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Quotes about Subject

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Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer - and often the supreme disappointment. (Ansel Adams)

The mere attempt to examine my own confusion would consume volumes. (James Agee)

When I paint a still life, I want it to be anything but still. I want it to shimmer with light. I want it to rustle with movement. (Kurt Anderson)

I have written a lot about snakes. There's something pretty primordial about it. (Laurie Anderson)

-Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children...
Draw things that have some meaning to you. An apple, what does it mean? The object drawn doesn't matter so much. It's what you feel about it, what it means to you. A masterpiece could be made of a dish of turnips. (Sherwood Anderson)

I have to feel an empathy toward the subject, and desire to form a relationship with it, as I am inevitably affected by the feeling or mood. (Dion Archibald)

The whole is more than the sum of its parts. (Aristotle)

Some of the paintings I'm doing now are really empty, and some of them are very full up... I've done this painting I love, of my cat as a woman, sitting on a park bench in this really lovely pencil skirt and these nice shoes, surrounded by all these phallic mushrooms who look really pissed off. I suppose the work looks weirdly ironic, but it's not like that to me. (Liz Arnold)

Landscape is hardwired into our psyche. It touches our emotions, experiences we've had, and gives a sense of place. (Clyde Aspevig)

To me Art's subject is the human clay, / And landscape but a background to a torso; / All Cezanne's apples I would give away / For one small Goya or a Daumier. (W. H. Auden)

I try to construct a picture in which shapes, spaces, colors, form a set of unique relationships, independent of any subject matter. At the same time I try to capture and translate the excitement and emotion aroused in me by the impact with the original idea. (Milton Avery)

One always starts work with the subject, no matter how tenuous it is, and one constructs an artificial structure by which one can trap the reality of the subject-matter that one has started from. (Francis Bacon)

Isn't it funny how even though you may be really attracted to a subject, you hesitate to paint it... you feel you won't be able to do the beautiful scene justice. This happens to the best artists... (Bill Baker)

Look at the subject as if you have never seen it before. Examine it from every side. Draw its outline with your eyes or in the air with your hands, and saturate yourself with it. (John Baldessari)

I feel that my subjects choose me rather than my choosing them... it's like a seed planted in my mind that develops gradually until the painting takes form. (David Band)

If art depended on content, then one painting of an apple would be as good as the next one. (Darby Bannard)

The black person is the protagonist in most of my paintings. I realized that I didn't see many paintings with black people in them. (Jean-Michel Basquiat)

Working in series has been an excellent means of getting down to the essence of my subjects... (Mary Bassi)

The subject is a means to an end, the end being excellence in artistry. (Theresa Bayer)

As for the subject matter in my painting... it is very often an incidental thing in the background, elusive and unclear, that really stirred me. (William Baziotes)

Whether it's a flicker of light on a face, a shimmering reflection upon water or a ray of sun cascading through a window, these delights relate to all human spectators. (Mary Todd Beam)

No matter what the subject, the subject is always love. (Ingrid Bengis)

Art is viable when it finds elements in the surrounding environment. Our ancestors drew their subject matter from the religious attitudes which weighed on their souls. We must now learn to draw inspiration from the tangible miracles around us. (Umberto Boccioni)

If all you ever paint is a particular style and subject, your work is going to get stale. Try new things. (Marion Boddy-Evans)

I became an animal painter because I loved to move among animals. I would study an animal and draw it in the position it took, and when it changed to another position I would draw that. (Rosa Bonheur)

The principal subject is the surface, which has its color, its laws over and above those of object. (Pierre Bonnard)

You paint what you know best; what you went through as a teenager and child. My world is the one I got to know in Medellin; I never paint anything else other than that. (Fernando Botero)

Sometimes it is necessary to make a confrontation – and I like that. (Louise Bourgeois)

I look for a subject very carefully... a great panoramic landscape... geometry... a perspective that fascinates me, the colour, a certain set of things... All the components are there. I think, I can make something out of this. (Olwyn Bowey)

I think I can't do it... the subject is too difficult and impossible. I can't handle the paint. It gets out of control. But then I look at the subject. I think it's beautiful and if it looks all right, surely I can do it – that keeps me going. (Olwyn Bowey)

When I have seen or sensed... the atmosphere of my subject, I... lay emphasis on one aspect of my subject and can thus most effectively arrest the spectator's attention and induce... an emotional response... (Bill Brandt, photographer)

Even though my paintings deal with horrible issues, I want to make sure they don't repel but rather move people. (Helen Broadfoot)

The painting is of the subject, but it is also of me. (Harley Brown)

My paintings are predominantly architectural studies of existing surroundings – an exploration of the mathematics, rhythm and movement within structures. (Susan Brown)

Here's a subject made to your hand! (Robert Browning)

