We love a good quote at ArtGallery – especially from an artist. Finding inspiration in the words of the creative masters is a great source of motivation.

Here are some of our favourite artist's quotes:

Van Gogh

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced."


Iris – van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890) is one of the most influential artists of the nineteenth century and the Post-Impressionist movement. Not only are his quotes so inspiring, but the iconic painting style of many brush strokes in multicolour to bring such movement to his canvases.

Moving from watercolour to oil paints after graduating from school, van Gogh's passion was painting en plein air in fields and countryside. Shunning the Christian themes that appeared in most art during van Gogh's time, his work was centred round the sun. Catching the way the light hits flowers and subjects played a huge part in the large amount of movement in van Gogh's paintings.


"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."

Sculpture in Rotterdam - Picasso

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) is most well-known for his creation of the cubist movement. He is also revered amongst artists and critics for applying his talents to an astonishing number of styles throughout his artistic career.

As one of the most influential painters of the twentieth century, Picasso was inspired to create masterpieces in so many styles including surrealism, African influenced cubism, and classicism.

Together with Georges Braque, Picasso created cubism – a movement that would change the face of European art forever. Cubism is an avant-garde movement where the subject is broken up into pieces and re-arranged in an abstract form. This would be the catalyst for more art movements that emerged soon after, such as dadaism, futurism, and constructivism.

Picasso is also believed to have had a large hand in the creation of collage art! Something he is perhaps less well-known for, but a crucial development for all who love craft.

Da Vinci

"Painting is concerned with all the 10 attributes of sight; which are: Darkness, Light, Solidity and Colour, Form and Position, Distance and Propinquity, Motion and Rest."

Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519) was known for many hundreds of years as the artist he was. Recently we have discovered more of his inventions and scientific discoveries, coming to accept his incredible variety of talents as a polymath.
Saint Jean – da Vinci

Da Vinci has been accredited as the ideal model of the "Renaissance man", using some of the most revered painting and sketching techniques in Western art. The layering of paint and the ability to capture human characteristics – particularly facial expressions – are still discussed by critics and copied by students all over the world.

Da Vinci is also a painter with prolific uses of the Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio to create perfectly balanced structures and paintings.

Jackson Pollock

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

Jackson Pollock (1912 – 1956)  – also dubbed as "Jack the Dripper" by Time magazine – broke through a huge boundary in art so that he could see what he wanted to see on a canvas.
Number One – Jackson Pollock

Using anything from sticks to turkey basters, Pollock would stand on top of a large canvas and drip paint onto it whilst moving about in an energetic frenzy that was almost dance-like.

This new movement was known as Abstract Expressionism, to which Pollock was a real leader and innovator. Inspired by Native American sand painting and surrealism, Pollock established the technique of "paint pouring" to defy the convention of painting on an upright surface.

Another boundary Pollock broke – more out of necessity at the start of his career – was the type of paint he used. Household paint had never been used in works of art that were so highly regarded and expensive before. The reason for using household paint at the beginning was purely so that Pollock could afford to create his masterpieces, but soon became an iconic aspect of his unique style.

Georgia O'Keeffe

"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not."

Blue and Green Music, 1921 – Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe (1887 – 1986) is celebrated as one of the most significant painters of the twentieth century. Famous for her dry, desert landscapes in rich orange colours, O'Keeffe captured the beauty of these almost monochromatic landscapes.

Recognised as "the mother American modernism", O'Keeffe's paintings of enlarged flowers and New York skyscrapers are some of the most iconic and true to the American modernist movement.

Elizabeth Peyton

Elizabeth Peyton (born 1965) is best known for her smell sized portraits of pop celebrities. Reaching artist fame in the 1990s, Peyton has painted portraits of some of the most iconic musical stars including David Bowie, Noel and Liam Gallagher, Jarvis Cocker and Kanye West.
"I love the idea that someone I like would have a piece of mine in their house and have a relationship with it."
Jarvis – Jackson Pollock

Although Peyton's choice of medium is oil, she uses thin washes in an almost watercolour-like approach. Peyton's bold, modern style is easily spotted owing to her iconic method of painting and the slender, androgynous appearances. Unlike the countless artists that went before her, Peyton choses to work from photographs rather than real life poses.

[Image credits]

User: DgFVFAJo_30MeQ at Google Cultural Institute / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User: DgFVFAJo_30MeQ at Google Cultural Institute / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User: Gerardus (talk | contribs) / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User: Dcoetzee (talk | contribs) / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User: Sergio Calleja (Life is a trip) / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User: Georgia O'Keeffe / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

User: Gandalf's Gallery  / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain