The Secrets to  
Making Better Paintings...


Before subject or composition, before values, shapes, or color, before you pick up a brush you must first have a visual idea, an artistic concept. Beg, borrow or steal an idea, but get one! Only Emotion comes before this.

All successful works of art have a visual concept or idea.  Work that does not have a visual concept may be a sketch, a study or a ho-hum painting.  If you have an idea firmly in mind you're halfway home.  What are some concepts painters have used to insure their work reaches the level of true art?

"The idea is more important than the object."  Damien Hirst

Ask yourself what is it about the subject that caught your eye; what are you ..."thinking and feeling in relation to the subject.  What was the first split second impression.  Why did you stop to photograph it?  Was it the shape, color, texture, contrast, simplicity, atmosphere, or the light?"  Al Brouillette, The Evolving Picture., pg 10.




Make something from this partial list the idea for your painting:

Interesting Shapes
Great Color
Unusual Texture
Sharp Contrast
Quiet Simplicity
Fascinating Complexity
Morning or Evening Light
Weather Effects
Back Lighting
Horizontal Movement, vertical counter-movement
Light Shape suspended amid darks
Light Shape moving against Dark Shape
Light Shape separating dark shape from mid-value shape
Eruption of fragmented shapes and colors
Etc., Etc....




You may want a subject, but don't make something like this the idea of your painting:

Etc., Etc....

If you have firmly in mind something from the first list, then you can begin to focus on something from the second list.  Facts alone are boring, emotion and relationship are interesting.

"When you arrive at the point where you can say, 'That's exciting,' then you can start working out the details of your subject...

I develop shapes, values, and colors that happen to suggest buildings...

If a painting is to be honest, it must come largely from the subconscious."  Al Brouillette

"Moving, compelling, with significant emotional impact...that's what I mean by successful art."  Robert Bissett

"Man's reaction to his earth expressed by means of a medium is ART."  Jack Clifton

"The various details in a landscape painting mean nothing to us if they do not express some mood of nature as felt by the artist."  Robert Henri

"Without atmosphere a painting is nothing." Rembrandt

In the art world today, pictures that rely on one of these elements may qualify as art:

Impressive Technique
Bravura Brushwork
Decorator Color Scheme
Photographic Detail
Human Interest
Sentimental Subject
Intellectual Interest
Artist's Reputation

Nothing wrong with any of these, in fact, they have carried many a painting.  But for lasting value there is another, more essential artistic element.  A painting can be pure magic, it can pluck the strings of your heart, it can make your day, change your worldview, make you want to take it home.  By what alchemy is this done?  That's what we must discover.  (Hint:  Visual Idea) - Robert Bissett

"Don't become overly enamored with nature.  Don't fall in love with another artists work.  Don't be mesmerized by a photograph.  Your painting is not there.  Take note of your emotional response, learn what you can, then go within, add mood, inspiration and wonder.   Now you're ready to paint."  - Robert Bissett

"Perceptive observation is seeing with your brain, feeling with your eyes, interpreting with your heart."  Robert Wade

"The beginning painter is focused on learning technique with the goal of accurate reporting and detail.  Then comes the realization that composition and design are more important.  In time, if there are to be good paintings, an underlying visual concept guides the entire process.  Finally, the occasional artist discovers how to breath life into the canvas and it sings with a pure voice."  Robert Bissett

"Without a good idea at the start only failure can result."
Norman Rockwell

"In love and war, in food and art, the quick, intuitive decision, without verbiage, is the one worth heeding. The French call it "coup d'oeil" (power of the glance)."  Robert Genn

"It's this abstraction, subtle or strong, that makes your work live as a thing-in-itself and become something unique and different from what it represents."   Robert Genn

"Need must find idea and method. Obsession follows. Obsession cannot occur before idea. As idea leads, the form of one's art emerges, and at its best, an accumulation of painted images leads to a surrogate of the real world." (Hiram Williams)


"It should not be hard for you to stop sometimes and look into the stains of walls, or ashes of a fire, or clouds, or mud or like places, in which... you may find really marvelous ideas." (Leonardo da Vinci)

"Without planning, your painting will probably be indecisive and fragmented, and you'll try to say too much in one picture." (Ron Ranson)

"Plan like a turtle; paint like a rabbit." (Edgar Whitney)

"Before you compose your picture it's a good idea to ask yourself why you're doing it." (Anonymous)

