Painting Quotes

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Struggling with a blank canvas? These painting quotes will have you ready to create something beautiful in no time.

For many of us, painting as a child is our first encounter with art. It’s fun and it’s messy, and offers a creative outlet as we start to explore the world for ourselves.

Painting is also a huge part of culture and a medium of art that immortalizes the moments it captures.

Seeing the beautiful works of masters in person, or even in books, gives us a chance to expand our minds through their creations. So whether you paint or just appreciate painting, get inspired by these painting quotes today.

Top 10 Painting Quotes

Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.

Jackson Pollock

The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to.

Frida Kahlo
Plutarch painting quote "Painting is silent poetry"
“Painting is silent poetry.” – Plutarch

I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.

Vincent van Gogh

I would like to paint the way a bird sings.

Claude Monet

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.

Henry Ward Beecher

The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands.

Leonardo da Vinci
John Piper quote "Intensity is all that matters in painting"
“Intensity is all that matters in painting.” – John Piper

If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.

Edward Hopper

A simple line painted with the brush can lead to freedom and happiness.

Joan Miro

Quotes about Painting

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.

Pablo Picasso

Painting is the silence of thought and the music of sight.

Orhan Pamuk

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

Edgar Degas

Painting is the passage from the chaos of the emotions to the order of the possible.

"Painting is but another word for feeling"
“Painting is but another word for feeling.” – John Constable

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


Painting has as much to do with evolving consciousness as training the eye.

Glenn Haybittle

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

Philip Guston

Painting is the representation of visible forms. The essence of realism is its negation of the ideal.

Gustave Courbet

Painting something that defies the law of the land is good. Painting something that defies the law of the land and the law of gravity at the same time is ideal.


Sometimes painting is just prayerful movement. And that is enough.

Carrie Schmitt

My painting carries with it the message of pain.

Frida Kahlo

Good painting is like good cooking; it can be tasted, but not explained.

Maurice de Vlaminck

If the world could remain within a frame like a painting on the wall, I think we’d see the beauty then and stand staring in awe.

Connor Oberst
Keith Haring quote "The best reason to paint is that there is no reason to paint"
“The best reason to paint is that there is no reason to paint.” – Keith Haring

Painting from nature is not copying the object, it’s realising one’s sensations.

Paul Cézanne

It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well-painted. This is the essence of academicism.

Mark Rothko

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.

Leonardo da Vinci

For me, painting is a way to forget life. It is a cry in the night, a strangled laugh.

Georges Rouault

The emotions are sometimes so strong that I work without knowing it. The strokes come like speech.

Vincent van Gogh

Painting is a science, and should be pursued as an inquiry into the laws of nature.

John Constable

If it weren’t for painting, I wouldn’t live; I couldn’t bear the extra strain of things.

Winston Churchill

Painting must be fertile. It must give birth to a world… it must fertilize the imagination.

Joan Miro
Rembrandt quote "Painting is the grandchild of nature. It is related to God"
“Painting is the grandchild of nature. It is related to God.” – Rembrandt

Painting something that defies the law of the land is good. Painting something that defies the law of the land and the law of gravity at the same time is ideal.


Painting is a language of its own. You cannot interpret one form of expression with another form of expression.

Marcel Duchamp

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

Philip Guston

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

Real painters understand with a brush in their hand.

Berthe Morisot

All you need to paint is a few tools, a little instruction, and a vision in your mind.

Bob Ross

Quotes About Painters

Painter, paint!

Salvador Dalí

The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerises some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves.

Vincent van Gogh

If you hear a voice within you saying, ”You are not a painter,” then by all means paint… and that voice will be silenced.

Vincent van Gogh

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

Edgar Degas

The holy grail is to spend less time making the picture than it takes people to look at it.

"A man paints with his brains and not with his hands"
“A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.” – Michelangelo

Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.

Pablo Picasso

I like all those painters who loved and had a strong feeling for nature.

Alfred Sisley

If I paint something, I don’t want to have to explain what it is.

Bob Ross

A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.

Leonardo da Vinci

You can’t learn techniques and then try to become a painter. Techniques are a result.Jackson Pollock

The painter will produce pictures of little merit if he takes the works of others as his standard.

Leonardo da Vinci

I don’t paint things. I only paint the difference between things.

Henri Matisse

There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted.

Henri Matisse
Brian Froud quote "I paint the spirit and soul of what I see"
“I paint the spirit and soul of what I see.” – Brian Froud

I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.

Frida Kahlo

My business is to paint what I see, not what I know is there.

J.M.W. Turner

I’m not performing miracles, I’m using up and wasting a lot of paint.

Claude Monet

If you understand a painting beforehand, you might as well not paint it.

Salvador Dalí

When I am in my painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing.

Jackson Pollock

About Paintings

Every painting is a voyage into a sacred harbour.

