Yesterday, I visited the studio of Philadelphia painter Laura Acton, all spanking clean for her May Day open house and sporting a fresh coat of gray floor paint. Laura paints vivid still lifes, landscapes and figures, and she had several years' paintings hanging on the four...

Nine days out of ten all he saw around him was the wretchedness of his unsuccessful attempts. — Maurice Merleau-Ponty Professor Matt Saunders offers Harvard undergrads an unusual studio course he titles "Painting's Doubt." "Painting is an engagement between the self and the world," his course description reads....

Hurry up and make mistakes! — Lennart Anderson Bob Ross famously said of painters, "We don't make mistakes, just happy little accidents." I might dampen that to say, "We don't learn, unless we make mistakes." With learning to paint come countless mundane mistakes. Rookie mistakes. Stupid mistakes. Messy mistakes. They're aggravating. But then, upon...

At the core of all well-founded belief lies belief that is unfounded. ― Ludwig Wittgenstein Alberto Giacometti's painstakingly tentative figurative paintings, influenced by the theories of French phenomenologists, captivate me. They always have. Like perception itself, they're precarious (the phenomenologists held that "it is the essence of certainty to...

Every painting, no matter how successful, leaves the artist with another chance to paint what she had in mind. — Robert Brault "Blessed is he who expects nothing," goes Alexander Pope's Ninth Beatitude, "for he shall never be disappointed." Painters who've worked in industry seem to know when to...

Why is it awful for a painter today to create an impressionist painting? It's not because they're painting it badly; it's because they don't have a reason to paint it. — Matthew Ritchie I sometimes hear other artists—more skilled than I—say that they'd like to paint more...

A painting is not a picture of an experience, but is the experience. —Mark Rothko A 1950 marketing stunt made the phrase "Kodak moment" synonymous with the word experience, in the sense marketers use that word today. An experience, marketers say, is a staged event. A Kodak moment in...

Humble pie is painting from direct observation. — Lennart Anderson In an art class, I've been painting a plaster cast of the nose of Michelangelo’s David. Despite the schnozzola's simplicity, so far it's taken me 24 hours to paint it—and I still have three more hours to go...

If people could see properly, and see whole, they would all be painters. — Pierre Bonnard Since childhood, I have longed to see the way the Tonalists saw; the way the Impressionists saw; the way the Ashcan and London and Pop painters saw. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I...

Perhaps the sketch of a work is so pleasing because everyone can finish it as he chooses. — Eugene Delacroix For nine years in a row, I attended a public school in New Jersey named Washington Elementary. Every classroom sported a framed print of Gilbert Stuart's famous unfinished...