Inspirational quotes from artists

60 quotes from great artists to help empower you and bolster your creativity.


Creativity is all around us. But what spurs on the great artist? Read quotes from Leonardo da Vinci to Helen Frankenthaler, exploring the essence of their work and personal motivation. You’ll even find a few gems from Bob Ross and Patti Smith — all empowering, encouraging, and applauding art and equality. 


Each quote is paired with an image from a past BeadDreams contest winner. It is my hope that these inspiring words and colorful images help instill greatness in your creative thinking.


“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” — Pablo Picasso


Image: "Primitive origins" by Laura Jean Heffley; 2000 BeadDreams





“The principles of true art are not to portray, but to evoke.” — Jerzy Kosinski


Image: “‘Ano ‘Ano” by Candice Wakumoto; 2000 BeadDreams









“Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity. I don’t see a different purpose for it now.” — Dorothea Tanning


Image (detail of button): “Dichroduet” by Dede Leupold; 2001 Beaddreams




“Color provokes a psychic vibration. Color hides a power still unknown but real, which acts on every part of the human body.” — Wassily Kandinsky


Image (detail of glass bead): “Webwork Series” by Kimberly A. Fields; BeadDreams 2001





“I shut my eyes in order to see.” — Paul Gauguin


Image (detail of glass bead): “Webwork Series” by Kimberly A. Fields; BeadDreams 2001




“Look at life with the eyes of a child.” — Henri Matisse


 Image: “Organics” by Joan E. Moore; 2001 BeadDreams




“I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.” — Frida Kahlo


 Image (detail of button): “Forest of Buttons” by Jay Shuster; 2001 BeadDreams





“You don't take a photograph, you make it.” — Ansel Adams


Image: “Papa La’Au X 7” by Candice Wakumoto; 2001 BeadDreams




Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensations.” — Paul Cézanne


Image (detail of bead): “Spring Garden Beads” by Lea Zinke; BeadDreams 2001




“Every good composition is above all a work of abstraction. ” — Diego Rivera


 Image: “Cinderella, Honey, It’s Midnight” by Frances “Casey” Case; BeadDreams 2000




“Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness.” — Anni Albers


 Image (detail of bead): “Peaches” by Mary Elyse Weiss; BeadDreams 2001





“If I create from the heart, nearly everything works: if from the head, almost nothing.” — Marc Chagall


 Image: “Sant Fe Sky” by Sheila Bayle-Lissick; BeadDreams 2001




“What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal but rather the unconscious, the mystery of the instinctive in the human race.” — Amadeo Modigliani


 Image: M's Necklace by Masami Sato; BeadDreams 2002




“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” — Pablo Picasso


 Image: Dichroic Fish by Ofilia Cinta; BeadDreams 2002




“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing–and keeping the unknown always beyond you.” — Georgia O’Keeffe


 Image (detail of a button): “Roses Under Glass” by Carolyn Baum; BeadDreams 2002




“To be an artist is to believe in life.” — Henry Moore


Image (detail of necklace): “Red Choker" by Masami Sato; BeadDreams 2002




“Happiness is being on the beam with life – to feel the pull of life.” — Agnes Martin


 Image (Detail of a suitcase): “Carry On” by Beth Blankenship; BeadDreams 2001




“The true use of art is, first, to cultivate the artist’s own spiritual nature.” — George Inness


 Image  (detail): “Lascaux Collar” by Barbara Berg; BeadDreams 2002




“There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” — Ansel Adams


 Image (Detail of box): “Mosaic Box” by Jennifer Bezingue; BeadDreams2002




“A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.” — Paul Cézanne


 Image detail: “My How Time Flies” by Tracy Stanley; BeadDreams 2001




“I just decided, when someone says you can’t do something. DO MORE OF IT.” — Faith Ringgold


Image Detail: “Jester” by Lisa Savoy; BeadDreams 2001




“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” — Edward Hopper


Image detail: “Persephone” by Shantasa Saling; BeadDreams 2002






“I wanted to support things that are helpful to people and maybe bash what I think is dangerous. So I switched from being everybody to being myself.” — Jenny Hozer


Image (detail of necklace): “Ancient Dreams” by Susan Lenart Kazmer; BeadDreams 2002





“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” — Bob Ross


Image (detail of necklace): “Solstice” by Heidi Kummli; 2002




 “The emotions are sometimes so strong that I work without knowing it. The strokes come like speech.” — Vincent van Gogh


Image (detail of glass bead): “Huevito Verde” by Stephanie Jones Rubiano; BeadDreams 2001





“Art is a line around your thoughts.” — Gustav Klimt


Image: “A Rainbow Cubed” by Lani Chang; 2002




“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” – Pablo Picasso


Image (detail): “Just Hanging Around” by Patricia Kimle; BeadDreams 2001




“It is not so much where my motivation comes from but rather how it manages to survive.” — Louise Bourgeois


