Art teaches you the philosophy of life, and if you can't learn it from art, you can't learn it at all. It shows you that there is no perfection. There is light, and there is shadow. Everything is in half tint.
What is nobler than a man wresting and wringing his bread from the stubborn soil by the sweat of his brow and the break of his back for his wife and children!
Painting is the only universal language. All nature is creation's picture book. Painting alone can describe every thing which can be seen, and suggest every emotion which can be felt. Art reaches back into the babyhood of time, and is man's only lasting monument.
Don't put needless expense into painting a head! Don't try to match tints! Rose and pearly colours blend into each other so that no one can unite them if painted separately. Keep the impression of your subject as one thing!
It gives a fellow an awful shiver to hear the first shovelful of dirt and gravel rattle down upon the coffin; but after it is covered, it falls gently and makes no sound. The feeling of rest is perfect. There's no more nagging, no more pain!
I tell you it's no joke to paint a portrait. I wonder that I am not more timid when I begin. I feel almost certain that I can do it. It seems very simple. I don't think of the time that is sure to come when I almost despair, when the whole thing seems hopeless.
Most of us live for the critic, and he lives on us. He doesn't sacrifice himself. He gets so much a line for writing a criticism. If the birds should read the newspapers, they would all take to changing their notes. The parrots would exchange with the nightingales, and what a farce it would be!
Beauty is that little something that fills the whole world, and is contained neither in a single straight nose, a long eyelash, nor a blue mountain. Some see it in a leg of mutton, others in a compound fracture; and to expect others to accept one's own definition of it is as absurd as to expect all humanity to use the same toilet-brush.
The artist is an interpreter of Nature. People learn to love Nature through pictures. To the artist, nothing is in vain; nothing beneath his notice. If he is great enough, he will exalt every subject which he treats.
There is force and vitality in a first sketch from life which the after-work rarely has. You want a picture to seize you as forcibly as if a man had seized you by the shoulder! It should impress you like reality!
When an artist leaves his work to amuse people, he loses his time and their respect. If people are to be amused by artists, it must be by employing them in their legitimate occupation.
How are we going to make painters by lecturing to them? We are going to make questioners, doubters, and talkers. We are going to make painters by painting ourselves, and by showing the paintings of others. By working frankly from our convictions, we are going to make them work frankly from theirs.