Quotes About Color
We’ve forever been enchanted and moved by the power of color, and artists, writers, musicians, scientists, and philosophers have left behind thought-provoking perspectives on color. 

In my lifelong love affair with color, quotes have inspired, challenged, and delighted me. I hope you enjoy these quotes about color as much as I do.

The Ultimate List of More Than Four Hundred Color Quotes

Why is this the Ultimate Color Quote List? Unlike most list, I’ve included context for each quote in the form of history, cultural influences, and in some cases links to additional information, I’ve also grouped the color quotes by subtopics so you won’t have to wade through all 400 quotes but can quickly find one or many color quotes to inspire you.

Quotes by Color

Quotes About Purple
Quotes About White
Quotes About Pink
Quotes About Gray
Quotes About Green
Quotes About Red
Quotes About Brown
Quotes About Black
Quotes About Blue
Quotes About Orange
Quotes About Yellow

A-Z List of Color Quote by the Person Who Said It. 

By People Well-Known for Their Quotes About Color

Color Quotes by Joseph Addison
Color Quotes by Josef Albers
Color Quotes by Pierre Bonnard
Color Quotes by Paul Cézanne
Color Quotes by Dale Chihuly
Color Quotes by Chuck Close
Color Quotes by Leonardo da Vinci
Color Quotes by Eugene Delacroix
Color Quotes by Robert Delaunay
Color Quotes by Hans Hofmann
Color Quotes by Paul Gauguin
Color Quotes by Wassily Kandinsky
Color Quotes by Paul Klee
Quotes About Color by Kazimir Malevich
Quotes About Color by Henri Matisse
Color Quotes by Claude Monet
Color Quotes by Louise Nevelson
Color Quotes by Georgia O'Keeffe
Quotes About Color by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Color Quotes by John Ruskin
Vincent van Gogh Color Quotes
Color Quotes by Diane Vreeland
Color Quotes by James Whistler
Color Quotes by Ludwig Wittgenstein

Find a Color Quote By Topic

For Color Lovers

Why Color Quote On Anthropologie Windows

Why color? Because it makes the world bigger unveiling all that is possible. - Unknown  #color #quotes

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Pure draughtsmen are philosophers and dialecticians. Colorists are epic poets.

Charles Baudelaire, French poet, 1821-1867

Color is my day long obsession, joy and torment.

Claude Monet, Founder of French Impressionist painting, and prolific practitioner of the movement, 1840-1926

I never met a color I didn’t like. - Dale Chihuly  #color #quotes

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Man needs color to live; it’s just as necessary an element as fire and water.

Fernand Léger, French cubist painter and filmmaker, 1881-1955

Boldly dare to be a pop of #color in a black and white world - Unknown  #color #quotes

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Color is the fruit of life.

Guillaume Apollinaire, French poet, writer and art critic, 1880-1918

Only those who love color are admitted to its beauty and immanent presence. It affords utility to all, but unveils its deeper mysteries only to its devotees.

Johannes Itten, Swiss Expressionist painter, designer, teacher, writer and theorist, 1888-1967

There are no bad colors just some unfortunate color combinations. - Kate Smith #color #quotes

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Color has got me. I no longer need to chase after it. It has got me for ever. I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour.

Paul Klee, Swiss Expressionist painter, 1879-1940

The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most. - John Ruskin  #color #quotes

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Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second.

Mattie Stepanek, Young American poet, peacemaker, and philosopher, 1990-2004

Color is the place where our brain and the universe meet.

Paul Klee, Swiss Expressionist painter, 1879-1940

Draughtsmen may be made, but colorists are born. - Eugene Delacroix #color #quotes

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Color Speaks To The Soul

All colors are but vibrations of one string, the string of consciousness, and they blend into the perfect understanding, which is the white light.

N. Sri Ram, freemason, theosophist and president of the Theosophical Society Adyar, 1889-1973

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way -- things I had no words for. - Georgia O'Keeffe  #color #quotes

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The soul is dyed with the color of its leisure thoughts.

Dean Inge, English author, Anglican priest, 1860-1954

Color is a power which directly influences the soul.

Wassily Kandinsky, Russian-born French Expressionist painter, 1866-1944

The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thought.

Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor, 121-180 A.D.

There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.

John Calvin, French theologian and pastor, 1509-1564

And in the end, the study of color is the study of ourselves. - Josef Albers  #color #quotes

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Color, in my opinion, behaves like man in two distinct ways: first in self-realization and then in realization of relationships with others.