Sometimes I can almost hear their eyes roll when I say I make watercolors of flowers. (Gary Bukovnik)

Flowers became my focus only because I wanted a medium to express colour. It's not that I have an obsession with flowers - there just seems to be an endless variety of shape and form and colour. (Bobbie Burgers)

The most deadly picture is a picture of nothing at all. The colors are there, but there is no image, nothing. (William S. Burroughs)

Nature transformed through industry is a predominant theme in my work. I set course to intersect with a contemporary view of the great ages of man; from stone, to minerals, oil, transportation, silicon, and so on. To make these ideas visible I search for subjects that are rich in detail and scale yet open in their meaning. (Edward Burtynsky)

I was attracted to science fiction because it was so wide open. I was able to do anything and there were no walls to hem you in and there was no human condition that you were stopped from examining. (Octavia E. Butler)

So fantasy was fine early on, and when I discovered science fiction, I was very happy with it, because my first interest in science fiction came with an interest in astronomy. (Octavia E. Butler)

Why not use other art as a subject of art? If you look around these days, it's really hard to NOT include other art into your own when you're painting real things. Everything has art on it now, from bed sheets to bumpers, from t-shirts to tomato sauce. (Gail Caduff-Nash)

I am inspired by people caught in repose or engrossed in an activity. Local events such as art festivals, livestock shows, Renaissance fairs and peach festivals provide plenty of material. I look for unusual light patterns on faces and figures. (Barbara George Cain)

It's the subject matter that counts... revealing the subject in a new way to intensify it. (Harry Callahan)

What do I want to express? The subject means little. The arrangement, the design, colour, shape, depth, light, space, mood, movement, balance, not one or all of these fills the bill. There is something additional, a breath that draws your breath into its breathing, a heartbeat that pounds on yours, a recognition of the oneness of all things. (Emily Carr)

In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little, human detail can become a Leitmotiv. (Henri Cartier-Bresson)

I wanted to show the history and strength of all kinds of black women. Working women, country women, urban women, great women in the history of the United States. (Elizabeth Catlett)

Fruits... like having their portrait painted. They seem to sit there and ask your forgiveness for fading. Their thought is given off with their perfumes. They come with all their scents, they speak of the fields they have left, the rain which has nourished them, the daybreaks they have seen. (Paul Cezanne)

...I love the look of glass crystals. (Dale Chihuly)

Making your subject believable isn't your only goal. It's just as important to make your paintings fresh, exciting and interesting too. (Steve Childs)

Evidently one cannot look for long at the Last Supper without ceasing to study it as a composition, and beginning to speak of it as a drama. It is the most literary of all great pictures, one of the few of which the effect may largely be conveyed - can even be enhanced - by description. (Sir Kenneth Clark)

The illustrator is essentially a reporter: his subjects come from the outside, lit by a flash. A subject comes to the classical artist from inside, and when he discovers confirmation of it in the outside world he feels that it has been there all the time. (Sir Kenneth Clark)

One of the most inspiring subjects is the border between human life and nature, especially the struggle one can see in people's shelters from the overwhelming strength of water, wind and sun. (Jeroen Coenders)

I love painting still lifes because there's a feeling of musical, flowing experience. The drawing doesn't matter as much - what you're really after is a feeling of clarity and beauty. (Jacob Collins)

Still lifes yield a more ordered background because the subject doesn't command interrelation with the viewer that distracts or commands attention like the human face. Hence the artist is taken with humanity and sometimes forgets the importance of the enviroment that supports it. (Shane Conant)

I associate my 'careless boyhood' with all that lies on the banks of the Stour. Those scenes made me a painter and I am grateful – that is, I had often thought of pictures of them before ever I touched a pencil... (John Constable)

Your subject is skittish. Beginners, sneak up on the subject before it gets away from you! Advanced painters, grasp it immediately and hold on from beginning to end! (Michele Cooper)

I seek to paint the private lives of my subjects, not to reveal their secrets, only to say that these emotions are the basis of our need to connect with others. (Sherrill Cooper)

The sea in all its calm and fury has always been the most fascinating subject to me. (Guy Corriero)

I must react selectively, contrarily, arbitrarily, perversely, and always with intensity directly from the subject. (Keith Crown)

Having developed the habit of working small en plein air, it was a natural transition to treat still life in a similar manner... exploring the subtle color and value of relationships of objects enveloped in natural light. (Joan DaGradi)

Although I have no intended subject matter... the resulting painting is nearly always related to nature in one form or another. (Ardath Davis)

The more I paint the town, the more I see to paint. (Peter Day)

Everything is a subject; the subject is yourself. It is within yourself that you must look and not around you... The greatest happiness is to reveal it to others, to study oneself, to paint oneself continually in [one's] work. (Eugene Delacroix)

