A picture is a work of art, not because it is 'modern,' nor because it is 'ancient,' but because it is a sincere expression of human feeling.— John F. Carlson
The most cheerful John F. Carlson quotes that are easy to memorize and remember
Reserve is strength; overstatement is weakness. No one cares to hear the singer's topmost notes when the voice is 'nigh onto breaking.
Too much reality in a picture is always a disappointment to the imaginative soul. We love suggestion and not hard facts.
In the anxiety to get beautiful colour harmony do not exhaust all combinations on one canvas.
Good colour really means good taste; and 'powerful' colour means a reserve, to give a climax its full force, and not 'red, white, and blue all over.
It is the ability to determine consciously what it is that interests him, and why, that differentiates the artist from the art student.
Art is a thing so much of the imagination, of the soul, that it is difficult to descend to the fundamentals of technique and yet make it plain to the student that these are but the 'means' and not an end in themselves.
A work of art in paint should be beautiful and expressive as abstract colour and form and should not interest us necessarily in any 'story' outside of itself - or else it belongs to the field of illustration.
Do not be afraid that too much labour over the composition is going to kill the spontaneity. Those who absorb and digest their experiences are, of a sudden, mountains of strength and can produce pictures with spontaneous start and finish.
We must not imitate the externals of nature with so much fidelity that the picture fails to evoke that wonderful teasing recurrence of emotion that marks the contemplation of a work of art.
You will learn to paint trees only by understanding them, their growth, their nature, their movement - and realizing that they are conscious living things. A tree seldom if ever encroaches upon the liberty of another tree. It never wastes its growth in unnecessary twistings.
This art of conservation is strength, and makes the masterpiece a masterpiece.
Otherwise, the man who simply brought all the different colors obtainable, and squeezed them out upon the canvas to give it 'full force,' would be the greatest master, instead of being merely extravagant.
Clouds are fascinating to paint because they are the only element in a landscape that possesses free movement.
It is a curious fact that out-of-door nature is to the beginner an enormously overloaded 'property room.' He sees, for instance, the myriad of leaves upon the tree long before he sees the tree at all.
Trust your feelings entirely about colour, and then, even if you arrive at no infallible colour theory, you will at least have the credit of having your own colour sense.
The underlying principles or fundamentals should be so hidden away by the beauty they are eventually to support, that it would require much digging to disclose them.
To the artist, the forest is an asylum of peace and dancing shadows.
The artist himself is often surprised at the finished work of art.
He cannot tell 'how it happened', nor could he repeat the feat at someone's bidding.
If you train yourself in memory work, you fearlessly attack and rearrange your material, for you can retain your original impression.
The great paintings are the ones with the most subtle value relationships.
The closer you could bring your values and still distinguish between them, the stronger you were as a painter.
If you're going to paint from photos, make sure you've painted for at least ten years.
Rest assured that if you work every day at your art, using the materials nearest at hand, you will gradually discover such beauty in them that they will fill you with happiness.
The eye and soul are caressed in the contemplation of form and colour.
The subtle changes of colour over a surface - transitions that are like music - are intangible in their reaction upon us. There is an immediate sensuous appeal!
We must have design in a picture even at the expense of truth.
You are using nature for your artistic needs.