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Not every painter has a gift for painting, in fact, many painters are disappointed when they meet with difficulties in art. Painting done under pressure by artists without the necessary talent can only give rise to formlessness, as painting is a profession that requires peace of mind. The painter must always seek the essence of things, always represent the essential characteristics and emotions of the person he is painting...
As quoted in The Quotable Artist (2002) by Peggy Hadden, p. 71
Variant: They who are compelled to paint by force, without being in the necessary mood, can produce only ungainly works, because this profession requires an unruffled temper.
As quoted in The Quotable Artist (2002) by Peggy Hadden, p. 72


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Some painters, including myself, do not care what chair they are sitting on. It does not even has to be a comfortable one. They are too nervous to find out were they ought to sit. They do not want to ‘sit in style’. Rather they have found that painting – any kind of painting, any style of painting – to be painting at all, in fact – a style of living, so to speak. That is where the form of it lies. It is exactly in its uselessness that it is free. Those artists don’t want to conform. They only want to be inspired.

Willem de Kooning

Your poems are rather hard to understand, whereas your paintings are so easy.
Of course—you paint flowers and girls and sunsets; things that everybody understands.
I never met him.
Did you ever hear of nonrepresentational painting?
I am.
Pardon me?
I am a painter, and painting is nonrepresentational.
Not all painting.
No: housepainting is representational.
And what does a housepainter represent?
Ten dollars an hour.
In other words, you don’t want to be serious—
It takes two to be serious.

E. E. Cummings

I accept the fact that the important painting of the last hundred years was done in France. American painters have generally missed the point of modern painting from beginning to end... Thus the fact that good European moderns (European artists who lived in the U.S. because of the Nazi-regime, fh) are now here is very important, for they bring with them an understanding of the problems of modern painting. I am particularly impressed with their concept of the source of art being the unconscious. These idea interests me more than these specific artists do, for the two artists I admire most, Picasso and Miró, are still abroad.

Jackson Pollock

When I am in my painting, I am not aware of what I’m doing. It is only after a short of ‘get acquainted’ period that I see what I have been about. I have no fears about making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well.

Jackson Pollock

I didn’t even know that there was art until I left Texas when I was eighteen. The only painting I knew (and I didn’t know it was a ‘painting’ until much later) was Hope, the woman sitting on the globe with.. ,that green you only get in reproductions! I think that negates the idea of a painter’s relation to official – old master art. It was neutral ground – that one picture – I responded to visual things.. ..Hope (the painter, fh) was just sort of visual thing there, not art.

Robert Rauschenberg
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