If I am excited about a subject, it is because I can see it as a painting and not an object or scenery. I have already made an artistic translation in my mind. (Donald Demers)

The sunflower's secret is one of hidden geometry. (Esther Warner Dendel)

Creating a still life has all the excitement of putting on a play in which I get to be the playwright, set designer, director, star, supporting cast and even audience. (Robert C. DeVoe)

One wants to see the artifice of the thing as well as the subject. (Richard Diebenkorn)

Maybe the given person, cup, or landscape is lost before one gets to painting. A figure exerts a continuing and unspecified influence on a painting as the canvas develops. The represented forms are loaded with psychological feeling. It can't ever just be painting. (Richard Diebenkorn)

The figure is still the only thing I have faith in in terms of how much emotion it's charged with and how much subject matter is there. (Jim Dine)

Time affects everything we see, everything that we do, our appearance, and the environment around us. I find the subject of time an infinite inspiration. (Donald L. Dodrill)

When you paint Spring, do not paint willows, plums, peaches, or apricots – just paint Spring. (Dogen)

I should like to take the wind and water and sand as a motif and work with them, but it has to be simplified in most cases to colour and force lines, just as music has done with sound. (Arthur Dove)

All objects lose by too familiar a view. (John Dryden)

The subject itself is of no account; what matters is the way it is presented. (Raoul Dufy)

Sticking to the same subject is a kind of constraint and discipline that can deepen the exploration. (Alice Dustin)

It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it. (Roger Ebert)

A lot of paintings are landscape-based but don't show it. (Dorthe Eisenhardt)

-b.234 BC d.149 BC, Marcus Porcius Cato...
Grasp the subject, the words will follow. (Cato the Elder)

I'm interested in the landscape of the face, the way in which light and shadow fall across the forms. That's really my subject matter. (Paul Emsley)

Even if I set out to make a film about a fillet of sole, it would be about me. (Federico Fellini)

The true subject of any painting is light. If you have good light, anything can be made beautiful. (Peter Fiore)

There are neither good nor bad subjects. From the point of view of pure Art, you could almost establish it as an axiom that the subject is irrelevant, style itself being an absolute manner of seeing things. (Gustave Flaubert)

One thing kept screaming to be born so I decided to give it a try. What was it? It was to have fun and do chairs, yes, chairs! I love chairs and since I normally do abstracts, chairs seemed to be on the other end of the spectrum. (Gwen Fox)

My pictures are full of climates, abstract climates. They're not nature per se, but a feeling. (Helen Frankenthaler)

My work as a painter of transport subjects means that I often have to be as much historian as artist. (Barry Freeman)

No one is surprised that beauty inspires art... It is curious, then, when thoughts on any significant subject – life, character, morality, religion, politics – inspire art. Even more exceptional visual aesthetic power often results. (Marian Freeman)

Whether it will convince or not, depends entirely on what it is in itself, what is there to be seen. (Lucian Freud)

No-one who has a real understanding of the art of painting attaches any importance to what we call the subject of a picture – what is represented. To one who feels the language of pictorial form, all depends on how it is presented, nothing on what. (Roger Fry)

You can take for granted that people know more or less what a street, a shop, a beach, a sky, an oak tree look like. Tell them what makes this one different. (Neil Gaiman)

-on the Rocky Mountains...
I simply like the monumentality of the subjects - the opportunity for metaphor and the varied light that comes with high altitudes. (Robert Genn)

Flowers are an education in a vase. (Robert Genn)

Artists and their subjects are the star-crossed lovers of the world. They recognize each other on impact. (Sara Genn)

In every work of art the subject is primordial, whether the artist knows it or not. The measure of the formal qualities is only a sign of the measure of the artist's obsession with his subject; the form is always in proportion to the obsession. (Alberto Giacometti)

I always wanted my alien to be a very beautiful thing, something aesthetic. A monster isn't just something disgusting; it can have a kind of beauty. (H. R. Giger)

I've been fascinated with still life objects. To me, they exist in a special world of their own – a world where time stops and there is just light and shadow, texture and color. (Janie Gildow)

Subject becoming less relevant, each painting having a life of its own, each stroke leading to the next. It is more about the connection of body and spirit to canvas, over mind to canvas. (Ken Gillespie)

-Calgary Herald newspaper...
By far, my favourite subject is the horse... I feel I can create so many different versions of the same subject and express myself in a variety of ways... (Paul van Ginkel)

Creating is a natural response to stimuli, both internal and external. Once a completed painting has explored the subject, it becomes the 'internal stimulus' for another. (Jean Grastorf)

If you're at a lost for what to do next, do a self-portrait. (Irwin Greenberg)

