400+ Sourced quotes
When I started to paint, I painted children because I just felt that I wanted to take their side. What always upset me was how children are getting abused simply because they are physically weaker and not capable of defending themselves – how they get raped, enslaved and killed. I never understood why some people seemed to have fun causing pain to someone smaller.
It is surprising to me to see how many people separate the objective from the abstract. Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. A hill or tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or a tree. It is lines and colours put together so that they say something. For me that is the very basis of painting. The abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can only clarify in paint.
But unless we are creators we are not fully alive. What do I mean by creators? Not only artists, whose acts of creation are the obvious ones of working with paint of clay or words. Creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living. Creativity is not limited to the arts, or having some kind of important career.
Is the artist impelled by spiritual forces, by the divine afflatus, by conscious or unconscious emulation of others? Do angles whisper in the ears of the chosen few, and create for them visions of aethereal beauty? Do landscape painters of genius walk the plains of Heaven? Or is it only vanity that urges him to paint?
A little after I started to do sculpture, I painted some of them, and then I destroyed them all. I've begun again several times. In 1951, I painted a whole series of sculptures. But in painting them, you see what the form lacks. And it's useless to paint over something that you don't believe in. I tried again a month ago. In painting them, the deficiencies of form came through.
I paint very large pictures. I realize that historically the function of painting large pictures is painting something very grandiose and pompous. The reason I paint them however, - I think it applies to other painters I know -, is precisely because I want to be very intimate and human. To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside your experience, to look upon an experience as a stereopticon view or with a reducing glass. However you paint the larger picture, you are in it. It isn't something you command.
That is why, perhaps, all of us derive Pissarro. He had the good luck to be born in the West Indies, where he learned how to draw without a teacher. He told me all about it. In 1865 he was already cutting out black, bitumen, raw sienna and the ocher's. That's a fact. Never paint with anything but the three primary colours and their derivatives, he used to say me. Yes, he was the first Impressionist.
So what, then, is the use of art — our art, Black art? Black art must expose the enemy, praise the people and support the revolution.… We do not need pictures of oranges in a bowl or trees standing innocently in the midst of a wasteland. If we must paint oranges and trees, let our guerrillas be eating those oranges for strength and using those trees for cover.
I love to experiment with all styles, and do not have any particular prejudice or bias towards any specific style. These works appear, and they turn out, the way they should. I do not decide in what style I want to paint. I am only experimenting. Even Picasso, when he arrived at Cubism, had already experimented with a lot of other styles.
Artists encounter the landscape they propose to paint — they look at it, observe it from this angle and that. They are, as we say, absorbed in it. Or, in the case of abstract painters, the encounter may be with an idea, an inner vision, that in turn may be led off by the brilliant colors on the palette or the inviting rough whiteness of the canvas.
What is a portrait good for, unless it shows just how the subject was seen by the painter? In the old days before photography came in a sitter had a perfect right to say to the artist: "Paint me just as I am." Now if he wishes absolute fidelity he can go to the photographer and get it.