1564


"A good artist ought never to allow impatience to overcome his sense of the main end of art - perfection."  Michelangelo Buonarroti 1475-1564


“Painting, like building, is a craft, a highly skilled craft as well as an art, and fine craftsmanship cannot be ignored without every other consideration that is built upon it suffering.”  Harold Speed 1872-1957


q       Photography

"The camera can never compete with the brush and palette until such a time as photography can be taken to Heaven or Hell."   Edvard Munch 1863-1944


q       Realism


…in the course of my pursuit, I have learned to look at what's in front of me without idealization.  Philip Pearlstein 1924-




"Sculpture is, quite simply, the art of depression and protuberance."  Auguste Rodin 1840-1917


"I think a sculptor has to be a practical person.  He can't just be a dreamer…you must be a workman; you must be somebody with his feet on the ground."  Henry Moore 1898-1986


“Remember: Michelangelo was once a helpless baby. Great works are the result of heroic struggle.”  Irwin Greenberg




“…only the experienced know the danger and fascination of being lured into the expression of insignificant detail.”  John Vanderpoel 1857-1911


"Art, to me, is seeing.  I think you have got to use your eyes as well as your emotions                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         and one without the other just doesn't work."  Andrew Wyeth 1917-


When you go out to paint try to forget what object you have before you - a tree, a house, a field or whatever. Merely think, here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact colour and shape, until it emerges as your own naive impression of the scene before you. (Claude Monet)


"Art is not what you see. It's what you make others see." Edgar Degas




You are lost the instant you know what the result will be.  Juan Gris 1887-1927


The painting has a life of its own.  I try to let it come through.  Jackson Pollock 1912-1956


"No art is less spontaneous than mine.  What I do is the result of reflection and study of the great masters; of inspiration, spontaneity, temperament, I know nothing."  Edgar Degas 1834-1917


q       Subject


The thing is to describe the object we've gotten to know, with a depth of penetration achieved through feeling.  Andrew Wyeth  1917-