Josef Albers, German-born American abstract painter and designer, 1888-1976

Color provokes a psychic vibration. Color hides a power still unknown but real, which acts on every part of the human body.

 Wassily Kandinsky, Russian-born French Expressionist painter, 1866-1944

Language Of Color

Colors speak all languages.

 Joseph Addison, English essayist, poet, playwright, and politician, 1672-1719

Color is uncontainable. It effortlessly reveals the limits of language and evades our best attempts to impose a rational order on it… To work with color is to become acutely aware of the insufficiency of language and theory – which is both disturbing and pleasurable.

 David Batchelor British sound engineer, 1941-2005

Chromophobia is perhaps only chromophilia without the colour.

 David Batchelor British sound engineer, 1941-2005

The meaning of a word — to me — is not as exact as the meaning of a color. Colors and shapes make a more definite statement than words.

 Georgia O’Keeffe, American painter recognized as the "Mother of American Modernism", 1887-1986

Color is, on the evidence of language alone, very bound up with the feelings.

 Marion Milner, British author and psychoanalyst, 1900-1998

Color is the language of the poets. It is astonishingly lovely. To speak it is a privilege.

 Keith Crown, American abstract painter, b. 1918

Our ordinary language has no means for describing a particular shade of color. Thus it is incapable of producing a picture of this color.

 Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein, Austrian philosopher, 1889-1951

Color! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams. - Paul Gauguin #color #quotes

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Color As Expression

Colors speak louder than words - Unknown  See more #color #quotes

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The chief function of color should be to serve expression.

 Henri Matisse, French artist best known for the expressive color and form of his Fauvist style, 1869-1954

Colors express the main psychic functions of man.

 Carl Jung, Swiss Psychiatrist, 1875-1961

The use of expressive colors is felt to be one of the basic elements of the modern mentality, a historical necessity, beyond choice.

 Henri Matisse, French artist best known for the expressive color and form of his Fauvist style, 1869-1954

The aim of our studies is to prove that color is the most relative means of artistic expression, that we never really perceive what color is physically.

 Josef Albers,  German-born American abstract painter and designer, 1888-1976

Purer colors…have in themselves, independently of the objects they serve to express, a significant action on the feelings of those who look at them.

Henri Matisse, French artist best known for the expressive color and form of his Fauvist style, 1869-1954

I am as curious about color as one would be visiting a new country, because I have never concentrated so closely on color expression. Up to now I have waited at the gates of the temple.

Henri Matisse, French artist best known for the expressive color and form of his Fauvist style, 1869-1954

A color is as strong as the impression it creates. - Ivan Albright #color #quote

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In India, you see the way they embrace color in the culture - it's very celebratory of the existence of color. There's no rule of what color belongs together or doesn't belong together. They're not precious about it. It's very full-on.

M.I.A., English hip hop recording artist and designer, b. 1975

Color is the essence of painting, which the subject always killed.

Kasimir Malevich, Ukrainian cubist painter known for the iconic Black Square painting, 1878-1935

Color is all. When color is right, form is right. Color is everything, color is vibration like music; everything is vibration.

Marc Chagall, Russian-born French painter and stained glass artist, 1887-1985

I have always wanted my colors to sing.

Paul Delvaux, Belgian surrealist painter, 1897-1994

Colors speak louder than words - Unknown  #color #quotes

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The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color. Our entire being is nourished by it. This mystic quality of color should likewise find expression in a work of art.

Hans Hofmann, German-born American painter, 1880-1966

I have always wanted my colors to sing.

Paul Delvaux, Belgian surrealist painter, 1897-1994

Appear in your own colors, that folk may know you.

English Proverb

Color is only beautiful when it means something - Robert Henri  #color #quotes

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Color Touches Emotions

I find great pleasure in using color out of context to express emotion and to entertain the viewer.”

Carlton Plummer, American painter, 20th Century

Color, rather than shape, is more closely related to emotion.

David Katz, American ceramic sculptor

Each day has its own individuality of color.”

Charles Webster Hawthorne, American painter, 1872-1930

 With color one obtains an energy that seems to stem from witchcraft.

Henri Matisse, French artist, 1869-1954

Color should be used to depict the three major emotions in a man’s life – anticipation, realization and retrospection.

Ernest Lawson, Canadian-born American Impressionist painter, 1873-1939

The feeling that a person gives me that I cannot say in words comes in colors and shapes.

