Inspirational Quotes for Artists

A Collection of Quotes to Renew Your Motivation and Rejuvenate Your Creativity.

Mural artist at work
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Feeling uninspired, out of ideas, or uncreative? Take a read through this collection of quotes from artists and others on all aspects of being an artist and making art, and what drives an artist, and we're sure you’ll soon be reaching for your paints and brushes again with renewed vigor.

”You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” -- Rabindranath Tagore.

”When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God made an object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.” -- Marc Chagall.

”What distinguishes a great artist from a weak one is first their sensibility and tenderness; second, their imagination, and third, their industry.” -- John Ruskin.

”Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” -- Picasso.

”An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.” --. James MacNeill Whistler.

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

”Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end of the day." -- Winston Churchill.

”Beginning with audacity is a very great part of the art of painting.” -- Winston Churchill.

”Never leave a painting mediocre; it's better to take a chance with it.” -- Guy Corriero.

”I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them.” -- Picasso.

”I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.” -- Picasso.

”The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web.” -- Picasso.

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget that errand." -- Woodrow Wilson.

"I never finish a painting -- I just stop working on it for a while." -- Arshile Gorky.

"Real painters understand with a brush in their hand ... what does anyone do with rules? Nothing worthwhile." -- Berthe Moriset.

"Do not worry about your originality. You could not get rid of it even if you wanted to." -- Robert Henri.

”No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." -- John Donne.

”An artist's early work is inevitably made up of a mixture of tendencies and interests, some of which are compatible and some of which are in conflict. As the artist picks his way along, rejecting and accepting as he goes, certain patterns of inquiry emerge. His failures are as valuable as his successes: by misjudging one thing he conforms something else, even if at the time he does not know what that something else is.” -- Bridget Riley.

”Even at best talent remains a constant, and those who rely upon that gift alone, without developing further, peak quickly and soon fade to obscurity.” -- David Bayles and Ted Orland, Art and Fear.

”The seed of your next art work lies embedded in the imperfections of your current piece. Such imperfections (or mistakes, if you’re feeling particularly depressed about them today) are your guides -- valuable, reliable, objective, non-judgmental guides -- to matters you need to reconsider or develop further.” -- David Bayles and Ted Orland, Art and Fear.

”A painting in a museum probably hears more foolish remarks than anything else in the world.” -- Edmond and Jules De Goncourt.

"I do not want art for a few, any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few." William Morris
(Quote source: Asa Briggs, ed., "News from Nowhere and Selected Writings and Designs", Harmondsworth: Penguin 1984, p110)

"Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up." -- American artist Chuck Close
(Quote source: Art Info, "Artists Speak Out at Global Creativity Summit", 14 November 2006)