If it is the love of that which your work represents--if, being a landscape painter, it is love of hills and trees that moves you--if, being a figure painter, it is love of human beauty, and human soul that moves you--if, being a flower or animal painter, it is love, and wonder, and delight in petal and in limb that move you, then the Spirit is upon you, and the earth is yours, and the fullness thereof.
Painting can also be too earnest at times and that's a drag. You don't want to go in that direction either. It should be holistic. It should represent the whole of your personality, I guess, so if somebody is a sincere painter or an ironic painter, then they're just bullshitting the audience and presenting only an idealized version of themselves.
Were it not for this [dissatisfaction], the perfect painting might be painted, on the completion of which the painter could retire. It is this great insufficiency that drives him on. The process of creation becomes necessary to the painter perhaps more than it is in the picture. The process is in fact habit-forming.
That's one thing that's always, like, been a difference between, like, the performing arts, and being a painter, you know. A painter does a painting, and he paints it, and that's it, you know. He has the joy of creating it, it hangs on a wall, and somebody buys it, and maybe somebody buys it again, or maybe nobody buys it and it sits up in a loft somewhere until he dies. But he never, you know, nobody ever, nobody ever said to Van Gogh, 'Paint a Starry Night again, man!' You know? He painted it and that was it.
What caricature is in painting, burlesque is in writing; and in the same manner the comic writer and painter correlate to each other; as in the former, the painter seems to have the advantage, so it is in the latter infinitely on the side of the writer. For the monstrous is much easier to paint than describe, and the ridiculous to describe than paint.
Not every painter has a gift for painting, in fact, many painters are disappointed when they meet with difficulties in art. Painting done under pressure by artists without the necessary talent can only give rise to formlessness, as painting is a profession that requires peace of mind. The painter must always seek the essence of things, always represent the essential characteristics and emotions of the person he is painting...
I am biased towards the belief that every painter must be grounded in strong and faultless drawing skills, and until one has not experimented with all styles of painting and has not comprehended their potentialities one's work is not complete. Even an abstract painter must know how to draw as well as a figurative artist. As for me, drawing has never created any problem, since I know how to draw anatomy correctly if I had to, I understand the function of muscle groups and sculpture.
He asked himself what is a woman standing on the stairs in the shadow, listening to distant music, a symbol of. If he were a painter he would paint her in that attitude. Her blue felt hat would show off the bronze of her hair against the darkness and the dark panels of her skirt would show off the light ones. Distant Music he would call the picture if he were a painter.
I used to wish I would be a painter or a violinist, where maybe I wouldn't need to travel as much. Or maybe if I were a writer, I wouldn't need to travel as much. It's the travel that kind of killed me. And the hours. I always pictured if I were a painter you could make your own hours maybe... work after the kids were asleep...
In the drawing room [of the Queen's palace] hung a Venus and Cupid by Michaelangelo, in which, instead of a bit of drapery, the painter has placed Cupid's foot between Venus's thighs. Queen Caroline asked General Guise, an old connoisseur, if it was not a very fine piece? He replied "Madam, the painter was a fool, for he has placed the foot where the hand should be.
After painting comes Sculpture, a very noble art, but one that does not in the execution require the same supreme ingenuity as the art of painting, since in two most important and difficult particulars, in foreshortening and in light and shade, for which the painter has to invent a process, sculpture is helped by nature. Moreover, Sculpture does not imitate color which the painter takes pains to attune so that the shadows accompany the lights.
Leonardo da Vinci
The painter does not conceive himself as existing in himself, he conceives himself as a reflection of the objects he has put into his pictures and he lives in the reflections of his pictures, a writer, a serious writer, conceives himself as existing by and in himself, he does not at all live in the reflection of his books, to write he must first of all exist in himself, but for a painter to be able to paint, the painting must first of all be done.
The painter is not simply someone who looks and who sees. Above all, the artist is someone who exposes a personal vision by rendering it visible. The painter shows or allows the seeing of "something" that without him, without his intervention, would not be seen. He manifests through his work a possibility of seeing that would otherwise remain latent. In other words, painting is an art that reveals or unveils the world from an angle that the world itself does not present to us. Painting creates. It does not limit itself to imitation or reproduction. Any desire to confine painting within the limits of deje vu would be a gross misunderstanding of the essence of what painting is. Painting allows us to see that which without it would never be seen.
You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you're not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn't a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. They would like you to fit in right away so that things work now.
Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. You don't know how paralyzing that is, that stare of a blank canvas is, which says to the painter, 'You can't do a thing'. The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerizes some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of 'you can't' once and for all.
Vincent Van Gogh
Does anyone ask a painter - even the painter himself - why he paints? Now me, I painted... used to... whatever I saw that was beautiful. It had to be beautiful to me, through and through, before I would paint it. And I used to be a pretty simple fellow, and found many completely beautiful things to paint. But the older you get the fewer completely beautiful things you see. Every flower has a brown spot somewhere, and a hippogriff has evil laughter. So at some point in his development an artist has to paint, not what he sees (which is what I've always done) but the beauty in what he sees. Most painters, I think, cross this line early; I'm crossing it late. ("To Here and the Easel", 1954)
In a sense, one could speak of the secret life of colour. Despite its outward beckoning, like true beauty, colour is immensely hesitant in giving away its secrets. Painters learn to respect the hesitancy of colour and endeavour to refine their skill to become worthy of its revelations. A painter learns the language of colour slowly. As with any language, you struggle for a long time outside the language. There is a willed deliberateness to how you sequence the strange words to make a sentence.Then one day the language lets you in to where the words dance to your thoughts with ease and fluency. Perhaps for the painter there is a day when colour lets him in, when his palette sings with synergy and delight.
In her book The Writing Life (1989), Annie Dillard tells the story of a fellow writer who was asked by a student, "Do you think I could be a writer?" "'Well, ' the writer said, 'do you like sentences?'" The student is surprised by the question, but Dillard knows exactly what was meant. He was being told, she explains, that "if he likes sentences he could begin, " and she remembers a similar conversation with a painter friend. "I asked him how he came to be a painter. He said, 'I like the smell of paint.'" The point, made implicitly (Dillard does not belabour it), is that you don't begin with a grand conception, either of the great American novel or masterpiece that will hang in the Louvre. You begin with a feel for the nitty-gritty material of the medium, paint in one case, sentences in the other.