Wise Words From the Impressionists

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The top Impressionists have inspired me since my late teens. Not just for their beautiful paintings, but also for their outlook on life, art, and their constant search for light, color, and life’s fleeting moments.

Below are some of my favorite Impressionist quotes. There are some wise words here.

“Everything that is painted directly and on the spot always has strength, a power, and a vivacity of touch one cannot recover in the studio. Three strokes of the brush in front of nature are worth more than two days of work at the easel in the studio.” Eugene Boudin

“Impressionism has produced … not only a new, but a very useful way of looking at things. It is as though all at once a window opens and the sun and air enter your house in torrents.” Marie Bracquemond

“…we [the Impressionists] are carrying on a despairing fight and need all our forces.” Mary Cassatt

Mary Cassatt, Little Girl In A Blue Armchair, 1878
Mary Cassatt, Little Girl In A Blue Armchair, 1878

“For an Impressionist to paint from nature is not to paint the subject, but to realise sensations.” Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire and the Viaduct of the Arc River Valley, 1882 - 1885
Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire and the Viaduct of the Arc River Valley, 1882 – 1885

“Nature has mysterious infinities and imaginative power. It is always varying the productions it offers to us. The artist himself is one of nature’s means.” Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin, The Painter of Sunflowers, 1888
Paul Gauguin, The Painter of Sunflowers, 1888

“We have reached that delightful moment when ‘Impressionism’ is about to be born, when its light (the formula for which has yet to be found) is still only a hint, a caress, in the silvery snows of Monet or in the pale skies of Pissarro.” Édouard Manet

“Impressionism is the newspaper of the soul.” Henri Matisse

“I do not literally paint that table, but the emotion it produces upon me.” Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse, Woman with a Hat, 1905
Henri Matisse, Woman with a Hat, 1905

“Try to forget what objects 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 color and shape, until it gives you your own impression of the scene before you.” Claude Monet

“Impressionism is only direct sensation. All great painters were less or more impressionists. It is mainly a question of instinct.” Claude Monet

“I like to paint as a bird sings.” Claude Monet

“I didn’t become an impressionist. As long as I can remember, I always have been one.” Claude Monet

Claude Monet, Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge, 1897-1899
Claude Monet, Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge, 1897-1899

“My ambition is limited to capturing something transient.” Berthe Morisot

“One morning one of us had run out of black; and that was the birth of impressionism.” Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Chestnut Was in Flower, 1881
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Chestnut Was in Flower, 1881

“The so-called ‘discoveries’ of the Impressionists could not have been unknown to the old masters; and if they made no use of them, it was because all great artists have renounced the use of effects. And in simplifying nature, they made it all the greater.” Pierre-Auguste Renoir

“To my mind, a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful, and pretty. Yes, pretty! There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is without creating still more of them.” Pierre-Auguste Renoir

“I like all those painters who loved, and had a strong feeling for nature.” Alfred Sisley

Alfred Sisley, Avenue of Chestnut Trees Near La Celle-Saint-Cloud, 1867
Alfred Sisley, Avenue of Chestnut Trees Near La Celle-Saint-Cloud, 1867

“Everywhere and always ugliness has its beautiful aspects; it is thrilling to discover them where nobody else has noticed them.” Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

“It isn’t an easy job to paint oneself – at any rate if it is to be different from a photograph. And you see – this, in my opinion, is the advantage that Impressionism possesses over all the other things; it is not banal, and one seeks after a deeper resemblance than the photograph.” Vincent van Gogh

“An impressionist is the one who does not paint like everyone, does not obey the rules and attitude.” Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night, 1889
Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night, 1889

“Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.” Vincent van Gogh

“It seems to me that one of the best ideas spoken to an artist is, ‘paint what you love and love what you paint’ and on that I have worked; so it came that being in the bush and feeling the delight and fascination of the great pastoral life and work, I have tried to express it.” Tom Roberts

“I sit here in the upper circle surrounded by copper and gold, and smile with joy under my fly net as all the light, glory and quivering brightness passes slowly and freely before my eyes. Nothing happier than this. I shout and laugh at my immense wealth, all free and without responsibility. Who could steal this from me? No one. Oh that I could roll some up- as at present.” Sir Arthur Streeton

Arthur Streeton, Manly Beach, 1895
Arthur Streeton, Manly Beach, 1895

Thanks for Reading!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I appreciate it! Feel free to share with friends. If you want more painting tips, check out my Painting Academy course.

Happy painting!

Signature Draw Paint Academy

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy

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