20 Inspiring Quotes from the Great Artists of the Past

Learn from the best - The following are 20 quotes/tips every aspiring artist should reference. Find inspiration from master artists of the past and see what they think should be a part of the creative process.

Written by on November 17, 2013

h2 1999.363.43 220x300 20 Inspiring Quotes from the Great Artists of the PastEveryone seeks advice. Artists have a tendency to always second guess themselves more then others. Insecurities and the luring question of “is this really great art?” are an ambiguous and extremely difficult questions to carry around in one’s gut.

The good news is that you are not alone. Artists have been faced with such concerns from the dawn of art itself. The great ones often spoke of the art process and what makes their art so very special.

The following is a collection of artist inspiring quotes. Think of them as tips to help you get into the artist mindset and hopefully it will make you a better artist and a more confident one. Know in your heart that what you have created is nothing less than a masterpiece. It is a fantastic dream that one day this work will adorn the walls of the world’s greatest art museums:

  1. “To create one’s own world takes courage.” -Georgia O’Keeffe
  2. “A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.” -Paul Cezanne
  3. “The nude, if you tackle it, is a very fascinating subject, especially for a woman… Traditionally the Nude was used to express formulations about life as larger-than-life, as Heroic or Ideal… The nude is not a ‘genre’ subject.” -Isabel Bishop
  4. “Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye.. it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.”  -Edvard Munch
  5. “As long as I live I will have control over my being.” -Artemisia Gentileschi
  6. “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” -Leonardo da Vinci
  7. “Art is eternal, but life is short.” -Evelyn De Morgan
  8. “Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.” -Edgar Degas
  9. “Sometimes the painting starts to relate very directly to either sights seen or experiences felt, other times it just goes off on a tangent that you really can’t articulate.” -Susan Rothenberg
  10. “After tea it’s back to painting – a large poplar at dusk with a gathering storm. From time to time instead of this evening painting session I go bowling in one of the neighbouring villages, but not very often.” -Gustav Klimt
  11. “Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world… More of me comes out when I improvise.”  -Edward Hopper
  12. “What a funny thing painting is. The abstract painters always insist on their connection with the visible reality, while the so called figurative artists insist that what they really care about, is the abstract qualities of life.” -Marlene Dumas
  13. “Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.” -Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  14. “The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration”. -Frida Kahlo
  15. “A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.” -Michelangelo
  16. “Real painters understand with a brush in their hand.” -Berthe Morisot
  17. “I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few.” -William Bradford
  18. “If painting is no longer needed, it seems a pity that some of us are born into the world with such a passion for line and color.” -Mary Cassatt
  19. “Never put more than two waves in a picture; it’s fussy.” -Winslow Homer
  20. “I don’t paint things. I only paint the difference between things.” -Henri Matisse

What advice would you pass alone to young or beginning artists? What makes your creative process so successful, or on the contrary,what makes it  so difficult for artists to create great art? Whatever the case may be, always make sure to follow your passion and enjoy the fruits of your creation.

How to Choose the Perfect Painting for Your Room Infograph

An Infograph showing how to choose art for every room in your home based on the colors of the art.

Written by on November 11, 2013

infograph art by room 159x1024 How to Choose the Perfect Painting for Your Room InfographIt’s easy to identify a painting that you’re fond of, but it’s a bit trickier to find a painting that works well in a specific room of your home. These expert tips will help you choose a painting that adds to your space and works with the existing décor.

Lively Living Areas

In the living room, something bold and eye-catching works best because this room generally has an open layout and is full of lively activity. Colors like green and purple are great choices, as they brighten up the space and add a pop of color to even the most basic furniture. Place a gallery wall of paintings above the sofa, or lean a series of same-sized paintings on a shelf or media cabinet. One long, horizontal painting on a large, blank wall also makes a beautiful focal point.

Cooking & Dining Decor

Classic still life paintings of fruits, wines and other food items are universally flattering choices in any kitchen and dining room, but you can customize this traditional wall décor by using one uniform accent color across the board. Bright shades like yellow, red or orange work best in these social, festive places. Place paintings in a row across the tops of cabinets, or hang one large piece above a dining table or island to bring focus to the room.

