quotations about painting
I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.
VINCENT VAN GOGH, attributed, Marry Your Muse: Making a Lasting Commitment to Your Creativity
Painting is a blind man's profession. He paints not what he sees, but what he feels, what he tells himself about what he has seen.
PABLO PICASSO, attributed, "War and Peace", Jean Cocteau's Journals
Painting is silent poetry.
SIMONIDES OF CEOS, attributed, Plutarch's Essays
I've been doing a lot of abstract painting lately, extremely abstract. No brush, no paint, no canvas, I just think about it.
STEVEN WRIGHT, stand-up routine
Painting is the most beautiful of all arts. In it, all sensations are condensed; contemplating it, everyone can create a story at the will of his imagination and--with a single glance--have his soul invaded by the most profound recollections; no effort of memory, everything is summed up in one instant. A complete art which sums up all the others and completes them. Like music, it acts on the soul through the intermediary of the senses: harmonious colors correspond to the harmonies of sound. But in painting a unity is obtained which is not possible in music, where the accords follow one another, so that the judgment experiences a continuous fatigue if it wants to reunite the end with the beginning. The ear is actually a sense inferior to the eye. The hearing can only grasp a single sound at a time, whereas the sight takes in everything and simultaneously simplifies it at will.
PAUL GAUGUIN, Notes Synthetiques
Painting dissolves the forms at its command ... it melts them into color.
ALEXANDER ELIOT, Sight and Insight
If I didn't start painting, I would have raised chickens.
GRANDMA MOSES, My Life's History
Painting with all its technicalities, difficulties, and peculiar ends, is nothing but a noble and expressive language, invaluable as the vehicle of thought, but by itself nothing.
JOHN RUSKIN, attributed, Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
Once, Turner had himself lashed to the mast of a ship for several hours, during a furious storm, so that he could later paint the storm. Obviously, it was not the storm itself that Turner intended to paint. What he intended to paint was a representation of the storm.
DAVID MARKSON, Wittgenstein's Mistress
The painter's work will be of little merit if he takes the painting of others as his standard, but if he studies from nature he will produce good fruits.
LEONARDO DA VINCI, Thoughts on Art and Life
The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerises some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves.
VINCENT VAN GOGH, letter to Theo van Gogh, October 1884
I would rather see the portrait of a dog that I know, than all the allegorical paintings they can show me in the world.
SAMUEL JOHNSON, Johnsonian Miscellanies
If you call painting dumb poetry, the painter may call poetry blind painting.
LEONARDO DA VINCI, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci
There are only two styles of portrait painting: the serious and the smirk.
CHARLES DICKENS, Nicholas Nickleby
The painter with an original vision is always opposed by the schools. That is, at first. But when he wins out, then the schools merely take over his technique and use it as a club to put down the next creator. And so it goes.
HORACE HOLLEY, Pictures
If a painting of a tree was only the exact representation of the original, so that it looked just like the tree, there would be no reason for making it; we might as well look at the tree itself. But the painting, if it is of the right sort, gives something that neither a photograph nor a view of the tree conveys. It emphasizes something of character, quality, individuality. We are not lost in looking at thorns and defects; we catch a vision of the grandeur and beauty of a king of the forest.
CALVIN COOLIDGE, speech, January 17, 1925
The good painter has two principal things to depict: man and the purpose of his mind. The first is easy, the second is difficult, since he must do it by the gestures and movements of the limbs, and this is to be learnt from the dumb, who more than all other men excel in it.
LEONARDO DA VINCI, Thoughts on Art and Life
Painting doesn't mean just describing, it's a state of spirit.
CARYL CHURCHILL, Mad Forest
A painter does a painting, and he paints it and he paints it, and that's it, you know. He has the joy of creating it, it hangs on a wall, and somebody buys it, and maybe somebody buys it again, or maybe nobody buys it and it sits up in a loft somewhere until he dies. But he never, you know, nobody ever, nobody ever said to Van Gogh, 'Paint us Starry Night again, man!' You know? He painted it and that was it.
JONI MITCHELL, Miles of Aisles
Painting is something that takes place among the colors ... one has to leave them alone completely, so that they can settle the matter among themselves. Their intercourse: this is the whole of painting. Whoever meddles, arranges, injects his human deliberation, his wit, his advocacy, his intellectual agility in any way, is already disturbing and clouding their activity.
RAINER MARIA RILKE, letter to his wife, October 21, 1907