26 Painting Quotes by the Masters to Inspire You

Are you struggling for painting inspiration? These painting quotes by some of the great masters of art should help inspire you on your own journey.

These quotes offer interesting insights into the mindsets of these great artists and how they painted. If you have any painting quotes which have inspired you and are not included in this list, please share them in the comments.

Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait Dedicated To Paul Gauguin, 1888

Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait Dedicated To Paul Gauguin, 1888 | Painting Quotes

“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No. Just as one can never learn how to paint.” Pablo Picasso

“When I paint, the Sea Roars. Others Splash about in the bath” Salvador Dali

“When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine.” Pablo Picasso

“What keeps my heart awake is colorful silence.” Claude Monet

“What is commonly called ugliness in nature can in art become full of beauty.” Auguste Rodin

“To the artist there is never anything ugly in nature.” Auguste Rodin

Claude Monet, Self-Portrait With A Beret, 1886

Claude Monet, Self-Portrait With A Beret, 1886 | Painting Quotes

“There are two things in the painter, the eye and the mind; each of them should aid the other.” Paul Cezanne

“The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes, and, ironically, the more real.” Lucian Freud

“Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.” Pablo Picasso

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

“The painter must give a completely free rein to any feeling or sensations he may have and reject nothing to which he is naturally drawn.” Lucian Freud

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.” Edgar Degas

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” Claude Monet

“I believe that the great painters with their intellect as master have attempted to force this unwilling medium of paint and canvas into a record of their emotions.” Edward Hopper

“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” Plutarch

Art critic! Is that a profession? When I think we are stupid enough, we painters, to solicit those people’s compliments and to put ourselves into their hands! What shame! Should we even accept that they talk about our work?” Edgar Degas

“I want to be famous but unknown!” Edgar Degas

“A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people.” Edgar Degas

“The creation of a painting takes as much trickery and premeditation as the commitment of a crime.” Edgar Degas

“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

“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

“The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerises some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves.” Vincent van Gogh

“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

“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

“I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.” Frida Kahlo

I trust you are now inspired to go and paint! Let me know your favorite painting quote in the comments.

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Thanks for Reading!

I appreciate you taking the time to read this post and I hope you found it helpful. Feel free to share it with friends.

Happy painting!

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy

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Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.

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11 comments on “26 Painting Quotes by the Masters to Inspire You”

  1. A nice one from P.KLee
    ” A line is a dot going for a walk”

    So also can it be applied to painting:”a painting are colors going for a walk”

  2. love it! Especially Monet’s words “I want to paint like a bird sings.” So here is one of my favorites: “The demand for perfection is always a misunderstanding of the ends of art. Imperfection is in some sort essential to all that we know of life in a mortal body, that is to say of a state of progress and change. Nothing that lives is, or can be, rigidly perfect; part of it is decaying, part nascent. The foxglove blossom-a third part bud, a third past full bloom, -is a type of the life of this world. And in all things that live there are certain irregularities and deficiencies which are not only signs of life but sources of beauty.” John Ruskin. This quote for me help free me from trying for a likeness of reality and I recently gave it too a student who is struggling to make perfect likenesses. A little wordy but a truth I haven’t seen anyone else speak about.

  3. “Are you shitting me?” Maybe a quote of many great masters just hearing of today’s cataract surgery techniques . ” I painted great big Lilly pads for nothing!” Monet might say. ” You don’t need to see to paint a mulberry tree.” Says Van Gough. ” Today a swoosh on my hat.Tomorrow a swoosh on my sports apparel ” Says Rembrandt. ” lotta work little glory and don’t forget the artistry stuff.” Sargent. “Enjoy the journey ” Me.

  4. “Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” Plutarch

    On my own artist’s statement I call my work “visual poems colored softly, brushed lightly
    with life,” I may change it to quote Greek Philosopher Plutarch, perhaps make me sound more knowledgeable, grounded & studious than I am? Easier to explain than “intuitive knowing”

    I hate trying to answer people’s questions because I already told my truth, the process being
    mostly unconscious so how do I know? The interpretation is the up to the viewer to see it thru their own filters. So likening visual art to a different art form seemed the best comparison / explanation I was able to make. So quoting Plutarch should shut them up.

  5. Wonderful blog , I’ve ever read. Thank you for sharing this informative post to inspire us . All 26 Quotes are you’ve mentioned are really cool.I like reading your post. Thanks for sharing this informative post with us.


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