"Although an image is clearly visible to the eye, it takes the mind to develop it into a rich, tangible brilliance, into an outstanding painting." (Jeanne Dobie)

"An artist is paid for his vision, not his reporting." (Tom Lynch)

"An artist" said James McNeill Whistler, "is not paid for his labor, but for his vision."  An altered state of seeing can help an artist better define that vision. Looking back doesn't necessarily bring on a sense of contentment. It's one of the pro-tools that creators need in order to better understand what it is they're up to. The idea is to seek out and kill the banal and ordinary. The idea is to find and honor the central motif. The idea is to make your vision stronger.  Robert Genn

"What good is a balanced composition if the painting doesn't sing with life's energy and spirit?" (Marney Ward)

"Art is idea. It is not enough to draw, paint, and sculpt. An artist should be able to think." (Gurdon Woods)

"The relationships of shape, texture, and color all contribute to the creative action that gradually becomes the expressive concept." (Marilyn Hughey Phillips)

"When I begin a composition, I try to clearly understand the idea behind the subject... my subconscious tends to reinforce the idea by complementing and contrasting colours in patterns around the subject, leading mind and vision to the centre of the composition." (Ken Strong)

"The ideas must all be in the eye before they are carried out with the brush." (Anonymous Chinese painter)

"When I work on an idea for a painting... the first thing I think of is the atmosphere I am trying to achieve. I want to create another world for the viewer to walk into." (Carol Cottone-Kolthoff)

"The foundation of my ideas is the result of being inspired by a particular shape, quality of light or arrangement of form." (Tom Francesconi)

"The idea is more important than the object." (Damien Hirst)

"I generally 'see' the finished work before I start and carry it around in my head for weeks, or longer, before beginning a painting." (Janet Hayes)

"I must always have a clear image of the form of a work before I begin. Otherwise there is no impulse to create." (Barbara Hepworth)

"I start every painting by asking myself one essential question, 'Is this a powerful image?'" (Suzanne McWhinnie)

"Titian, Tintoretto, and Paul Veronese absolutely enchanted me, for they took away all sense of subject… It was the poetry of color which I felt, procreative in its nature, giving birth to a thousand things which the eye cannot see, and distinct from their cause." (Washington Allston)

"When you are young, you study the masters for their techniques and style. But when you are older, you study them for their emotion, feeling." (Chiang Chao-Shen)

"The real master of art expresses feeling rather than technique, which is achieved through intuition rather than education." (Quang Ho)

"One can be a technical master – full of craftsmanship, but not in most senses an artistic master." (oliver)

"In the hands of a master, light and shade is one of the great qualities of art." (John Sloan)

"To become masters, we need to be able to tap our inner creativity, and then combine the inspiration we receive from within with the technical skill that has come from years of experience.' (Marney Ward)

"That which they call abstract is the most realistic, because what is real is not the exterior but the idea, the essence of things." (Constantin Brancusi)

"When you see a fish you don't think of its scales, do you? You think of its speed, its floating, flashing body seen through the water... If I made fins and eyes and scales, I would arrest its movement, give a pattern or shape of reality. I want just the flash of its spirit." (Constantin Brancusi)

"Do not copy nature too much. Art is an abstraction." (Paul Gauguin)

Painting with a Concept
by Sherrie McGraw

At first, learning to paint must include painting things well. This is reasonable. Consequently, most painters feel they have succeeded in this quest when they can paint the subject convincingly and capture a look of reality. However, any thinking person might ask if more is possible than this technical proficiency.

If you have ever been moved by a great work of art, you may have wondered if it possesses something else. ''How can paint, shapes, color, and edges be so compelling?'' Paintings with more impressive technique often lack this ability to move the viewer. Instead, they impress with rendered detail and inspire wonder at the work involved. Some may lack technical prowess and instead rely on sentiment or storytelling. Some may simply depend on bravura brushwork.

Standing before a great painting, the inquisitive painter must wonder where the magic lies. The image compels you to examine the surface beauty and return again and again, leaving a lasting impression. What is the lure?

The underlying culprit is the concept. Rather than seeing each object as a separate entity, concept creates a relationship between objects, thereby creating something greater than the whole. This underlying visual message creates a beauty beyond subject matter and is the real reason behind the painting. Abstract ideas, though difficult to grasp, directly affect the development of an artist. The less personal and the more universal the motive, the more compelling and sublime the statement becomes.

