100+ Best Painting Quotes: Exclusive Selection

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Profoundly inspirational painting quotes will brighten up your day and make you feel ready to take on anything.

Famous Painting Quotes

My aim in painting is to create pulsating, luminous, and open surfaces that emanate a mystic light, in accordance with my deepest insight into the experience of life and nature. — Hans Hofmann

The arts community is generally dominated by liberals because if you are concerned mainly with painting or sculpture, you don’t have time to study how the world works. And if you have no understanding of economics, strategy, history and politics, then naturally you would be a liberal. — Mark Helprin

Sculpture will last a lot longer than painting. — Richard MacDonald

The truth is that painting is all about scale; you use scale to create experience. A lot of artists have lost that ability. They don’t even know that’s something they should be doing. — Eric Fischl

I realize that protest paintings are not exactly in vogue, but I’ve done many. — Robert Indiana

I’ve been trying to pick up painting but it’s hard. — George Eads

That’s why people listen to music or look at paintings. To get in touch with that wholeness. — Corita Kent

I was not out to paint beautiful pictures; even painting good pictures was not important to me. I wanted only to help the truth burst forth. — Alice Duer Miller

A painting is finished when the subject comes back, when what has caused the painting to be made comes back as an object. — Howard Hodgkin

You cannot possibly invent painting all by yourself. — Pierre Bonnard

The dog, the rabbit and the hoop all feature in the painting, and take the place of the orrery. — Kit Williams

A painting doesn’t have to have a real usability other than you looking at it. Obviously, a car, an engine, or battery has to fit people’s needs. — Henrik Fisker

So many paintings have hidden meanings or need wall texts, but my work is not in that category. — Caio Fonseca

Painting is a source of endless pleasure, but also of great anguish. — Balthus

I like eating out. I like buying beautiful paintings and being surrounded by beautiful things. I have to finance that life. I can barely afford a pension scheme because I don’t make enough money. — Andrew Motion

Painting is, I think, inevitably an archaic activity and one that depends on spiritual values. — Bridget Riley

All I’m doing is painting. It’s my hobby. And that’s that. — John Mellencamp

Painters of paintings, writers of books, never could tell the half. — Lorenz Hart

Doing the show was like painting the George Washington Bridge. As soon as you finished one end, you started right in on the other. — Jack Paar

I think of painting without subject matter as music without words. — Kenneth Noland

If commercialization is putting my art on a shirt so that a kid who can’t afford a $30,000 painting can buy one, then I’m all for it. — Keith Haring

Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do. — Edgar Degas

In England, there is a dividing line between artists and illustrators, who are thought inferior to painters. Well, that’s absolute rubbish. Some of the most creative work is being done in children’s books. In Japan, everything is art. They don’t say painting is better than ceramics or dress design. — Brian Wildsmith

If I had been around when Rubens was painting, I would have been revered as a fabulous model. Kate Moss? Well, she would have been the paintbrush. — Dawn French

One learns about painting by looking at and imitating other painters. — Frank Stella

The painter should paint not only what he has in front of him, but also what he sees inside himself. If he sees nothing within, then he should stop painting what is in front of him. — Caspar David Friedrich

When the modern movement began, starting perhaps with the paintings of Manet and the poetry of Baudelaire and Rimbaud, what distinguished the modern movement was the enormous honesty that writers, painters and playwrights displayed about themselves. The bourgeois novel flinches from such notions. — J. G. Ballard

In the middle 1940s… I heard everyone live. Painting, the theater; everything was happening. It was an exciting time when New York was the place to be. — Bill Dixon

I have to go with what the painting says to me. The painting is always informing me. I’m its servant; it’s not mine. I’m doing what it wants. — Gary Hume

There’s plenty of stuff that I don’t feel dissident about: I really like tea, I don’t have any problem with that. I like lots of paintings. — China Mieville

If I had money, I would like to get an old building, have music performances, do lithographs, have shows of paintings, and do those things that I’m interested in doing. — Bill Dixon

Strange story about Degas. He hated women, didn’t want to be with them. Yet he spent much of his life painting them. He had seen his father maltreat his mother, must have had a deep fear that he’d do the same thing. — Irving Stone

