150 Art Quotes: Insight into the Mind of an Artist.

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Last Updated on May 11, 2023 by Dee

Sometimes we just need some art quotes to get us inspired in our art-making journey. Perhaps you are working on a page in your art journal or artist’s sketchbook, maybe you need some inspiration for a new painting or just a one-liner to keep you motivated? Here I have compiled a list of some famous art quotes to help you keep the creativity flowing!

Art Quotes About Life

These Art Quotes are a reflection of each artist’s own reality, everyday life, or just happy little accidents. We get a glimpse of the human soul of famous artists who creativity takes courage.

a watercolor back ground with art quotes about life

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
― George Bernard Shaw

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
― Pablo Picasso

“Art and life are subjective. Not everybody’s gonna dig what I dig, but I reserve the right to dig it.”
― Whoopi Goldberg

“Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.”
― Stella Adler

“Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.”
― Neil Gaiman

“Every child has the spirit of creation. The rubbish of life often exterminates the spirit through plague and a soul’s own wretchedness.”
― Peter Paul Rubens

“Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.”
― Pablo Picasso

“…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?”
― Vincent Willem van Gogh

“Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.”
― Anais Nin

“Life doesn’t imitate art, it imitates bad television.”
― Woody Allen

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
― Pablo Picasso

“To be an artist means never to avert one’s eyes.”
― Akira Kurosawa

“Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colours flowers, so does art colour life.”
― John Lubbock

“You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at the picture for a second and think of it all your life.”
― Joan Miro

“Anybody can look at a pretty girl and see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl that she used to be. But a great artist-a master-and that is what Auguste Rodin was-can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is…and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be…and more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo, or even you, see that this lovely young girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply prisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart…no matter what the merciless hours have done to her. Look at her, Ben. Growing old doesn’t matter to you and me; we were never meant to be admired-but it does to them.”
― Robert Heinlein

“The great artists of the past were aware that human life is full of chaos and suffering. But they had a remedy for this. And the name of that remedy was ‘beauty’. The beautiful work of art brings consolation in sorrow and affirmation in joy. It shows human life to be worthwhile.”
― Roger Scruton

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring two pence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“The art is not one of forgetting but letting go. And when everything else is gone, you can be rich in loss.”
― Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

“Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.”
― Pablo Picasso

Art Quotes About Painting

a watercolor back ground with art quotes about painting

“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.”
― Pablo Picasso

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
― Henry Ward Beecher

“Don’t paint the object, paint its effect.”
― Unknown

“When I paint, I never think of selling. People fail to understand that we paint in order to experiment and to develop ourselves as we strive for greater heights.”
― Edvard Munch

“I started painting as a hobby when I was little. I didn’t know I had any talent. I believe talent is just a pursued interest. Anybody can do what I do.”
― Bob Ross

“Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter’s soul.”
― Vincent van Gogh

“Painting from nature is not copying the object, it’s realizing one’s sensations.”
― Paul Cezanne

“More important than a work of art itself is what it will sow. Art can die, a painting can disappear. What counts is the seed.”
― Joan Miro

“An empty canvas is full.”
― Robert Rauschenberg

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

“I don’t think it was pain that made [Vincent Van Gogh] great – I think his painting brought him whatever happiness he had.”
― David Lynch

“Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.”
― Claude Monet

“A true masterpiece does not tell everything.”
― Albert Camus

“I paint flowers so they will not die.”
― Frida Kahlo

[Related article: 18+ Couple Poses Drawing Reference]

“Whoever wants to know something about me, they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognize what I am and what I want.”
― Gustav Klimt

“Every artist was first an amateur.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A painting in a museum hears more ridiculous opinions than anything else in the world.”
― Edmond De Goncourt

“I would like to paint the way a bird sings.”
― Claude Monet

“The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”
― Pablo Picasso

“If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.”
― Marc Chagall”

“Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.”
― Jackson Pollock

“When I’m painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing. It’s only after a ‘get acquainted period’ that I see what I’ve been about.”
― Jackson Pollock

“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

“Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.”
― Edgar Degas

“Stay firmly in your path and dare. Be wild two hours a day!”
― Paul Gauguin

“It is only when we are no longer fearful that we begin to create.”
― J. M. W. Turner

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

“The artist is not a different kind of person, but every person is a different kind of artist.”
― Eric Gill

“It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.”
― Paul Cezanne

Art Quotes About Drawing

a watercolor back ground with art quotes about drawing

“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

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

“I just wanted to paint and sketch and tell stories by drawing.”
― Robert Redford

“Drawing is vision on paper.”
― Andrew Loomis

“When you draw something, it lives and when you photograph it it dies”
― John Fowles, The Collector

“One must always draw, draw with the eyes, when one cannot draw with a pencil.”
― Balthus

“For me drawing is an attempt to understand what I feel about the world I live in.”
― Brian Froud

“The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked…that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”
― Neil Gaiman, Make Good Art