The Concept
From the book:  Oil Painting Secrets from a Master
David Leffel

How misty, indistinct and abstract can I go and still have a landscape? (David Leffel)

If you just copy your subject matter you're missing ninety per cent of the art. 

Visual concepts must be understood before you can learn to paint.  Concepts are plans for solving problems of light, air/space, dimensions or form, color, value, edges.  How the painting will be read, the value range, the colors that will be used, the brushstrokes, etc. 

Great paintings are simple in concept.  Great paintings have one essential visual idea.  They have an underlying idea about color, shapes, values, edges, alone or in combination.   These are things that paint can do.  The idea, or visual concept, creates a relationship between objects. 

This is an idea that you find exciting or meaningful to the extent that you are willing to put in the hard work of abstracting from reality and showing others in paint what it is you find important. 

You must have this fixed in your mind and work towards it in the final work.  Others may look at your chosen subject and easily miss what is so obvious to you.

On your canvas you do not merely recreate the subject in paint.   Knowing what can be done with paint you are saying something in this scene connects me with a universal truth, with an elevating thought, or an inexpressible feeling-tone.

Examples of Concepts
1.  Value range
2.  Low Value and Light - mystery and moodiness
3.  Movement of Light, e.g. from left to right.
4.  Light and Shadow (Chiaroscuro)
5.  Color relationships
6.  How little color can be used
7.  How much empty space can be used
8.  Mostly grays, vivid color for center of interest
9.  Intensity vs. neutral
10. Shape relationships
11. Edges - soft vs. hard
12. Atmospheric perspective
13. Back lighting
14. Fog or mist

Why start a painting before you have a visual concept or idea?  Use one or more thumbnail sketches to find a good concept for your painting.  Write down in words the idea you have decided on.  Evaluate your painting...did you communicate your idea?

Analyze the old masters' and new masters' paintings.  What visual concept or idea do you see?  Make a note of it.  Try the same thing in your painting.

"The difference between a professional and an amateur is: A professional borrows from a master and an amateur borrows from an apprentice."

What is the visual concept in this self-portrait by Rembrandt?  Hint:  it's not the man.

Light and Shadow or Chiaroscuro.  See how the figure seems to be emerging from the shadows?  Very dramatic and entertaining.  Rembrandt used this idea a lot, but it's only one possibility.  Imagine this same painting, but with uniform lighting.  Boring.

What is the visual concept in this painting by Vermeer?

It has to do with light, but this time it's about light washing across the painting from left to right.  That's the artistic idea behind the painting that makes it hold together as a work of art, relating all the objects to one another.  The subject matter is a woman with a jug and various other subordinate objects.  Imagine this picture with uniform frontal lighting.  It would still have great composition, great shapes, lines, textures.  But the unifying principle is gone and with it the magic.

And this one by Turner...what's the idea?

How misty, indistinct and abstract can I go and still have a landscape? 

Venice by Donald Teague...

The remarkable atmospheric feeling of volume, space and light quality is what this is about.  A built environment on the ocean unique in all the world.

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conception/execution - Conception is the birth process of an artistic idea, from the initial creative impulse through aesthetic refinement, problem-solving, and visualization/realization. Execution is the second half of the creative process: the actual carrying out of the idea, in terms of method and materials, which often involves compromises and alterations of the initial conception. Artists often see the initial conception as the guiding force for their aesthetic decisions, in terms of formal elements of design, and in terms of the expressive content desired. Contemporary conceptual artists place more emphasis on the first part of the creative process; traditional artists are somewhat more concerned with the techniques and methods involved in producing the artwork. The painter Henri Matisse advised, in his essay On Painting, that artists should keep their initial impulse in the front of their minds when working on a painting, to make the best expressive and formal decisions.

Read about the creative process.



Painting is the selective recreation of reality through the use of a two-dimensional drawing. It is a category of art that includes drawings, paintings, and sketches. Its purpose is to clarify particular concepts by making them directly perceivable. By bringing a concept to the level of perception, it makes it possible to contemplate the subject in essentials with visual clarity.

Making a concept visually perceivable is achieved through a process of creating a visual integration. Since concepts are formed by selecting essential criteria, and abstracting away any non-essential characteristic, the resulting mental unit consists of only the important features. Similarly, a visual integration is possible. By abstracting away the non-essential visual features, the painting is left with a visual equivalent of a concept. If done correctly and well, the painting will portray the essential characteristics of an object.