Many children's writers don't have children of their own. (Mark Haddon)

It's not what you paint that makes you an artist, but that you paint! (Andrew Hamilton)

Keep in mind who is the 'star' of your painting. What was the reason why you painted that subject in the first place? A background should always remain that and never steal the limelight away from your star area. (Tony van Hasselt)

I am intrigued by the thousands of years of history and tradition surrounding the mutually rewarding relationship between a free flying raptor and earthbound humans. (Margot Hattingh)

The successful painter is continually painting still life. (Charles Hawthorne)

It is so much better to make a big thing out of a little subject than to make a little thing out of a big one. (Charles Hawthorne)

Avoid distant views, paint objects close up. If the foreground is well done the distance will take care of itself. (Charles Hawthorne)

With the ever-changing sea as my subject, I can use a great deal of artistic license. It also means I do a lot of sketches... (Harry Heine)

I never had to choose a subject - my subject rather chose me. (Ernest Hemingway)

Even the most mundane subject can be the starting point for a great painting... your function – and challenge – is to use your training and creative talent to modify that subject through clever design and expressive color into a painting that entertains the viewer within the parameters of its frame. (Sidney Hermel)

For me a true landscape is not just a representation of a desert or a forest. It shows an inner state of mind, literally inner landscapes, and it is the human soul that is visible through the landscapes presented in my films. (Werner Herzog)

In an artwork you're always looking for artistic decisions, so an ashtray is perfect. An ashtray has got life and death. (Damien Hirst)

I wanted a shark that's big enough to eat you, and in a large enough amount of liquid so that you could imagine you were in there with it. (Damien Hirst)

I can get excitement watching rain on a puddle. And then I paint it. Now, I admit, there are not too many people who would find that exciting. But I would. And I want life thrilling and rich. And it is. I make sure it is. (David Hockney)

Landscape is a piece that is emotional and psychological. (Jim Hodges)

- advice to a student...
Leave rocks for your old age - they're easy. (Winslow Homer)

I use miniatures when the subject lends itself to the small format... a songbird, a bird's nest, or a 'petite' still life involving bird eggs or feathers. (Nancy Howe)

The small figures that appear in my paintings are there only because they were there when I was working from nature on my preliminary sketches with pencil. (E. J. Hughes)

I wanted to use her [Dixit] as a vehicle to take art to the maximum number of people. And the best way to reach people was to paint a superstar. (Maqbool Fida Husain)

Content is more than 'subject matter.' It is all the feelings and ideas you bring to your painting. (Rene Huyghe)

Many, many of my paintings have come from the first chapter of Moby Dick. (Robert Indiana)

The most important thing an artist can do is confront society with something it has never seen before, something in a sense improper. (Arata Isozaki)

In better work, the subject has chosen the artist, and did so long ago. (Cassandra James)

Sometimes a subject speaks to anyone who will listen, simultaneously, without the listeners knowing of each other. If you have an open heart, these moments of inspiration will effect you deeply... and that can only translate into an honest creation. (Melissa Jean)

I am going to do some drawings or paintings... in the mirror of my wardrobe... with myself as a figure doing something. (Gwen John)

I would rather see a portrait of a dog that I know, than all the allegorical paintings they can show me in the world. (Samuel Johnson)

Beautiful, ugly, impressive, disgusting, meaningless, grim, contradictory etc... It makes no difference, as long as it is life, vigorously pouring forth. (Asger Jorn)

To be a landscape painter is to be a perverse individual. (Wolf Kahn)

I really believe that I am the first and only artist to throw not just the 'subject' out of my paintings, but every 'object' as well. (Wassily Kandinsky)

Content arises out of certain considerations about form, material, context - and that when that subject matter is sufficiently far away. (Anish Kapoor)

Scenery is fine – but human nature is finer. (John Keats)

Everything is a subject. Every subject has a rhythm. To feel it is the raison d'etre. The photograph is a fixed moment of such a raison d'etre, which lives on in itself. (Andre Kertesz)

Painting needs to tackle the big questions, beyond the floral, landscape, figure, etc. If film and video take up the big questions and we keep up with the old traditional subject matter, we painters are losing ground and getting pushed to the sidelines. (Nader Khaghani)

I want to take as the canvas for my next picture the entire surface of France. (Yves Klein)

If the weather is good I go into the nearby wood - there I am painting a small beech forest (in the sun) with a few conifers mixed in. This takes until 8 'o clock. (Gustav Klimt)

I paint not the things I see but the feelings they arouse in me. (Franz Kline)

I love painting legs and all things Manet. (Sharon Knettell)

What to paint? Ideas and concepts are important. Gimmicks are not profound. Somewhere between the gimmick and the cliché lies the answer. (Brian Knowles)