Georgia O’Keeffe, American painter recognized as the "Mother of American Modernism", 1887-1986

Who told you that one paints with colors? One makes use of colors, but one paints with emotions.

Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, French Rococo Era painter

We never really perceive what color is physically.

Josef Albers,  German-born American abstract painter and designer, 1888-1976

The object and color in the materials around us actually have a physical effect on us, on how we feel.

Florence Nightingale, English founder of Modern Nursing

If you… are moved only by the color relationships, then you miss the point.

Mark Rothko, Latvian-born American abstract Expressionist painter, 1903-1970

Be sensitive to your sensitive inner capacities to respond to color.

Nathan Cabot Hale, American sculptor, b. 1925

Color is but a sensation and has no existence outside the nervous system of living beings.

Nicholas Ogden Rood, American physicist , 1831-1902

Color which, like music, is a matter of vibrations, reaches what is most general and therefore most indefinable in nature: its inner power….

Paul Gauguin, French Post-Impressionist painter, 1848-1903

I never do color sketches. I do color on the canvas. I have always felt that in order to be a good painter one should be color-blind, because color doesn’t have to be seen. It only needs to be felt.

Richard Lindner, American painter, 1901-1978

Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another purposively, to cause vibrations in the soul.

Wassily Kandinsky, Russian-born French Expressionist painter, 1866-1944

Colors produce a corresponding spiritual vibration, and it is only as a step towards this spiritual vibration that the elementary physical impression is of importance.

Wassily Kandinsky, Russian-born French Expressionist painter, 1866-1944

Color provokes a psychic vibration. Color hides a power still unknown but real, which acts on every part of the human body.

Wassily Kandinsky, Russian-born French Expressionist painter, 1866-1944

Colors are the smiles of nature. - Leigh Hunt #color #quotes

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Color Creates Mood

Color creates, enhances, changes, reveals and establishes the mood of the painting.

Kiff Holland, South African-born Canadian painter, b. 1942

I sometimes use a lot of light greens and greys when I feel there is sadness in the painting. 

Robert Ryan, American actor, 1909-1973

I am a believer that color affects people's moods.

 Lilly Pulitzer, American socialite and fashion designer, b. 1931

The image begins to tell me what mood it’s in – happy, sad – which tells me what colors to use and how to continue.

Ruth B. Rieber, American artist

Allow one color, or just a couple of analogous colors, to dominate the mood of the painting; and let the others fulfill a supporting role.

Zoltan Szabo, Hungarian-born American painter, 1928-2003

On Seeing Color

Louise Nevelson Quotes About Color

Some of us come on earth seeing – some of us come on earth seeing color.

Louise Nevelson, American sculptor, 1899-1988

The painter has to unlearn the habit of thinking that things seem to have the color which common sense says they ‘really’ have, and to learn the habit of seeing things as they appear.

Bertrand Russell, British philosopher, 1872-1970

He who wishes to become a master of color must see, feel, and experience each individual color in its endless combinations with all other colors.

Johannes Itten, Swiss designer, 1888-1967

Everything that you can see in the world around you presents itself to your eyes only as an arrangement of patches of different colors.

John Ruskin, leading English art critic, watercolorist, draughtsman, art patron, and philanthropist, 1819-1900

Water in swimming pools changes its look more than in any other form… its color can be man-made and its dancing rhythms reflect not only the sky but, because of its transparency, the depth of the water as well. If the water surface is almost still and there is a strong sun, then dancing lines with the colors of the spectrum appear everywhere.

David Hockney, British pop artist, b. 1937

In Autumn you can take one maple leaf and see almost all the colors of the rainbow in it – although you would need your imagination to see blue.

Dorthe Eisenhardt, Canadian painter

If you look closely at any face, you’ll start to see that different areas of the flesh tones are tinged with four other colors – red, green, purple and yellow.

Doug Dawson, American painter, b. 1944

Yes,’ I answered you last night; / ‘No,’ this morning, sir, I say. / Colors seen by candle-light / Will not look the same by day.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English poet, 1806-1861

The more an object is polished or brilliant, the less you see its own color and the more it becomes a mirror reflecting the color of its surroundings.

Eugene Delacroix, one of the leading artists of the French Romantic period, 1798-1863

The man who can see all gray, and red, and purples in a peach, will paint the peach rightly round, and rightly altogether. But the man who has only studied its roundness may not see its purples and grays, and if he does not will never get it to look like a peach; so that great power over color is always a sign of large general art-intellect.

