Quotes for artists - Peggy Immel - OutdoorPainter.com
Peggy Immel, “Winter Field,” 2016, oil, 9 x 12 in., Private collection, Plein air

At this time of year, many of us are reflecting on the past and looking to the future. A favorite way to find inspiration is to refer to quotes for artists.

You’re in luck! All year, Kelly Kane, Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine, has been sharing some of her favorite quotes from each issue, which we’ve featured here as “Kelly’s Pick of the Week.”

In this special round-up, we’re bringing you some of the most inspiring art quotes we’ve seen yet. Make sure you tell us your favorite one in the comments section below!

“I believe it’s most important to discern what a painting is about — to know what it is I want to convey. Is it the light, something about the subject matter, a color combination, or color temperature gradation? Maybe it’s just a feeling I have. Whatever it is, I need to define it early on because once I know and lock that in my mind, I keep revisiting that idea as I’m working, and this gives my painting process clear direction. Otherwise, the painting can be like that story that goes around a big circle and when it gets back to the beginning, it’s not at all the same story. We have an idea, then lose it and go off following another trail, and another. Staying focused and true to the original idea is key.”
~ Peggy Immel, “Path to Success” (PleinAir Magazine, June/July 2019)

Quotes for artists - Peggy Immel - OutdoorPainter.com
Jim McVicker, “Ryan Paints Fishing Boats,” 2018, oil, 8 x 16 in., Collection the artist, Plein air

“I have long found artists at work to be a fascinating subject for my plein air paintings. Not only do these scenes say something about the painters themselves, they highlight the artists’ connection to the landscapes being explored and allow me to fuse the figures beautifully into their surroundings.”
~ Jim McVicker, “Postcards From the Road” (PleinAir Magazine, April/May 2019)

Quotes for artists - Peggy Immel - OutdoorPainter.com
Stephanie Marzella, “Cove View,” 2016 oil, 12 x 12 in., Private collection, Plein air

“The representational elements of the landscape are like a frame around an abstract painting of the sky. I see the sky as an area in the painting where I can do anything I want. My work is based in obviously recognizable elements, but I have fun as a painter, too — and the sky gives me complete freedom of expression.”
~ Stephanie Marzella, “A Unique Approach to Tonalism” (PleinAir Magazine, February/March 2019)

Quotes for artists - Peggy Immel - OutdoorPainter.com
Joseph Zbukvic, “Red Awning, Paris,” 2018, watercolor, 12 5/8 x 19 3/4 in., Private collection, Plein air and studio

“I can do three or four paintings in a day — sometimes more. I rarely spend more than an hour on one painting. If I fiddle with it more than that, I’m going to kill it. …
By flickering things on and leaving things half-finished, I get that fleeting-moment look. If I define everything, it becomes boring. There’s nothing more boring than a perfect circle, but if you make some dots in a broken circle, your eye will be drawn to it to complete it. It’s an optical illusion.”
~ Joseph Zbukvic, “Fleeting Moments” (PleinAir Magazine, April/May 2019)

Quotes for artists - Peggy Immel - OutdoorPainter.com
Jacob Aguiar, “Essex Midday,” 2016, pastel, 9 x 12 in., Collection the artist, Plein air

“Because I value being outdoors and being in nature, I am drawn to painting landscapes, especially ones that have not been changed by heavy human influence. I find that being in those unpopulated places provides some sort of healing or respite from the crazy life I lead. When out painting, I am absorbing all of that, but also doing something that I’m really passionate about and that I really love. I feel a profound tie to the outdoors.”
~ Jacob Aguiar, “Tied to the Outdoors” (PleinAir Magazine, December 2018/January 2019)

Quotes for artists - Peggy Immel - OutdoorPainter.com
Joseph McGurl, “Sunlight on the Hudson River,” 2016, oil, 9 x 12 in., Private collection, Plein air

“With plein air painting, I want the viewer to feel what I felt, to have this sense that there is so much more to our existence than what we see superficially. Through my art, I get close to the big questions. I want the viewer to feel that, too. What is reality? What is our purpose? What does it all mean?”
~ Joseph McGurl (PleinAir Magazine, October/November 2018)

We find inspiration for creativity in many ways — from reading books, browsing social media accounts that we love to follow, visiting museums, and talking with other artists. Use the comment section below to tell us how you find inspiration, or share your favorite art quote!

Bonus! Listen to an inspiring interview with Camille Przewodek on the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads:

Upcoming travel and art events with Streamline Publishing:

> Click here to subscribe to the free newsletter, Plein Air Today
> And click here to subscribe to PleinAir Magazine so you never miss an issue!


  1. Its very reassuring to read these comments from experienced artists particularly as a new painter. I like the idea discussed by Joseph that if a painter wants to capture a particular instant or feeling, he or she may need to put aside the urge to go back and alter the work too frequently. I suspect perfectionism is a rather challenging trait in the context of painting!

  2. I believe Jacob’s painting is a view of Cox Reservation in Essex, MA on Cape Ann. It’s one of the most beautiful places on the New England coast and my daughter lives there! I’ve had many opportunities to take walks and paint there myself. I love his viewpoint and feel he has nailed the spirit of place.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here