The soul of my subject matter, its vital essence, remains forever my obsession in painting... if that can be captured, then the work comes alive, fraught with its own note, its own music. Without that spark, that living radiance, the painting remains a dead thing. (John Koenig)

I try to combine my own precious objects, like letters from friends and family treasures, with the great 'junk' I love to collect. (Judy Koenig)

I think I'm painting a picture of two women but it may turn out to be a landscape. (Willem de Kooning)

I paint bridges because they're in transition; you're coming or going, you're not anywhere - full of possibility. (Wanda Koop)

I'd always been a news junkie, always read lots of newspapers and watched the Sunday morning news shows on TV and felt strongly about issues of power, control, sexuality and race. (Barbara Kruger)

It came to me that what I had to do was to take pictures and concentrate on people, only people, all kinds of people, people who paid me and people who didn't. (Dorothea Lange)

Although a risky path, I do not stick to one path or one subject matter. That is how I find my balance; precisely in imbalance. (Jean-Claude Langer)

The juxtaposition of classical art and architecture with natural symbolism fascinates me. It is as a way of exploring the timelessness of life and living in art. (Mark Larson)

This is my genre... the happiness, tragedies, and the sorrows of mankind as realized in the teeming black ghetto. (Jacob Lawrence)

I am interested in painterly and expressive responses to the intricate landscape of the iris and the effects of light, both on it and as seen through it... By limiting my imagery to an easily recognizable universal image, I am free to explore processes and materials. (Elsha Leventis)

I began painting realistic still life in an attempt to create order out of the chaos of parenting and to join the memory of my youth with the childhood of my children. (Jennifer Lewis-Takahashi)

Minimal art went nowhere. (Sol LeWitt)

I suppose I would still prefer to sit under a tree with a picnic basket rather than under a gas pump, but signs and comic strips are interesting as subject matter. (Roy Lichtenstein)

If we try too hard to capture our subject, it will escape. (Jeanne Long)

I find that all these subjects that I'm dealing with tend to lead me to religion and politics one way or another. It's not something that I necessarily want to address, but it seems like it's screaming at me to pay attention to it. (Robert Longo)

Ordinary, everyday objects are my subject. I love the challenge of rendering translucency, reflection and texture in still life. They seem to have stories to tell, and beautiful moments of unexpected color and reflection are there to discover. (Dorothy Lorenze)

Learning to make films is very easy. Learning what to make films about is very hard. (George Lucas)

I see my subject as an orchestration of shapes, patterns, shade, cast shadows, tonal groupings and aerial perspective. (Bill Luff)

An object never serves the same function as its image – or its name. (Rene Magritte)

Painting my life; it's already been painted... so... I am painting the shadow of it... (Ashgan Makarem)

For the Suprematist, the proper means is the one that provides the fullest expression of pure feeling and ignores the habitually accepted object. The object in itself is meaningless to him, and the ideas of the conscious mind are worthless. (Kasimir Malevich)

It is not what you paint, but how you paint, that makes a great work of art. (Brenda Malkinson)

I love to do skies. It must be the old Greek gods Zeus and Apollo stirring within me. (Stephen Maniatty)

It is easier for me to take ten good pictures in an airplane bathroom than in the gardens at Versailles. (Sally Mann)

And then I started putting large stones in my landscapes... and then for some reason or other they began to turn into bones... And then one time I thought 'Why not? Bones have fascinating shapes, let's see what happens. (Queen Margrethe II)

Beauty and happiness and life are all the same and they are pervasive, unattached and abstract and they are our only concern. They are immeasurable, completely lacking in substance. They are perfect and sublime. This is the subject matter of art. (Agnes Martin)

A work of art must carry in itself its complete significance and impose it upon the beholder even before he can identify the subject-matter. (Henri Matisse)

Many of my subjects are inspired by a paradox either real or imaginary: menace in the shadows on a bright, sunny day or turmoil on the other side of a door or window with an ordinary exterior. (Susan Morris McGee)

The greatest painting has always been made from a real love of the subject. (John Minton)

Sunflowers are something I feel very intensely. They look so wonderful when young and they are so very moving when they are dying. I don't like fields of sunflowers. I like them alone or, of course, painted by Van Gogh. (Joan Mitchell)

It is most difficult to acquire the, how shall I say? the 'depth' of a subject in composition in silhouette. (Ugo Mochi)

Critic asks: 'And what, sir, is the subject matter of that painting?' - 'The subject matter, my dear good fellow, is the light.' (Claude Monet)

The universal appeal of flowers is a given - we all know flowers are beautiful. With my work I show you why they are beautiful and how they are beautiful through my eyes. (Leslie Montana)

Stop looking for the picturesque. Paint a hubcap in the sun. (Mary Moquin)