John Ruskin, leading English art critic, watercolorist, draughtsman, art patron, and philanthropist, 1819-1900

I’m intrigued that one can recognize different parts of the world solely by the particular color of the water.

Leonard Mizerek, American painter

The Mediterranean has the color of mackerel, changeable I mean. You don’t always know if it is green or violet, you can’t even say it’s blue, because the next moment the changing reflection has taken on a tint of rose or gray.

Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, 1853–1890

It’s strange, I’ve seen colors at times that when I’ve gone back to check on them, they’ve vanished…

William Percy Weston, Canadian painter, b. 1879

In order to change a color it is enough to change the color of its background.

Michel Eugene Chevreul, French chemist, 1786-1889

In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is - as it physically is. This fact makes color the most relative medium in art.

 Josef Albers, German-born American abstract painter and designer, 1888-1976

Music Color Connection

I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.

Joan Miro, Spanish surrealist painter and sculptor, 1893-1983

The sound of colors is so definite that it would be hard to find anyone who would express bright yellow with bass notes or dark lake with treble…

Wassily Kandinsky, Russian-born French Expressionist painter, 1866-1944

Who ever heard of a musician who was passionately fond of B flat? Color is like music. The palette is an instrument that can be orchestrated to build form.

John Sloan, American painter, etcher and one of the founders of the Ashcan School of American Art, 1871-1951

If you think about the way a composer would go in a room and score, let’s say, the oboe’s gonna play this note, the bassoon’s gonna play that note, the french horn will play that note, the resultant sound, the combination of those notes makes kind of a chord, and I’m doing the same thing with color.

Chuck Close, American painter who achieved fame for his massive-scale portraits, b. 1940

Painting is drawing, with the additional means of color. Painting without drawing is just ‘coloriness,’ color excitement. To think of color for color’s sake is like thinking of sound for sound’s sake. Color is like music. The palette is an instrument that can be orchestrated to build form.

John Sloan, American painter, etcher and one of the founders of the Ashcan School of American Art, 1871-1951

The key of D is daffodil yellow, B major is maroon, and B flat is blue.

Marian McPartland, British jazz pianist, b. 1918

A parallel between color and music can only be relative – just as a violin can give warm shades of tone, so yellow has shades, which can be expressed by various instruments.

Wassily Kandinsky, Russian-born French Expressionist painter, 1866-1944

Someday we shall control the full orchestra.” (to his students on color).

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, U.S.-born British painter of the late 19th century art movement, 1834-1903

As music is the poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight, and the subject-matter has nothing to do with harmony of sound or of color.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, U.S.-born British painter of the late 19th century art movement, 1834-1903

As music is the poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight, and the subject-matter has nothing to do with harmony of sound or of color.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, U.S.-born British painter of the late 19th century art movement, 1834-1903

On Color And Light

All colors will agree in the dark.

 Francis Bacon, Irish-born British Expressionist painter, 1909-1992

In nature, light creates the color. In the picture, color creates the light.

Hans Hofmann, German-born American painter, 1880-1966

Daylight reveals color; artificial light drains it.

Helena Rubinstein, Polish-American cosmetics business magnate, art collector, and philanthropist, 1872-1965 

I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced.

Dale Chihuly, American glassmaker, b. 1941

Colors are light’s suffering and joy.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, novelist, scientist, theorist and painter, 1749-1832

Colors are the deeds of light, its deeds and sufferings.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet, novelist, scientist, theorist and painter, 1749-1832

Light is therefore color.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, English Romantic painter, 1775-1851

Shadow is a color as light is, but less brilliant; light and shadow are only the relation of two tones.

Paul Cezanne, French Post-Impressionist painter, 1839-1906

All color is no color

Kenneth Clark English author, museum director, broadcaster and art historian, 1903-1983

Nowhere in nature can you find purer color than sunlight passing through the petal of a flower.

Larry K. Stephenson, American painter

It seems obvious that colors vary according to lights, because when any color is placed in the shade, it appears to be different from the same color which is located in light. Shade makes color dark, whereas light makes color bright where it strikes.

Leon Battista Alberti, Italian early renaissance architect, 1404-1472

Color and light must be entirely melted into one and felt as such – and light must be expressed as it is felt as color.

Morgan Russell, American painter, 1886-1953

It is still color, it is not yet light.

Pierre Bonnard, French Nabi painter, 1867-1947

As artists we are most concerned with the behavior of reflected light. When the reflected colors of the spectrum are curved around to form the familiar color wheel, exciting relationships are revealed.