The result of such a visual integration is that the subject will look not only real, but will appear to be the perfect representation of an object. This in spite of the fact that one may never have seen an object that looked quite like it. It will look like the subject should look, and not what it does look like.


What is Esthetics?

Esthetics is the study of art. It includes what art consists of, as well as the purpose behind it. Does art consist of music, literature, and painting? Or does it include a good engineering solution, or a beautiful sunset? These are the questions that are aimed at in esthetics. It also studies methods of evaluating art, and allows judgments of the art. Is art in the eye of the beholder? Does anything that appeals to you fit under the umbrella of art? Or does it have a specific nature? Does it accomplish a goal?

Why is Esthetics important?

Art has existed through all of recorded human history. It is unique to humans because of our unique form of thinking. Its importance is based on this nature, specifically, man's ability to abstract. Art is a little understood tool of man to bring meaning to abstract concept. Esthetics is important because it delves into the reason why art has always existed, the burning need of mankind through the ages to see the world in a different, clear way. It further evaluates art by the standard of human life, and whether it accomplishes the job of satisfying man's intellectual needs, or whether it tends to hurt or make worse those needs.

What are the key elements of a proper Esthetics?

Art is a selective recreation of reality. It's purpose is to concretize an abstraction to bring an idea or emotion within the grasp of the observer. It is a selective recreation, with the selection process depending on the value judgments of the creator. These value judgments can be observed and evaluated via the field of ethics.


Art satisfies an important need for men. It brings complex abstractions closer to the perceptual level, enabling men to more fully grasp them. Art accomplishes this through a process of embodying the abstraction in the form of a concrete.

Art does not just concretize the abstraction by merely creating an instance of it. Art attempts to embody the abstraction. It creates a single instance, but the instance is based on the essential nature of the concept. When we form a concept, we omit all of the non-essential qualities. The abstraction that remains is based only on essential characteristics. It is these characteristics that art tries to produce in a single concrete form.

The result really is an embodiment of the abstraction. The product retains only what the artist deems important. Since it consists of just the essential aspects of the abstraction, and contains all of the essentials, it allows the abstraction to be grasped directly as an entity.

The importance of this tool of cognition is incalculable. By portraying the abstraction in this way, it gains the immediacy of a perceivable concrete. It magnifies the usefulness of the concept by allowing a more thorough integration and understanding of it. Instead of trying to understand things in term of an abstraction of many entities, the single concrete embodiment serves as a perfect example of the abstraction.

To bring the abstraction into clarity, it needs to be created in its essential form. To be meaningful, it needs to be created in a recognizable form. To this end, art is a selective re-creation of reality.

Art is selective. The artist must pick not only the form in which he intends to create the art, but he must pick a subject. This subject is not random. It is picked by the artist for some significance it has for him. The choice of the subject is based on the artist's philosophy. Importance to the artist is based on his world-view. The subject is that which the artist believes has a wide-reaching importance to himself. The content is based on his sense of life. His emotional evaluation of the aspects of reality he finds important.

Art is a re-creation. It is created in order to grasp clearly an aspect of the artist's world view. If the concretization of the idea happened naturally, one would not have a problem of bringing the abstraction to a perceivable form. It would already be done. Art is an attempt to fill a gap. It is an act of creation to bring into the world a clear representation of an aspect of one's world-view.

Art is a re-creation of reality. Its purpose is to embody an idea, showing that it can exist in reality. If the creation required non-real qualities in order to be able to embody the idea, it could not be convincing. If an artist, in trying to show that man should live a life devoid of 'materialism', had to resort to describing an imaginary being that required no food, protection from the elements, or any other human need, it would rob the creation of the ability to concretize an abstraction in order to achieve further understanding or efficacy.

An artist does need to create that which doesn't exist already, or in a sufficiently consistent form. To this end, the artist isn't replicating reality. Fiction is a form of art that doesn't mirror reality. But the artist, in order to convey the message, must not only show what the message is, but how it can exist in reality. If he fails in the second half, it will undermine the first. To this end, the imaginary or impossible can supplement the art, but cannot serve as its foundation. This is why art needs to be a selective recreation of reality.

Why Men Need Art

The word "art" is used so often and so loosely, it seems it can be applied to anything at all. A word that can be used to describe anything, though, is a word that has no meaning. To derive the meaning of the word, we must first explore what human need it fulfills.

