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, Jan. 17, 1925
Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensations.
I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own.
Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.
Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.
“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint“, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
-Vincent van Gogh
“You must forget all your theories, all your ideas before the subject. What part of these is really your own will be expressed in your expression of the emotion awakened in you by the subject.”
After the first brush-stroke, the canvas assumes a life of its own; at this point, you become both governor and spectator to your own event.
When making a painting, only one thing counts: what you do next.
“Painting should never look as if it were done with difficulty, however difficult it may actually have been.”
- Robert Henri, in his book The Art Spirit, p135.
In Cezanne’s paintings, “edges aren’t boundaries but places where paint, surging across the surface, changes color.”
- Art critic Peter Schjeldahl, “Cezanne versus Pissarro”, New Yorker magazine, 11 July 2005
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