Zoltan Szabo Hungarian-born American painter, 1928-2003

Lighting is everything in a color.

Diana Vreeland, fashion columnist/editor and consultant to Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1903-1989

On Color Value

Color is born of the interpenetration of light and dark.

Sam Francis, American abstract Expressionist painter, 1923-1994

All color depends on good value relationships. If it's dark and light values are wrong, a color will never look right.

Ted Smuskiewicz, American artist, b.1946

An artist is either good at color or good at value but rarely good at both. I focus on the tonal range, the dark-light effects, rather than the full color range of bright colors. I just don’t know what to do with all those cadmiums.

Thomas S. Buechner, American painter, b. 1926

Quotes About The Primary Colors

Blue is the male principle, stern and spiritual. Yellow the female principle, gentle, cheerful and sensual. Red is matter, brutal and heavy and always the color which must be fought and vanquished by the other two. (From a letter to Auguste Macke)

Franz Marc, German Expressionist painter and printmaker, 1880-1916

A red apple isn’t red, nor the lemon yellow. The sky is seldom blue, only when it isn’t.

Keith Crown, American abstract painter, b. 1918

My palette contains a warm and cool of each primary, plus four modifiers: Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Blue-Violet and Phthalo Yellow-Green… just mix as I go for each painting.

Matt Smith American painter, b. 1960

I only use three primaries, so the nice thing is I can’t have favorite colors.


Chuck Close
, American painter who achieved fame for his massive-scale portraits, b. 1940

My own palette has been reduced to three primaries and white. I usually add a couple of grays as values to modify color and tone.

Scott L. Christensen, American painter, b. 1962

The distinct blue, red, and yellow colors… though they have not the kind of harmony which is produced by a variety of broken and transparent colors, have the effect of grandeur.

Sir Joshua Reynolds, English Rococo Era painter, 1723-1792

Perhaps blue, red, and yellow strike the mind more forcibly from there not being any great union between them, as martial music, which is intended to rouse the nobler passions…

Sir Joshua Reynolds, English Rococo Era painter, 1723-1792

Color In Fashion

if the shoe fits buy it in every color

“If the shoe fits, buy it in every color.” - Unknown #color #quotes

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I like light, color, luminosity. I like things full of color and vibrant.

Oscar de la Renta, Dominican fashion designer, 1932-2014

I try to avoid wearing black because sometimes it's the easy option. But I'm young, so it's nice to be able to play with color and not just wear black all the time. I can save that for when I'm older" 

Emma Watson, British actress and model, b. 1990

Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy — but mysterious. But above all black says this: I don't bother you — don't bother me.

Yohji Yamamoto, Japanese fashion designer known for his avant-garde tailoring, b. 1943

Most of the time I dress depending on my mood. I just throw on whatever I feel like wearing at the time, which tends to come from the palette of black, grey or red.

Kate Moss, English model and businesswoman, b. 1974

Never go anywhere you have to wear brown shoes.

Bill Nighy, English actor, b. 1949

I am really into color and bright clothing. When I'm wearing heels, I always like to throw some different colors into my outfit, so it doesn't match. That gives my look a retro and funky feel.

Leah LaBelle, Canadian R&B singer, b. 1986

I knew from my youngest age I wanted to be a fashion designer. I was always draping fabric and working with color palettes.

Catherine Malandrino, French fashion designer, b. 1963

You can wear black at any time. You can wear it at any age. You may wear it for almost any occasion.

Christian Dior, French fashion designer and founder of one of the world's top fashion houses, 1905-1957

Color In Films

There’s one thing which I hate about color films… people who use up a lot of their despairing producer’s money by working in the laboratory to bring out the dominant hues, or to make color films where there isn’t any color.

Claude Chabrol, French movie director, b. 1930

I sometimes go for the strongest, most vivid color on the palette, which in the case of movies is violence.

Brian de Palma, American film director, b. 1940

I much prefer playing the bad guys. I think they are always the most interesting characters. I liken it to painting: if you're playing the good guy, you get three colors: red, white and blue. But if you're the bad guy, you get the whole palette.

American actor, singer-songwriter, and storyteller, b. 1938

I like making black and white films in natural surroundings, but I much prefer shooting a color film inside a studio where the colors are easier to control.

Claude Chabrol, French movie director, b. 1930

Color can do anything that black-and-white can.

Vincente Minnelli, American stage and film director, 1903-1986

Some colors are very difficult to render, and you must compensate to get the color you want on the screen.