I don't believe there is such a thing as "dull subject matter," merely dulled sensibility. (Gabriella Morrison)

A subject emerges from an interaction between my self, my I, and my medium. (Robert Motherwell)

Any incentive to paint is as good as any other. There is no poor subject. (Robert Motherwell)

My subject enlarges itself, becomes methodized and define, and the whole, though it be long, stands almost complete and finished in my mind, so that I can survey it, like a fine picture or a beautiful statute, at a glance. (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

I've always had a certain fascination. It's basically paint what you know, and this is what I grew up with. (Martin Mull)

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. (Iris Murdoch)

Cezanne said, 'I love to paint people who have grown old naturally in the country.' And I say I love to paint people who have been torn to shreds by the rat race in New York. (Alice Neel)

I've met and sketched most of the great athletes from the past five decades, and their movement, grace and energy have kept me captivated over the years. That's what the ancient Greeks first saw, and that's what caught my interest. (LeRoy Neiman)

When I was doing just the underwater, I don't think people could relate to it at first. Then I added the land, which was a painting called, Two Worlds. For some reason that particular painting gave people something to hold onto. (Robert Lyn Nelson)

The subject matter of my paintings slips between what is and what is not, half-remembered, half-forgotten images that haunt my childhood and persist in my dreams. (Helen Nelson-Reed)

What I paint is determined by a combination of visual interest and emotional resonance. I usually don't have to go far from home to find a subject that interests me. (Michael Nevin)

-children's book illustrator...
Animals rule my imagination just as much today as they did during childhood, so they're usually what I'm spending the most time with in the studio. (Kim Niles)

Many of my best subjects have resulted from looking back on past journeys. (Sidney Nolan)

Feeling that, while the vista is beautiful, it is just another view of water, rocks and trees? I often try to focus on something small: a mushroom, flower or fern - the landscape is made up of these inconsequential bits of matter, and they have a beauty in their own right. They can provide the artist with a unique perspective and subject matter. (Brigitte Nowak)

I hate flowers - I paint them because they're cheaper than models and they don't move. (Georgia O'Keeffe)

The subject matter is never a cliche; it is a simple fact of existence. Only the approach can make it boring or carry it beyond the ordinary. (Alev Oguz)

There it is and there it isn't. It's a place of contradiction. It's like witnessing a nervous system. It displaces itself. Because there's a hill there, the water has to go around that way, and so on. It's a magic thing, because you're looking at nature as a process. It's making itself. There is a life in the landscape. (John Olsen)

Your eye will gravitate to the subject matter you're most intrigued by – that's your cue to start painting. (Joy Orzy)

Only paint what excites you. You are the boss! (Hilary Page)

My subjects are the richness of shapes and forms, the rhythms, the colour effects, the tapestry of the components of the landscape. (Juliette Palmer)

After 20 years of painting wildlife subjects in acrylic, I felt the need for a change and began to explore portraiture and landscape in oils. (Ron Parker)

With photography, I like to create fiction out of reality. I try and do this by taking society's natural prejudice and giving this a twist. (Martin Parr)

I photograph Nature, which includes human beings. (Freeman Patterson)

I paint flowers because they are my friends and I love them. (Jane Peterson)

Subject has the variety of life. (Walter J. Phillips)

I don't say everything, but I paint everything. (Pablo Picasso)

Often one does a painting really for a corner of the canvas that no one looks at... One does a whole painting for one peach and people think... that the particular peach is but a detail. (Pablo Picasso)

Even if the painting is green, well then! The 'subject' is the green. There is always a subject; it's a joke to suppress the subject, it's impossible. (Pablo Picasso)

If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse, but you will surely see the wildness. (Pablo Picasso)

One can do such lovely things with so little. Subjects that are too beautiful end by appearing theatrical. (Camille Pissarro)

Subject matter must be normal in the sense that it does not appear sought after so much as simply happening to one. (Fairfield Porter)

I am rarely satisfied with empty street scenes, or landscapes. There needs to be some indication man has been there - a path, a fence post, a figure - something to say we've been here. (Peter Prest)

There is no such thing as the subject you cannot paint; only the ones you have not yet done well. (K. Ann Price)

Project your mind into your subject until you actually live in it. (Howard Pyle)

Your subjects have had a history – try to reveal it in your picture. (Howard Pyle)

Painting is the subject of painting. (Joseph Raffael)

Paint what is important to you – what you know best. (Diana Randolph)

I always have a good reason for taking something out, but I never have one for putting something in. And I don't want to, because that means that the picture is being painted predigested. (Robert Rauschenberg)

My inner consciousness no longer interests me as a motif for my painting when the world outside is of such mind-boggling beauty. It's all good: abstract, representational, altered states, etc... (Liz Reday)

