Famous Artist Quotes


Inspirational quotes by famous artists to spark your creativity!

Henri Matisse


"Creativity takes courage."

— Henri Matisse


The mind of the creative genius is a strange and wonderful thing. Not only have great artists created great works of art that have shaped culture and the human experience for centuries, they also have interesting insights as to why they do what they do. Perhaps some of these insights may help spur your own thoughts about art, and help you on your own creative journey!

Some artists see art as a type of dialogue:

Edward Hopper

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

— Edward Hopper


Georgia O'Keeffe

"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


Pablo Picasso

"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary."

— Pablo Picasso


Vincent van Gogh

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

— Vincent van Gogh


The way they describe substituting a paintbrush for a pen demonstrates how similar the branches of the arts can be. It's not so much about being a painter or a writer; they are two beasts of the same species. We could also guess that creativity of all types essentially draws from the same well of genius.

Other artists have described the purpose of their work rather eloquently:

Alberto Giacometti

"The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity."

— Alberto Giacometti


Pablo Picasso

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."

— Pablo Picasso


James McNeill Whistler

"An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision."

— James McNeill Whistler


It seems they are saying art is a way of sharing a perspective, through a visual medium, one that can last forever.

Piet Mondrian had a peculiar take on it. He classifies creating art almost as a spiritual experience, as though there is a greater Being doing the work. It is an incredibly passive stance.

Piet Mondrian

"The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel."

— Piet Mondrian


Although, in a way it echoes what these other famous artists have said:

Rembrandt van Rijn

"Painting is the grandchild of nature. It is related to God."

— Rembrandt van Rijn

Other artists have described their subjects. Of course, it would be difficult to take what they say literally:

Jackson Pollock

"Every good painter paints what he is."

— Jackson Pollock


Frida Kahlo

"I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality."

— Frida Kahlo


If so, we would have to infer that Pollock is a series of paint splatters, Kahlo something much more macabre.

But Cézanne truly enlightens us on the origins of art.

Paul Cezanne

"A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art."

— Paul Cézanne


By using the term "art", Cézanne broadens the topic beyond just painting, although he was a very famous painter. Instead, he includes all forms of creative genius. If they all draw from the same well, it must be a deep water made of intense feelings, as light and dark as the end results.

What do you think? Do any of these famous artist quotes resonate with your beliefs about art? Are there other quotes that do? Or do you have an art quote of your own? Let us know in the comments below!


A Jerry's Online Street Team Art Project with Vincent Giarrano

Professional oil painter Vincent Giarrano uses Charvin Extra Fine Oil Colors in this impressive project!

In our Artist Spotlight post about Vincent Giarrano, we learned about this award-winning oil painter and his background, and admired a selection of his atmospheric oil paintings of city life.

In this post, Vincent guides us step-by-step through the creation of one of his luminous still life paintings, explaining his process as we go. So settle in, and watch a master oil painter at work!


"Lobster with Bowl of Apples," a Charvin Oil Painting by Vincent Giarrano


  • I start by putting on a ground; paint thinned with turpentine. I use a brush and then wipe it around just lightly. I like a sort of a warm earth tone, usually ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.


  • With the same mixture I sketch out my subject. It's more of a plan than a tight rendering. Through the painting process I know it'll be changed or lost. It's enough of a guide that I can concentrate on my shapes of color instead of the subject as a whole.


  • Depending on my subject, I choose something to start with. In this case the background; that way I have a better sense of relating the rest of the painting to something correctly. It's also the furthest thing back, so I'm getting logical placement of one thing in front of another. For this painting I used a new medium; Charvin Extra Fine Painting Medium.


  • My process for this painting is to finish as I go. I concentrate on painting things only once, however if something is wrong I can always change it. I overpaint shapes slightly so I don't wind up with gaps between color notes.


  • I paint some of the table next so as to take advantage of working wet into wet with the background. Next I move onto the apples for the same reason and also because I'm still working from back to front.


  • I'm concentrating on keeping my color notes clean and also painterly, so I use as few brush strokes as possible; one or two and then back to my paint palette.


  • As I paint, I consider my edges and choose what I feel works best; hard, soft or lost edges.


  • I work on the bowl next and use thicker paint as notes go lighter in value. The basic idea is light advances and shade recedes, so this goes along with thick paint advances or is noticed more and thin paint recedes or stays back.


  • I start painting the lobster next, finishing as I go and moving left to right; the better to see and relate to what I've done, being right handed. I'm going back and forth between the red notes and the dark notes. I focus on keeping my colors clean and painting the color and shapes I see. It's important to ignore what your mind might be telling you about shapes and colors and concentrate more on what your eyes are really seeing. I finish up by painting in the table with the same things in mind.


  • Afterward I look at the piece and decide if there's anything I missed or want to change. The only thing I do is add the shape of a table leg in the background on the bottom.

Vincent Giarrano reviews the products used in this painting:

 "I liked the Raphael Oil-Primed Panel a lot, nice surface, not too rough and I didn't need to prime or sand additional layers. The Charvin Extra Fine Oil Paints were real nice, slightly finer and creamier than my usual; Gamblin, Old Holland or W&N. I liked the Charvin painting medium and noticed a glossier luster/finish than what I usually use; it has a good flow/viscosity to it. The brushes were what I like, Vermeer Classic Mongoose Hair. My favorite are the flats."


 To follow Vincent's process, watch this enlightening time-lapse video of various stages in the painting of Lobster with Bowl of Apples, and let us know what you think of his amazing artwork in the comments below!


Fine Artist Vincent Giarrano in Jerry's Artist Spotlight


Professional artist Vincent Giarrano explores city life in oil paints!

Connecticut artist Vincent Giarrano is a Contemporary Realist painter. His work is focused on creating impressions that are about real life experience. "I like my paintings to resonate as sincere moments of life," says Giarrano. Quality of light is another major aspect in Vincent's paintings. He favors cool, even light, and how it enhances the mood of his subjects, especially in his paintings of city life. Giarrano's New York City Series deals with the dynamic between people and their environment, as well as the interplay of classic and contemporary elements in this setting.

Giarrano earned a BFA from The State University of New York at Buffalo, and a Master of Fine Art from Syracuse University. His work has been show in galleries across the country, including the prestigious National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. Giarrano's work has been featured on the cover of The Artist's Magazine (Oct 2011) and Southwest Art magazine (Jan 2012) and he appears regularly in American Art Collector and other art publications.


  • The Artist's Magazine 25th Annual Competition, 2008, finalist
  • Greenwich Arts Council, Greenwich, CT, Faces of Winter 2008, Daniel Greene-Judge
  • The Artist's Magazine Competition, 2007
  • Salon International, Greenhouse Gallery, San Antonio, TX, 2007
  • RayMar's Online Competition, 2005-2006
  • Salon International, Greenhouse Gallery, San Antonio, TX, 2006
  • Salon International, Greenhouse Gallery, San Antonio, TX, 2005


  • American Art Collector, City Life, January 2009
  • American Art Collector, Three Takes on Realism, June 2008


To learn more about Vincent Giarrano and his beautiful oil paintings, visit his website at And be sure to check back on our blog later, when Vincent will walk us step-by-step through one of his still life paintings done in Charvin Oil Colors!

This Artist Spotlight is brought to you by the Jerry's Artarama Online Art Team — Promoting Art and Artists in our communities. For possible inclusion or to learn more about this program, please email us at

Great Deals

Big Summer Sale

Products To Consider

FREE Video Art Lessons

Learning Art The Easy and Simple Way with Jerry's Artarama FREE Video Art Lessons


Facebook Fans

Recent Comments

Comment RSS