Giotto di Bondone

A painting is never finished – it simply stops in interesting places.

Paul Gardner

The painting rises from the brushstrokes as a poem rises from the words. The meaning comes later.

Joan Miro
Rembrandt quote "Without atmosphere a painting is nothing"
“Without atmosphere a painting is nothing.” – Rembrandt

The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through.

Jackson Pollock

Life, like a good painting, needs balance, a harmonious arrangement to avoid being chaotic, a mess, a failure.

Iain Pear

Through a painting we can see the whole world.

Hans Hofmann

My paintings are not about what is seen. They are about what is known forever in the mind.

Agnes Martin

To my mind a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful and pretty. There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is, without creating still more of them.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.

Oscar Wilde

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

A painting to me is primarily a verb, not a noun, an event first and only secondarily an image.

Elaine de Kooning
Helen Frankenthaler quote "Every canvas is a journey all its own"
“Every canvas is a journey all its own.” – Helen Frankenthaler

I’m never finished with my paintings; the further I get, the more I seek the impossible and the more powerless I feel.

Claude Monet

Life is a painting, and you are the artist. You have on your palette all the colors in the spectrum – the same ones available to Michaelangelo and DaVinci.

Paul J. Meyer

A painting is complete when it has the shadows of a god.


Every viewer is going to get a different thing. That’s the thing about painting, photography, cinema.

David Lynch

I love to look at art, I love to look at paintings, and I almost feel like the experience isn’t complete until I’ve made something of my own.

Cecily Brown

Painting and Color Quotes

Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.

Claude Monet

I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.

Vincent van Gogh

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.

Georgia O’Keeffe
"Color is a means to exert a direct influence on the soul"
“Color is a means to exert a direct influence on the soul.” – Wassily Kadinsky

It is only after years of preparation that the young artist should touch color – not color used descriptively, that is, but as a means of personal expression.

Henri Matisse

There is no blue without yellow and without orange.

Vincent van Gogh

You need the dark in order to show the light.

Bob Ross

It is only after years of preparation that the young artist should touch color – not color used descriptively, that is, but as a means of personal expression.

Henri Matisse

Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.

Pablo Picasso

Creativity is painting the canvas with colors, doing what you do with what you have, knowing the limits and moving beyond.

Anand Patwa

In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.

Marc Chagall
Stephanie Perkins painting quote "A blank canvas has unlimited possibilities"
“A blank canvas has unlimited possibilities.” – Stephanie Perkins

When you want to make the main color pure and bright, don’t just keep adding bright colors on it. Just make the colors around the spot darker and dull. It will give the scene dramatical effects. I think the life is the same.

Hiroko Sakai

Quotes about Drawing

In drawing, one must look for or suspect that there is more than is casually seen.

George Bridgman

Drawing is not what one sees, but what one can make others see.

Edgar Degas

Learning to draw is really a matter of learning to see – to see correctly – and that means a good deal more than merely looking with the eye.

Kimon Nicolaides

One must always draw, draw with the eyes, when one cannot draw with a pencil.


How you draw is a reflection of how you feel about the world. You’re not capturing it, you’re interpreting it.

Juliette Aristides

Drawing things makes them seem more real and makes me feel more alive. It also makes me pin down and remember things landscapes, season, weather, occasions, incidents, people that would otherwise have melted from my memory.

David Gentleman

Drawing is a form of probing. And the first generic impulse to draw derives from the human need to search, to plot points, to place things and to place oneself.

John Berger
Andrew Loomis quote "Drawing is vision on paper"
“Drawing is vision on paper.” – Andrew Loomis

Sketching is almost everything. It is the painter’s identity, his style, his conviction, and then colour is just a gift to the drawing.

Fernando Botero

Drawing is like making an expressive gesture, with the advantage of permanence.

Henri Matisse

Drawing is still basically the same as it has been since prehistoric times. It brings together man and the world. It lives through magic.

Keith Haring

Drawing makes you see things clearer, and clearer and clearer still, until your eyes ache.

David Hockney

It is only by drawing often, drawing everything, drawing incessantly, that one fine day you discover, to your surprise, that you have rendered something in its true character.

Camille Pissarro

We hope these painting quotes gave you a new appreciation of one of the world’s oldest art forms.

From cave walls to the halls of modern museums, painting has shaped society throughout time.

Painting is an incredibly therapeutic activity and offers an emotional release, so it is often used as a means of therapy and rehabilitation from trauma.

It involves focusing all your attention on the creation of an image, which is proven to relieve stress, lessen muscle soreness, decrease tension headaches, and more. So give it a try and paint something new today.

Photo of author

Quincy Seale

Quincy is KIM's editor, and has collected and shared inspiring quotes and stories since 2005. Quincy holds an MBA from the University of Dundee and an MSc from the University of Edinburgh, and lives in San Antonio with his wife Natalie, son Alex, and his dog Oban.