Man is a conceptual being. He thinks not only in specifics, but in abstracts. To gain further knowledge of the world, he builds abstracts on top of abstracts. Each step higher brings him a wider grasp of reality.

Each step also takes him farther from the clarity that comes from direct perception. This is not to say that his abstractions are false. If his use of reason is vigorous enough, the abstractions will correspond to reality. The difficulty is in then using the abstractions for further reasoning.

Concepts are integrations of particulars. They can be formed through integration of perceptions directly, or they can be formed through abstractions of other concepts. The second route, while producing valid concepts, does not require the perception of the particulars. They are induced, but need not have been directly perceived.

This brings us to the crux of the problem. Many abstracts lack the immediacy of those based on perception. The higher the level of abstraction, the more difficult it is to fully grasp it. Art is the tool that makes it possible to grasp complex abstractions.





More Painting Secrets:

The Secret of Values New
The Secret of Emotion

The Secret of Critiquing
The Secret of Composition

The Secret of Visual Idea
The Secret of Borrowing
The Secret of Tonalism 
The Secret of Style
The Secret of Maxfield Parrish

The Secret of Plein Air
The Secret of No Solvents
The Secret of Water Mixable Oils

The Secret of Thumbnails
The Secret of the Process
The Secret of Knife Painting


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Recommended Books

Learning to make art is a life-long process.  These are the best books on my shelf for that purpose.  Some are more advanced.  No particular order.  These links will take you to, new or used is your choice.  You might also check your local library...ask about interlibrary loans, or a used book store.

Emotional Content: How to Create Paintings That Communicate

"Too often emerging artists focus on nuts-and-bolts techniques--form--as the key to creating powerful paintings. Here author Gerald Brommer reveals that emotional content is the most vital consideration."

A must have for anyone who wants to make real art, beginner to advanced.  This is the part of picture making that is almost never discussed in depth.  Here is a whole book about it.  Many professionals know this, but may not be able to articulate it.

The book is in three parts:  Selecting Elements, Sketching the Scene and Using Color to Evoke Emotion.

Highly Recommend.

 Tom Lynch 100 Watercolor Workshop
Lesson Charts

His major theme is "think like an artist".  He makes that point from every angle imaginable in an entertaining way.  Great paintings, colorful, inspirational, clear.  Intended for watercolor, but very useful for any medium.

 The Creative Artist: A Fine Artist's Guide to Expanding Your Creativity and Achieving Your Artistic Potential

 Painting More Than the Eye Can See

 60 Minutes to Better Painting: Sharpen Your Skills in Oil and Acrylic

How to Make a Watercolor Paint Itself: Experimental Techniques for Achieving Realistic Effects

Painting Techniques of the Masters

 Composition: A Painter's Guide to Basic Problems and Solutions

 Norman Rockwell Illustrator

 Work Small, Learn Big: Sketching With Pen & Watercolor

 Paint Red Hot Landscapes That Sell: A Sure-Fire Way to Stop Boring and Start Selling Everything You Paint in Oils

 Harley Brown's Eternal Truths for Every Artist

 Conversations in Paint

 The Pleasure of Painting: Three Mediums, Oil, Watercolor, Acrylic

 Painting by Design


How to "Read" a Painting

Elements of Visual Design Explained

Watercolor Sunflowers on Yupo Paper a demo

Artist's Toolkit

The Elements of Art - good

Elements of Art

Painting Critique Checklist

How to Critique a Painting

Mr. Picasso Head

Cybernetic art program - amazing

Dip 'n Daub - abstract art generator 358k

Cityscapes - artificial creativity, good one

Generative Art - program <300k

“There are mighty few people who think what they think they think.” So wrote Robert Henri, author of The Art Spirit, 3 speaking of the various answers to the question, What do I do when I paint?    Beginners in art usually think of themselves as “painting that ” – say, a landscape.     So they include every visible cow, barn, tree, and cloud.    In reality, their first artistic impulse sprung from a rather quick glance, which is something far different from a photographic visualization of everything stimulating their retinas.   What attracted them to notice this landscape was the massive, quiet dignity of a weathered-red barn surrounded by wind-shook acres of grain.    In their original glimpse, they never saw the cows, they didn’t notice the clouds, and they barely registered the trees.    Later, upon reflection, they think they did, and that mistake in thinking accounts for many an ineffective painting.