Peaceful Retreats

Areas like the bedroom and bathroom should evoke a feeling of peace and relaxation, and your artwork choices should do the same. Choose paintings in soothing shades of blue or green or romantic purple to create a simple décor that still looks refined. A small gallery wall in the bathroom with alternating frame sizes works well as long as one uniform color is used throughout, or you can use a single oversized painting above the bed as a unique alternative to a traditional headboard.

Professional Paintings

If you work from home, your office’s artwork can do a lot for your professionalism and productivity. Choose something calming but inspiring, such as a realistic nature scene or a particularly recognizable, admired piece such as the “Mona Lisa”.

If you want to add a bit of stylish flair or a soothing scene to a room in your home, overstockArt carries a large selection of paintings from numerous artists and styles. You can even shop by room to find even more paintings tailored to your specific decorating needs.

Click here to download the infograph to help you decorate each room of your home in style.

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Animal Art Totems: Choose Art Based on the Animal in You

If you were an animal what would you be? Learn about animal symbolism in art and how this can be appropriated in decorating your space.

Written by on November 3, 2013

Many of us choose to live in the city and the suburbs, which has its own perks, but we miss nature (definitely not the mosquitoes). We miss the peace and privacy that comes with it: So we seek hiking trails, mountains to climb, and preserves to take photos of endangered species. For all of humanity’s history, animals have played an important role in our evolution by providing us with food, shelter, warmth, and companionship.

MJH2808 FR 446G20X24 300x300 Animal Art Totems: Choose Art Based on the Animal in YouAnimals have also played an important role symbolically, be it spiritually or aesthetically. Animal totems are prevalent in many cultures and traditions, with various meanings. The Vikings wore bear skins to intimidate the opposing force, symbolizing courage; to the Celts, the bear often symbolized the sun. There is evidence in some cultures of the bear representing fertility; We have a modern association of Mother Bears’ fierce protection of her young that we associate sometimes with our own family and motherly reactions. Ever wondered why a particular artist chose to paint a certain animal?

Perhaps the animal meant strength over adversity or survival to the artist, or maybe he or she just really liked that animal as a kid. In a way these animals are like totems, bringing spring (growth and comfort) into our homes, reaffirming a state of mind we want to have. It can make us think, too, of that CEO with paintings of great hunts in his office to stay in the hunter’s mindset, to close the deal and snag the prolific client. When the time comes for us to have children, we often commission murals of animals and buy our children stuffed animals and coloring books of their favorite animal.

We can use animal symbolism to make the act of decorating our spaces easier and feel more connected with the personality of ourselves, our families, or our company. Here are a few associations between animals and their symbolic messages. This information is a guide only, but it can provide a starting point for you. Our symbolic associations with animals are natural, based on their behavior and habitats.

Animals and their Symbols

  • Hummingbird Symbolism

    The hummingbird generally symbolizes joy and playfulness, as well as adaptability. Additional symbolic meanings are:

    • Lightness of being, enjoyment of life
    • Being more present
    • Independence
    • Bringing playfulness and joy in your life
    • Swiftness, ability to respond quickly
    • Resiliency, being able to travel great distances tirelessly

    The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird by Martin Johnson Heade reflects “swiftness,” “playfulness,” and “enjoyment of life.”

  • Wolf Symbolism

    In the spirit animal kingdom, the wolf symbolizes:

    • Sharp intelligence, deep connection with instincts
    • Appetite for freedom
    • Expression of strong instincts
    • Protective

    He Stands Guard by Peggy Miller of the modern ArtistBe.com Collection exudes the traits of “protective,” “strong instincts,” and “sharp intelligence.”

  • Fox Symbolism

    The symbolic meanings associated with the fox are:

    • Physical or mental responsiveness, increased awareness
    • Cunning; seeing through deception; call to be discerning
    • Ability to find your way around, to be swift in tricky situations
    • Affinity with nocturnal activities

    The Fox by Franz Mark is a Cubist work, which in style reflects the traits of “discerning” and an “ability to find your way around.”

  • Butterfly Symbolism

    What is the meaning of the butterfly? This animal is primarily associated with symbolism of change and transformation.

    • Powerful transformation, metamorphosis in your life, personality
    • Moving through different life cycles
    • Renewal, rebirth
    • Lightness of being, playfulness

    Blue Morpho Butterfly by Martin Johnson Heade reflects “powerful transformation” and “lightness of being.”