I've painted so long that I don't want to keep painting the same old things. (Charles Reid)

The most important element in a picture cannot be defined. (Pierre-Auguste Renoir)

The search for a meaningful painting subject is a search for ourselves. (Robert Reynolds)

-portrait artist for Queen Elizabeth II, 2012...
Portraiture chose me. It came through my love of history, my study of the Masters and my wish to bring it forward to the 20th, now the 21st, century. (Phil Richards)

If the abstract paintings show my reality, then the landscapes and still-lifes show my yearning. (Gerhard Richter)

My pictures are devoid of objects; like objects, they are themselves objects. This means that they are devoid of content, significance or meaning, like objects or trees, animals, people or days, all of which are there without a reason, without a function and without a purpose. (Gerhard Richter)

Just because it is there, doesn't mean you have to paint it. (CJ Rider)

It's important to let your subjects be themselves. (Herb Ritts)

The view of life I communicate in my pictures excludes the sordid and ugly. I paint life as I would like it to be. (Norman Rockwell)

A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier. That is why Chippendale is famous. (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe)

In many ways my paintings are about energy - both in how they are created and the image itself. (James Rosenquist)

It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing. (Mark Rothko)

A lot of people think that when you have grand scenery, such as you have in Yosemite, that photography must be easy. (Galen Rowell)

Though my paintings are fairly accurate depictions of tropical fish, they come off as non-objective abstracts due to tight framing of the subject... I simply put the essence of the fish right in your face, without apology. (Mark A. Rue)

I transcend the subject. (Antonio Salemme)

Nothing is so poor and melancholy as an art that is interested in itself and not in its subject. (George Santayana)

-on painting two girls in a garden at twilight with lanterns...
A fearful difficult subject. (John Singer Sargent)

I see the things and people and events in my daily world as an endless succession of paintings. (Richard Schmid)

The grandest and simplest things contain worlds within worlds. Seeing them is a matter of the right point of view, and your painter's eye is the special portal to such sights. (Richard Schmid)

I was the first one to do Indians holding an umbrella... And I think that art is the vehicle for putting forth and fighting cliches, which we all fall into. (Fritz Scholder)

I love to paint odd things, even though I don't always know what they are! (Carol Ann Schrader)

The heart and soul of a painting is not the object or subject but the composition and design, its values of light and dark, and color harmony, bringing all three together in a simplicity of design. (Ken Schulz)

The only difference between painting a portrait or a landscape is that the latter never complains. (Ian Semple)

There has to be that magical 'urge' and excitement to paint the subject, or it just will not work. (Randall Sexton)

Life is too short to put limits on the type of subjects... (Tom Shropshire)

If I could only paint one subject I would paint the sky. (Tom Shropshire)

Every work of art is about everything. (Eli Siegel)

Very early in life, I fell in love with the landscape of the human face, where all the emotional states of life are to be found. (Burton Silverman)

My subject matter is varied. Still lifes come from the voluptuousness of form and pattern; landscapes from fleeting glimpses and memories; seascapes from changing light and weather. (Pamela Simpson)

When painting a landscape it is desirable to walk through the clumps and around the bushes, around the trees, the houses and the rocks. Familiarizing yourself in this way with the subject, you will get a better concept of the thing and not a visual and false snapshot. (John Sloan)

The subject may be of first importance to the artist when he starts a picture, but it should be of least importance in the finished product. The subject is of no aesthetic significance. (John Sloan)

My work has always been involved in exposure. The subject matter is the paint and the paint speaks of human needs. (Joan Snyder)

Art and religion first; then philosophy; lastly science. That is the order of the great subjects of life, that's their order of importance. (Muriel Spark)

The 'subject matter' is not what's outside, but what's inside. And what's outside is really the medium. (Craig Steel)

The subject matter... is not that collection of solid, static objects extended in space but the life that is lived in the scene that it composes... (Wallace Stevens)

Why onions? Because they're cheap, last a long time, can be lit any number of ways and force me to think about what happens when the form turns away from the light. (Nick Stone)

I paint the places and things that I know, places that I love. If home is where the heart is, then each of these paintings is my home. (Annie Strack)

My numerous paintings of rocks have all been done on [an area]... no greater than some 300 metres in length by some 20 to 30 metres wide. (Brian Stratton)

You write a story about loneliness, and you grab them all because everybody's an expert on that one. (Theodore Sturgeon)

Almost everything, if one keeps one's eyes open, is potential material for painting. (Graham Sutherland)

I depict various cultures and the struggle for survival of farmers, shepherds and artisans. I empathize with them because in my farm family, each member was taught to be industrious. (Ray Swanson)

And that's all the birds I'm going to do. (Doug Taylor)

