En Plein Air: Favorite Quotes?

by Allison Malafronte

I have to admit that I’m a sucker for a good quote. I keep an electronic journal of phrases, sayings, or sentiments that I think are worth remembering and reflecting on. Of course, most of these quotes have to do with art, and a lot of them are from some of the great writers on landscape painting and nature, such as Ruskin, Thoreau, Wordsworth, and Blake. I wanted to list a few of the quotes that I find particularly inspirational here, and then open up the question to you: What are some of your favorite quotes related to landscape painting or nature?

 “If the imagination is shackled, and nothing is described but what we see, seldom will anything truly great be produced, either in Painting or Poetry.” –Thomas Cole

“The basis of human happiness is the possibility to be together with nature, to see it and to talk to it.” –Leo Tolstoy

“If I could make musicians of you all, you would thereby profit as painters. Everything in nature is harmony; a little too much, or else too little, disturbs the scale and makes a false note. One must reach the point of singing true with the pencil or with brush quite as much as with the voice; rightness of forms is like rightness of sounds.” –Ingres

 “We are all born original masterpieces and die cheap imitations because we limit ourselves in the areas of our aspirations.” –Scott Christensen, quoting from his pastor


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Plein Air Painting Blog
Allison Malafronte

About Allison Malafronte

Allison Malafronte is the senior editor of American Artist magazines, and the project editor of  Plein Air Painting and Workshop With the Masters magazines. She is also the creative manager of the Weekend With the Masters Workshop & Conference (www.aamastersweekend.com) which was launched in 2009 and is now in its third year. She is author of the Art for Thought column in American Artist magazine (also on the Artist Daily site under The Artist's Life blog) and the 2008-2010 Plein Air blogs on Artist Daily. 

6 thoughts on “En Plein Air: Favorite Quotes?

  1. “talk doesn’t cook rice”

    “Perhaps this should be seen as the workings of a natural law: an artist is a reaction; responding to the usual with the unheard-of, detecting what is strange in what is common, distilling purity from impurity by a mysterious process which can take place only in the presence of all that is worn out, habitual, conventional, and commonplace. Our daemon’s task is to cheat the law by which habit debases all sensation.”

    Paul Valery