I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own. — Jackson Pollock

Painting is a language which cannot be replaced by another language. I don’t know what to say about what I paint, really. — Balthus

When you’re telling stories, you are actually trying to illuminate some portion of the truth in an artful way. The story may immediately seem to be a lie, but it’s like an impressionistic painting – you see the light and the color better than you would with a photo-realistic piece. — Christopher Moore

I wanted to dress the woman who lives and works, not the woman in a painting. — Giorgio Armani

Painting is the aesthetic side of the object but it has never been original, has never been its own goal. — Kazimir Malevich

I do all these various activities like painting and writing, comedy and films probably because not that I’m good at everything but because I’m not good at any of these things. — Takeshi Kitano

Landscape is to American painting what sex and psychoanalysis are to the American novel. — Robert Hughes

Picasso’s always been such a huge influence that I thought when I started the cartoon paintings that I was getting away from Picasso, and even my cartoons of Picasso were done almost to rid myself of his influence. — Roy Lichtenstein

I never know what it’s going to look like. Wouldn’t be much point in painting if I already knew the outcome. I have a subject in front of me and I start flooding colour and making marks, I don’t know, it’s improvisation isn’t it? — Peter Wright

Painting what I experience, translating what I feel, is like a great liberation. But it is also work, self-examination, consciousness, criticism, struggle. — Balthus

A sculpture is just a painting cut out and stood up somewhere. — Frank Stella

Exercise your creative muscles all the time, either through classes or through other artistic avenues like painting or dancing or even gardening, staying active and being creative so that when opportunities do come up, you are in a position to take advantage of them. — Tom Irwin

I will always find even the worst paintings that attempt some kind of representation better than the best invented paintings. — Balthus

Some say they see poetry in my paintings; I see only science. — Georges Seurat

My mother painted and wrote. She always had a painting in progress on an easel in the kitchen, so our house always smelled like oil paint. At night, she wrote after she’d put my sisters and me to bed, and the sound of her typing was our lullaby. — Luanne Rice

And I think a painting has such a limited life anyway — Robert Rauschenberg

Arts education is a big part of building a 21st century creative mind, and I think that we have let way too many kids lose their way by not drawing in their young minds with music, dance, painting and the other various ways we can express those things we do not have words for. — Heather Watts

Through her paintings, she breaks all the taboos of the woman’s body and of female sexuality. — Diego Rivera

There is no such thing as good painting about nothing. — Mark Rothko

I don’t paint things. I only paint the difference between things. — Henri Matisse

The small amount of people that control the discourse around painting – I thought that the whole museum world was just a bunch of phonies, and I didn’t really want to have anything to do with it. I guess I did installations, in a funny way, because they couldn’t be commodified. — Fred Tomaselli

I prefer to leave the paintings to speak for themselves. — Barnett Newman

If some student came up and wanted to know where to study painting, you’d want to suggest someplace, but there’s no place. I wouldn’t know where to send a student to study. — Ad Reinhardt

When I finish a painting, it usually looks as surprising to me as to anyone else. — Howard Hodgkin

Photography started as a means of getting reference material for my paintings of nature subjects. — Nigel Dennis

I was a student at Harvard, and that’s where I learned about so-called avant-garde music. Jackson Pollock, abstract expressionism and painting were well known at this time. — Henry Flynt

Never buy four C-plus paintings when you can buy one A. — Walter Annenberg

Most painting in the European tradition was painting the mask. Modern art rejected all that. Our subject matter was the person behind the mask. — Robert Motherwell

I will give a proof to demonstrate with facts that there are no rules in painting and that oppression or servile obligation of making all study or follow the same path is a great impediment for the young who profess this very difficult art. — Francisco Goya

Painting contains a divine force which… makes the dead seem almost alive. — Leon Battista Alberti

Not that painting would have been a release. The reason for doing it is the desire to create. I’ve got to do it! I’ve seen that, I can still remember it, I’ve got to paint it. — Otto Dix

Painting (like poetry) chooses from universals what is most apposite. It brings together, in a single imaginary being, circumstances and characteristics which occur in nature in many different persons. — Francisco Goya