“Drawing is not what one sees, but what one can make others see.”
― Edgar Degas

“While drawing I discover what I really want to say. “
― Dario Fo

“Success is a worn-down pencil.”
― Robert Rauschenberg

[Related Post: How to Start Drawing]

“All these months I’ve been trying to find a pattern. Trying not so much to draw hands as gestures. Not so much faces as the expressions of people.”
― Vincent van Gogh in ‘Lust for Life’

“Drawing at its best is not what your eyes see but what our mind understands.”
― Millard Sheets

As I work at my drawings, day after day, what seemed unattainable before is now gradually becoming possible. Slowly, I’m learning to observe and measure. I don’t stand quite so helpless before nature any longer.
― Vincent van Gogh in ’Lust for Life’

“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

“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 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

“In drawing, one must look for or suspect that there is more than is casually seen.”
― George Bridgman

“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

“Drawing makes you see things clearer, and clearer and clearer still, until your eyes ache.”
― David Hockney

“Drawing is giving a performance; an artist is an actor who is not limited by the body, only by his ability and, perhaps, experience.”
― Marc Davis

“Drawing is like making an expressive gesture, with the advantage of permanence.”
― Henri Matisse

“Passions are not found, they are developed.”
― Unknown

“My idea of heaven is to wake up, have a good breakfast, and spend the rest of the day drawing.”
― Peter Falk

Art Quotes About Imagination

“Creativity takes courage.”
– Henri Matisse

“It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.”
― Albert Einstein

“If you as a designer don’t believe in your design and don’t see it beyond the context of the film, instead of as a real creature in a real world then how can you expect the audience to believe it?”
― Peter Jackson

“A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.”
― Salvador Dali

“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get the work done. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you’re not going to make an awful lot of work.”
― Chuck Close

“Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.”
― Pablo Picasso

“I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste.”
― Marcel Duchamp

“The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.”
― Marcel Duchamp

“Art is a line around your thoughts.”
― Gustav Klimt

“There is no must in art because art is free.”
― Wassily Kandinsky

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
― Albert Einstein

“Creativity is taking the best skills and techniques from experts around you and improving upon them.”
― Unknown

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.”
― Ray Bradbury

“In the mind of every artist there is a masterpiece.”
― Kai Greene

“Everything you can imagine is real.”
― Pablo Picasso

“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.”
― Marie Antoinette

“If I knew what the picture was going to be like, I wouldn’t make it.”
― Unknown

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
― Aristotle

“The criminal is the creative artist; the detective only the critic.”
― G.K. Chesterton, The Blue Cross: A Father Brown Mystery

“The man who cannot visualize a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot.”
― Andre Breton

“Never worry about being obsessive. I like obsessive people. Obsessive people make great art.”
― Susan Sontag

“The artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

Art Quotes About Emotions

a watercolor back ground with art quotes about emotions

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”
― Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”
― Vincent Van Gogh

“I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.”
― Anais Nin

“The principle of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.”
― Jerzy Kosinski

“A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.”
― Paul Cezanne

“He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
― Saint Francis of Assisi

“Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.”
― Anais Nin

“I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.”
― Georgia O’Keeffe

“Art is not a handicraft; it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.”
― Leo Tolstoy

“Art is longing. You never arrive, but you keep going in the hope that you will.”
― Anselm Kiefer

“The Achilles heel of an artist lies in the hope that his art is good.”
― Kapil Gupta

“Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.”
― Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story

“I love you beyond paint, beyond melodies, beyond words. And I hope you will always feel that, even when I’m not around to tell you so.”
― Kiera Cass, The One

“Any fool can be happy. It takes a man with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep.”
― Clive Barker, Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War

“Life is too short to paint something you don’t have feelings for.”
― Unknown

“A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth. ”
― Richard Avedon

“A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is thereby a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.”
― Ansel Adams

“Art excludes, like love, any competition and devours the whole person.”
― Unknown

Art Quotes About Art Making

a watercolor back ground with art quotes about art making

“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”
― Neil Gaiman

“Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons.”
― Al Hirschfeld

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

[Related Post: Find an Art Challenge to Get You Creating!]

Art is not in the …eye of the beholder. It’s in the soul of the artist.”
― Seth Godin

“The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness.”
― Joan Miro

“All art is propaganda. It is universally and inescapably propaganda; sometimes unconsciously, but often deliberately, propaganda.”
― Upton Sinclair

Art Quotes About Beauty

art quotes about beauty

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”
― Albert Einstein, The World As I See It

[Also check out my article on 27 Awesome Gifts for Artists Who Draw!]

Art Quotes Pin


These art quotes are also incredibly helpful if you need to print out quotes for your classroom or art studio. A great way to end an art lesson (or any lesson) is to finish off the session with a quote!

And finally, an art quote by me –

“Don’t let fear stop you from creating art!”

[Wondering How to Find Your Art Style? Read this blog post!]

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