I don't make a lot of distinctions between things like landscape or figure painting, because to me the problems are inherently the same – lighting, color, structure, and so on – certainly traditional and ordinary problems. (Wayne Thiebaud)

I listen to the boats. I let their scars and scents, lobster traps, coiled ropes and barrels tell me their story. I explore the mysteries beneath the surface and in the undulating alter-ego reflections. (Lois Salmon Toole)

In our time there are many artists who do something because it is new; they see their value and their justification in this newness. They are deceiving themselves... (Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec)

Only the human figure exists; landscape is, and should be, no more than an accessory; the painter exclusively of landscape is nothing but a bore. (Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec)

Light – how it alters form, edges and atmosphere – can be a subject one can pursue for a lifetime. (Thomas J. Trausch)

When I grew up, in summer with my parents we were always... by the sea. You know, sometimes little boys love cars, but I had a particular passion for boats... (Cy Twombly)

Among the factors that inspire... the wind that travels through beaches and deserts... cities and countrysides obscured by clouds; and people who travel these places, like eyewitnesses of the colors of loneliness. (Francisco Valverde)

Unfettered by abstraction or figuration, my dense, graphic, linear images are able to depict scenes of supernatural places. (Azik Vasken)

For too long, artists seem to dwell on aesthetics, artistic language... artists should be involving themselves in what is happening around them day to day. (Deon Venter)

Abstract art isn't simply a lack of realism. It's rather a heightened depiction of what the subject really is. (Curtis Verdun)

A good painter is to paint two main things, namely, man and the workings of man's mind. The first is easy, the second difficult... (Leonardo da Vinci)

Find a subject you care about and which you feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style. (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)

Landscape is more than flat land covered by floodwater, the seeping of peat bogs, a river of liquid pewter viewed from a sentry tower. It's an influence on what a person values, what she is willing to sacrifice or argue for. (Susan Vreeland)

It is not the subject that makes a painting work, it is the interpretation of the subject by the artist that lifts it out of the ordinary. (Robert Wade)

The subject is you, yourself, your impressions, your emotions toward the object and nature. You must look inside and not around you. (Van Waldron)

Although man has created many complex and beautiful subjects, I feel the most distinctive of these is the city... cities such as London and New York, which are in perpetual flux, seemingly never finished, never satisfied. (Sandra Walker)

I wanted to paint nothing. I was looking for something that was the essence of nothing, and the soup can was it. (Andy Warhol)

There has to be a balance between a concern for the subject matter and the fact that you are creating a painting. (Judith Warren)

I choose a subject but the subject also chooses me. (Frank Webb)

It seems so utterly naive that landscape - not that of the pictorial school - is not considered of 'social significance' when it has a far more important bearing on the human race of a given locale than excrescences called cities. (Edward Weston)

The subject is the most important thing. My advice is to 'get on your knees to the subject.' (George Alexis Weymouth)

In any really good subject, one has only to probe deep enough to come to tears. (Edith Wharton)

A cast shadow, a reflection, an unusual aspect of an ordinary subject gives me the urge to re-create it. (Patrick R. White)

I wanted something that was 180 degrees different from Pee-wee. So I decided to start painting traditional romantic American landscapes... I taught myself traditional oil-painting techniques. The paintings started getting just a little weirder and a little weirder... (Wayne White)

I love the stoniness and creaminess, that wonderful soiled magnolia feeling. Paris is so sensual, beautiful, flirtatious, mischievous, arrogant, orderly, so civilized. They call Paris a whore because she seduces you on every corner, and every street I turned, I could see another picture. (Brett Whiteley)

I find my world intense, in constant motion and almost overwhelming - the way clouds and sky can influence the land below. This is what I seek to express in my work. (Randy Wiens)

Combined with a love for the particular subject matter is a love for taking the complex, disorganized shapes found in reality and simplifying them into a strong design that communicates more powerfully than a mere copy. (Rachel Rubin Wolf)

My entire career, in fiction or nonfiction, I have reported and written about people who are not like me. (Tom Wolfe)

Nonfiction is never going to die. (Tom Wolfe)

Painting my studio footgear has been an on-going preoccupation with me for decades... The process of building up their painterly texture takes years and is done in a completely unconscious manner, as I treat my feet like a rag while I paint. (Bruce Woycik)

I have all sorts of interesting and decorative objects in my studio... I prowl around and, usually when looking the other way, I come across a subject for a picture. (Robbie Wraith)

My still-life painting has more to do with light and shadow than with the objects themselves. (William C. Wright)

I search for the realness, the real feeling of a subject, all the texture around it... I always want to see the third dimension of something... I want to come alive with the object. (Andrew Wyeth)

Painted in Nova Scotia at Peggy's Cove. So very few of the old wooden dories are left. Occasionally I get lucky... (Alan Wylie)