  • Lion Symbolism

    The lion often symbolizes:

    • Strength
    • Assertiveness
    • Personal power

    Lions are also animals who dominate other animals in nature.

It’s important to ask yourself what animal is your favorite and why? What associations did you have with your animal as a child? Dolphins, for example through studies and human experience, have proved to be helpful, intelligent, and social creatures; so we develop these associations about this animal.

Learn about the animals habits and their habitats. You can then purchase an oil painting of that animal and use the colors in the painting to decorate your space. This idea of decorating may feel more appropriate for zoo offices, children’s rooms, or the CEO’s hunting theme…but animal symbolism in art can be useful across many rooms and environments.

What animal would you choose, and what meaning would it represent in your home or office environment?
**(Symbolism knowledge gathered from spiritanimal.info)

7 Tips Surviving a Date to the Art Museum Infograph

Learn the Ins and Outs of Going out on a Date to an Art Exhibit. Follow these tips and you will be sure to get a second date!

Written by on August 21, 2013

7 Tips to Surviving blog 7 Tips Surviving a Date to the Art Museum Infograph

Learn the Ins and Outs of Going out on a Date to an Art Exhibit. Follow these tips and you will be sure to get a second date!

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If you have a looming date to stare at art for an indeterminate amount of time with a person you intend on wooing, then you should know about the etiquette expectations that will make or cripple your romantic festivities. For those that emerge, validated, from the museum’s exit, the spoils of a successful date await. But without the prerequisite knowledge, you may find that the love you hoped to detect in the air has been replaced with the bitter smell of revolt.

Here’s what you’ll need to do to get a second date:

No matter how knowledgeable you may be about art, never force your opinion onto your date. A first date is no place to unleash a disparaging volley on romanticism or Picasso, especially if your date holds an opposing stance.

Perhaps you are the uninitiated one. In this case, you’ll want to be inquisitive and open to learning. Don’t forget that you’re on a date, though, and not in art class — don’t interrogate your date to get every last boring detail.

Get comfortable with your date and forget about the art. In the end, you need to remember you’re at the art museum to meet another person. If you’re uncomfortable or too focused on what’s around you, you’ll miss what’s right in front of you.

Happy Dating!


A simple guide for art collectors to keep your fine art looking fine!

Written by on June 12, 2013

How to treat your painting 04b1 CARING FOR YOUR PAINTING FREE INFOGRAPH

A simple and free guide for art collectors to keep your fine art looking fine!

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There are no hard and fast rules when framing a painting. However, the spotlight is the artwork and the frame should be the perfect complement for the art and the décor in style and color.


If you have other paintings hanging, DON’T TRY and match the frame. It’s actually cool to have them different and contrast each other.
Make sure the frame matches the style of the painting, and not detract from it.
Make sure the frame looks appropriate with the decor of the room it will be hanging in?


Portraits and landscapes look best with more traditional looking frames.
Abstract, edgy, or modern art looks best with plain geometric frames.
Not all paintings need to be framed. Gallery wrap canvas art is very popular.


When transporting paintings, it’s best to travel when weather is moderate.
The painting should be carefully wrapped, cushioned, and insulated from moisture, humidity, and temperature extremes. Paintings should always be carried by the sides.
Do not carry the painting by the top of the frame. If the painting is large and heavy, you may need more than one person.


Use the proper wall anchors for your painting. Make sure they can support the weight of the painting.
If using wire, it should be looped through eye screws, secured in the right and left sides of the frame, so that the painting hangs from a double strand of wire.


Water -
Low or high relative humidity are not good for paintings. They tend to bridle and make the paint promote the growth of microorganisms that can damage paintings.

Heat & Dirt -
Heat dries out the materials, speeding up the process of natural aging. Hot air also rises and carries dirt with it. Therefore, hanging pictures over a fireplace is not recommended. Smoking indoors can also damage paintings.

Light -
Ultraviolet light should be kept away from paintings. Eventually, light will discolor the paintings and cause it to fade.