Accomplished artists do not think of themselves as painting the total landscape seen after inspection.   Rather they feel moved by some image, and they lay paint on canvas in a way that they hope will create a similar reaction in a viewer.   They will leave out the cows and rearrange the clouds to enhance the impression of the majesty of that barn rising from those fields.   They often remind themselves, “I am not painting that – a visible figure over there.    I am painting this – a mélange of paint that expresses my disposition when I see that and promises to evoke the same disposition in someone else.”    This image may be something in nature, a sitting model, the memory of several experiences, or even the pure image of colors in a pattern.

...the specific symbol most significant to us is the human face.    Infants, in their earliest differentiations of consciousness, learn to notice faces.   I am always amazed how they spontaneously look at our looking organs – not our ears extending out from the sides, not our noses sticking out in front, not our lips that sing them lullabies and smooch them with kisses -- but our eyes.    They “read” a frown far earlier than they understand a word.    This image of the face and eyes is loaded with feeling and remains at the core of their sensibilities for the rest of their lives."

What Do I Do When I Paint?  by Tad Dunne, PhD
Highly recommended reading.

"Nature contains the elements, in colour and form, of all pictures, as the keyboard contains the notes of all music. But the artist is born to pick, to choose, and group ... these elements, that the result may be beautiful."  Whistler

...the artist's job is to home in, investigate and synthesize. "There's something there," the artist says, often without knowing just what will come of it. This is a learned skill and a way of life. Properly exploited, it's why we're so highly rewarded.

Valuable stuff can happen. One is "style opportunity"--things you just know you can inflict your style on--the lens through which you see and interpret the world. Another is the chance encounter that can breed a new direction. For me, this often comes as a surprise in areas of otherwise slim pickings.

Nothing beats taking the time for a full stop--what I call the "spiritual pause"--time enough for the creative viewer and the creative viewfinder to do their job. It sounds nuts, but I find that writing down potential titles, no matter how ordinary, goes half way to making the paintings: "Mt. Churchill from Malaspina Strait." Then there's the "idea list" to jog the memory back in the studio. I prefer to compose these like brief haiku. It's a minor literary habit that enriches the looker whether you use the ideas or not. "Incursions and abstract weathering of voluptuous sandstone at water's edge." "Patterning of a white clam-midden against black sand among shining beach boulders." "An all-seeing eagle minding his business and waiting patiently until we're outta here."  Robert Genn

(One of Genn's brief haikus above is a visual concept, can you find it?  It's the one that easily converts to paint on a two dimensional surface.)

From his 7/8/5 newsletter "Eagle Eye"
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"Pencil sketches, color sketches, photos, even nature itself...the real purpose of all reference material is to arrive at a beautiful, compelling way to arrange paint on a canvas."  Robert Bissett

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep." - Scott Adams

"Good artists borrow, great artists steal." Pablo Picasso

Picasso also said, "to search means nothing in painting.  To find is the thing".  He was getting at the same idea with that.  He meant something more like this: copying another painting vs. stealing the idea of the painting and creating something new with it.  Stealing the idea doesn't mean the composition for an artist -- that's copying.  You steal the feeling from the painting, and use it to create something else.

Diego Riviera, Mexico's greatest painter relates that when he was in Paris, Picasso would visit his studio frequently. Diego would have to hide his newest works because Picasso was an inquisitive fellow who would poke through Diego's rooms, always sniffing for new ideas for inspiration. Some of Picasso's best works are derived from the paintings of others, reinvigorated by his creativity.

'The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.'  Albert Einstein

"One always begins by imitating." (Eugéne Delacroix)

"He who resolves never to ransack any mind but his own, will be soon reduced, from mere barrenness, to the poorest of all imitations; he will be obliged to imitate himself, and to repeat what he has before often repeated." (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

"If Picasso drips, I drip... For a long while I was with Cezanne, and now I am with Picasso." (Arshile Gorky )

"I remember one day when Juan Gris told me about a bunch of grapes he had seen in a painting by Picasso. The next day these grapes appeared in a painting by Gris, this time in a bowl; and the day after, the bowl appeared in a painting by Picasso." (Jacques Lipchitz)

"Good artists borrow. Great artists steal." (Picasso)

"Copy from one, it's plagiarism; copy from two, it's research." (Wilson Mizner)

"Ideas cannot be copyrighted; images can."  Mary Klotz

"As for piracy, I love to be pirated. It is the greatest compliment an author can have. The wholesale piracy of Democracy was the single real triumph of my life. Anyone may steal what he likes from me."  Henry Brooks Adams




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