I have generally found that persons who had studied painting least were the best judges of it. — William Hogarth

Through a painting, we can see the whole world. — Hans Hofmann

Also, painting and animation are really solitary pursuits, so the collaborative aspects of music making and acting are pretty welcome sometimes. — Tunde Adebimpe

The best portraits are those in which there is a slight mixture of caricature. — Thomas B. Macaulay

Don’t put needless expense into painting a head! Don’t try to match tints! Rose and pearly colours blend into each other so that no one can unite them if painted separately. Keep the impression of your subject as one thing! — William Morris Hunt

I always start a painting with the sky. — Alfred Sisley

The key is in remaining just aloof enough from a painting so that you know when to stop. — Buffy Sainte-Marie

Language is much closer to film than painting is. — Sergei Eisenstein

No one can be a painter unless he cares for painting above all else. — Edouard Manet

Especially in the world today, where science rightfully is so important in terms of technology, innovation, telecom, Internet, fighting diseases, I think it’s equally important that poetry and painting have their share of support. — Leon Black

I always feel attacked when I’m asked about my painting. — Georg Baselitz

I dream a lot. I do more painting when I’m not painting. It’s in the subconscious. — Andrew Wyeth

In every respect, fantasy is like doing abstract paintings. — Lance Henriksen

The conceptual artist Ai WeiWei illustrates the schizoid society that rapid change has produced – sometimes by reassembling Ming-style furniture into absurd and useless arrangements, or by carefully painting and antiquing a Coca-Cola logo on an ancient Chinese pot. — Arne Glimcher

It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well. — Jackson Pollock

If I had a Salvador Dali painting, I would cuddle it to sleep. — Mac Miller

If I hadn’t started painting, I would have raised chickens. — Grandma Moses

When I first started painting candyland imagery, I was looking for the best possible metaphor for everything that is pleasure, desire and insatiability. — Will Cotton

The artistic process in digital art is very much the same as for making other kinds of paintings. — Buffy Sainte-Marie

This truth must be recognized as a dogma and assume the validity of an axiom in the general understanding of painting — Fernand Leger

There are people who don’t respond to color. That’s what painting is. It’s color. — Larry Poons

Painting is an illusion, a piece of magic, so what you see is not what you see. — Philip Guston

There’s something always instinctively visually right about nature. There’s no difference, to my eye, between looking at a great painting and looking at nature. Because painting, when it’s great, has the same immutable rightness, unquestioned rightness, about it. — Larry Poons

I don’t like painting flowers in my music. I like painting guts and pain. — Jonathan Davis

The animation of the canvas is one of the hardest problems of painting. — Alfred Sisley

Sometimes a game comes at just the right moment in your life. ‘Flower’ is beautiful, serene, and a bit of sunshine in a gloomy world. I remember going through a rough spot in my life and turning on ‘Flower’ for a little break in the day. You fly through luscious landscapes collecting petals and painting the world with life. — Rob Manuel

The best way to begin is to say: Balthus is a painter of whom nothing is known. And now let us have a look at his paintings. — Balthus

Painting is seen as picture making, the making of an art object, something that can stand on its own. — Peter Wright

No one is an artist unless he carries his picture in his head before painting it, and is sure of his method and composition. — Claude Monet

Impressionism; it is the birth of Light in painting. — Robert Delaunay

Now painting is different. It’s something recollected in tranquility. — Jack Levine

I give away thousands of paintings for free. — Banksy

Painting is an essentially concrete art and can only consist of the representation of real and existing things. It is a completely physical language, the words of which consist of all visible objects. An object which is abstract, not visible, non-existent, is not within the realm of painting. — Gustave Courbet

When I act, I feel like I am a color in someone else’s painting – I can be the best blue that there is, but I’m still only part of their entire picture – but, with music, when I am performing with Reserved For Rondee, I am the painter, you know? — Billy Magnussen

In my experience a painting is not made with colors and paint at all. I don’t know what a painting is; who knows what sets off even the desire to paint? — Philip Guston

The black person is the protagonist in most of my paintings. I realized that I didn’t see many paintings with black people in them. — Jean-Michel Basquiat

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