If you need to dust the painting, do not use: wet cloth, canned air, or try blowing on it to remove dirt. Use a clean, soft bristle Chinese watercolor brush or very soft feather duster specifically for paintings instead. Make sure it’s free of debris that could scratch the painting while cleaning.


Periodically check your painting to make sure it’s secured and the wire is not poking the back of the canvas, as even the slightest pinch can damage a painting.

Caring for your Art: Tips for Hanging Oil Paintings Away from Harm

Remember to consider environmental factors when hanging your oil paintings.

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sbr2 Caring for your Art: Tips for Hanging Oil Paintings Away from HarmThe oil painting you have just hung on the wall may still be susceptible to damage. Never choose where to hang an oil painting based solely on where you think it will look best. Ignoring necessary environmental factors could damage your original oil painting more than you expect.

Event though oil painting is a highly durable media it is still best to take into account temperature, air moisture, and lighting when thinking about the best place to hang your art.

The following are a few tips to help you find that perfect spot for your art away from harm:

  1. Think about when you attend a showing at an art gallery. The space is usually cool as higher temperatures lead to the deterioration of the painting.
  2. Watch out for elevated humidity.
  3. Do not hang your painting near heating vents.
  4. Areas with high moisture – such as the bathroom – are not good places to hang your oil painting.
  5. Avoid walls with direct sunlight and rooms that have a hall volume of dust as it contains certain acids which can erode the artwork. You can periodically remove dust from the oil painting with a soft brush, but it may be advisable to use the brush solely for this purpose. Low light will assist with maintaining the original color of the artwork.

These brief tips will assist you as you consider where to hang your new oil painting in your home or office. Remember to consider aesthetic as well as environmental conditions and your painting will not only look great but last for generations.

Top 5 Most Popular Oil Paintings for Father’s Day

overstockArt.com reveals its annual top five list of most popular paintings dads will love hanging on their walls.

Written by on June 10, 2013

fthsday 251x300 Top 5 Most Popular Oil Paintings for Father’s DayoverstockArt.com announced today the top 5 must have oil paintings for Father’s Day 2013 to help dads create their perfect man cave.

“When a dad is elegant and tasteful, his man-cave should probably fit the part.” said David Sasson, CEO of overstockArt.com. “We love sharing our unique insights and customer favorites with the art world to help art lovers know what’s cool and trending for their space, and what would make the perfect gift for the elegant dad this Father’s Day.”

The Father’s Day Top 5 list was accumulated based on traffic to the overstockArt.com website of dads in the US only, measured in the past 12 months. According to the analytics gathered, the works of art listed above were most sought after among dads in the US.

The Top Five oil paintings for Father’s Day include:

  1. “Bullfight” by Edouard Manet – Bullfight is an impressionist painting by Edouard Manet that captures the action and moment of the Spanish corrida. French painter Manet, was a key artist in the transition from Realism to Impressionism.
  2. “Going Out” by Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait – Going Out is a beautiful painting of a hunter and his dog in the heat of the hunt. Fitzwilliam Tait was best known for his ability to capture wild life using his traditional oil painting style, and earthy tones.
  3. “Card Players with Pipes” by Paul Cezanne – Considered by many to be the most expensive oil painting ever sold! This old west style painting with cowboy gentleman card players is sure to be the right move for a real man’s man. Paul Cezanne is identified today as the most dominant influence in the abstraction of modern art.
  4. “Gas” by Edward Hopper – First created in 1940, this painting depicts the exterior of a gas station with working attendant. Hopper’s classic works capture the authenticity of urban and rural American life with emotions and beauty that have placed them among the lasting and popular images of the American 20th century landscape.
  5. “Boats at St Marie’s” by Van Gogh – created in 1888 this piece shows Van Gogh’s restless spirit and depressive mental state paired with great joy and, sadly, equally great despair. Known as a prolific Post-Impressionist, he produced many paintings that were heavily biographical.

There are many more art choices dads will love at our “Gifts for Dads” art gallery: http://www.overstockart.com/giftfordad.html.

In addition, another great gift for dad this Father’s Day would be a family photo rendered as an oil painting through a commissioned artist. overstockArt.com has partnered with artists around the world to create hand painted replicas of your favorite family moments. The “Turn Photo into Hand Painted Art” is a favorite among gift givers this Father’s Day.

brought to you by overstockArt.com

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