Image (detail): “Sea Turtle” by Christine Martell; BeadDreams 2002





“I like to pretend that my art has nothing to do with me.” — Roy Lichtenstein


Image (detail): “Nature's Jewels” by Heidi Kummli; BeadDreams 2002




“Every artist was first an amateur.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson


Image (detail): “Dahlia” by Laura McCabe; BeadDreams 2003






“Great art picks up where nature ends.” — Marc Chagall


Image:  “Hydrangeas” by Lea Zinke; BeadDreams 2003




“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.” — Claude Monet


Image: “In Circles” by Amy Johnson; BeadDreams 2003





“A really good picture looks as if it’s happened at once.” — Helen Frankenthaler


Image: “Hardworking man” by Kathlyn Leighton; BeadDreams 2003




“If the artist has outer and inner eyes for nature, nature rewards him by giving him inspiration.”

— Wassily Kandinsky


Image (detail of necklace): “Forest Dance” by Heidi Kummli; BeadDreams 2003




“The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.” — Auguste Rodin


Image (detail of vessel): “Total Lifetime Urnings” by Camilla Tate; BeadDreams 2001




“There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.” — Helen Frankenthaler


Image: “African day dreams” by Jude Carmona; BeadDreams 2003




“The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness.” – Joan Miro


Image (detail of necklace): “The Beads Become Her” by Diane Hyde; BeadDreams 2001




“A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.” 

— SalvadorDalí


Image (detail):  “Fans” by Rececca Laurence; BeadDreams 2003




“Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.” — Edgar Degas


Image: “Interstellar landscape beads” by John Winter; BeadDreams 2003




“To know ahead of time what you’re looking for means you’re then only photographing your own preconceptions, which is very limiting, and often false.” — Dorothea Lange


Image (detail of necklace): “Naomi's necklace” by Verna Holland; BeadDreams 2003




“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.” — Salvador Dalí


Image: “ Desert sunset” by Kaleigh Hessel; BeadDreams 2003




“The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.” — Julia Margaret Cameron


Image (detail of necklace): “ Sunflowers” by Mary Lou Allen; BeadDreams 2003




“I can’t understand how anyone is able to paint without optimism. Despite the general pessimistic attitude in the world today, I am nothing but an optimist.” — Hans Hofmann


Image: “Rainforest beads” by Janet Farris; BeadDreams 2003 




“The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.” — Claude Monet


Image: “Leaves I & II” by Patricia Kimle; BeadDreams 2001




“Creativity takes courage. — Henri Matisse


Image (detail): “Family crest for eating out” by Anne Kingsbury; BeadDreams 2003




“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.” — Francis Bacon


Image: “Arrows flight” by Stephanie Jones Rubiano; BeadDreams 2003




“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” — Anais Nin


Image (detail of beaded bag): “Dedicated to luck” by Anne Kingsbury, BeadDreams 2003




“Don’t think about making art, just get it done.  Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it.  While they are deciding, make even more art.” — Andy Warhol


Image: “Kimono necklace” by Janet Farris; BeadDreams 2003




“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” — Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni


Image: “Harlequin” by Elizabeth Larsen: BeadDreams 2004




“My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’ Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.” — Pablo Picasso


Image: “Light Kumer Pipi” glass beads and necklace bySara Sally LaGrand; BeadDreams 2004




“Nobody says “Picasso, the male artist.” — Patti Smith


Image: “California Sunshine” by Heather Trimlett; BeadDreams 2004




“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” — Edgar Degas


Image: “Evil Eye buttons” by Dustin Tabor; BeadDreams 2004




“The only thing that matters is that you are original and find your own voice.” — Odd Nerdrum


Image: “Momma” by Betsy Youngquist; BeadDreams 2004




“I paint as a way of looking for myself in the world” — Amy Sherald


Image: “Wisteria” by Jo Lessa Willey; BeadDreams 2004




“Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” — René Magritte


Image: “Antique Rose” by Skye; BeadDreams 2004


“Happiness comes from the full understanding of your own being.” — Marina Abramovic


Image (glass beads): “Wacky Wheelers” by Kim Yamakawa; BeadDreams 2005




 I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty. — Georgia O’Keeffe


Image: “Samantha’s Journey” byElfleda Russell; BeadDreams 2004




“An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.” — James McNeill Whistler


Image (glass beads): “Botanical Series” by Glass Onion Stuidos; BeadDreams 2005




The transmutation of experience is organically controlled and contains new emphasis of forms.” — Barbara Hepworth 


Image: “Spiraling Triangles Necklace” by Grazyna Rurka; BeadDreams 2005




“You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.” — Isadora Duncan


Image: “Desert Bloom” by Angela Murphy; BeadDreams 2005




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