Claude Chabrol, French movie director, b. 1930

As with sound, images are subjective. You and I may not see the same color red as red, but we will probably agree that the image on the screen is a digital image or film image, based on contrast, bit depth, and refresh rate.

John Dykstra, American special effects artist, pioneer in the use of computers in filmmaking, b. 1947

I like to have the screen full of color, twenty colors on the screen at once, fifty colors. There are no dominants despite what people have said.

Claude Chabrol, French movie director, b. 1930

Color In Architecture

Post-modernists… see color as an ambivalence, to coat a surface, denying its purist reality.

Theo Crosby, English architect, 1925-1994

Color in certain places has the great value of making the outlines and structural planes seem more energetic.

Antonio Gaudi, Spanish art Nouveau architect, 1852-1926

The colors I choose there was to paint the first hotel, the Disneyland Hotel. Because of the cloudy sky we had in Paris, it had to be a particular kind of color who will fight those grey days. And also something you can see when you're driving up 'There it is! We're arriving!

John Hench, an employee of The Walt Disney Company for more than 65 years, 1908-2004

Color Has A Sense Of Humor

I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. he told me to wear a brown tie.

Rodney Dangerfield, American stand-up comedian, actor, producer and writer, 1921-2004

Did you ever get the feeling that the world is a tuxedo and you're a pair of brown shoes?

George Gobel, American comedian and actor, 1919-1991

I’m color-blind. I can see colors dogs can’t even hear!

Murray Tinkelman, American illustrator, b. 1933

Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up.

Allen Klein, music publisher and Record Label executive, 1931-2009

On Using Color in Art

It is not the form that dictates the color, but the color that brings out the form.

Hans Hofmann, German-born American painter, 1880-1966

Sixteen million colors in your palette are hard for any artist, especially a beginner, to turn down.

Buffy Sainte-Marie,  Canadian-American singer-songwriter, musician, composer, visual artist. b. 1941

On the other hand, the artist has much to do in the realm of color construction, which is so little explored and so obscure, and hardly dates back any farther than to the beginning of Impressionism.

Robert Delaunay, French cubist painter, 1885-1941

In teaching color, you teach people how to look something and see the tone in it and break it down to be able to paint it and reproduce that color. But then, I'm psychedelic, so I look at color differently. I like colors that are in contrast with one another, so that they flicker back and forth.

John Van Hamersveld, American graphic artist and illustrator, b. 1941

Simultaneous contrast is not just a curious optical phenomenon - it is the very heart of painting.

Josef Albers German-born American abstract painter and designer, 1888-1976

If you thoroughly mix the color on the palette, you will kill the color. Mixing ahead of time only works when you’re painting the kitchen walls!

Aleksander Titovets, Russian painter, b. 1960

Fog and smog should not be confused and are easily separated by color.

Chuck Jones, American animator at Warner Bros. Cartoons studio, 1912-2002

I advise students on the subject of color as follows: ‘If it looks good enough to eat, use it.'

Abe Ajay, American artist, 1919-1998

I find color schemes that I just like and that just feel right.

Alan Bean, American painter, former NASA Astronaut, b. 1932

It must be vivid. Extended in space and time, the dots accrue, giving back pathways, constellations, geometries, and at last, as the white ground of the canvas is overcome, unforeseen color sensations.

Andrew Forge, English painter, academic, and art critic, 1923-2002

Art without color would lose much of its purpose.”

Andrew Loomis, American Illustrator, author, and art instructor, 1892-1959

I love to study the many things that grow below the corn stalks and bring them back to the studio to study the color. If one could only catch that true color of nature – the very thought of it drives me mad.

Andrew Wyeth, American contemporary realist painter, b. 1917

We don’t paint the color of the subject; in reality we paint the colors that reflect onto the subject.

Andries Veerman, Contemporary Dutch Canadian artist

Sometimes when I’m having a color moment I think to myself, okay what would be the most disgusting color to add here? Sometimes that ‘disgusting’ can turn out to be ‘surprising’ and ‘completely gorgeous’.

Angela A’Court, Contemporary British American artist and printmaker

Now color… is the flower of fine modeling. These two qualities always accompany each other, and it is these qualities which give to every masterpiece of the sculptor the radiant appearance of living flesh.

Auguste Rodin, French sculptor, and the preeminent sculptor of the modern era.  1840-1917

And then, of course, most potters, they go in for earth tones and subdued things, and I like color.

Beatrice Wood, American artist and ceramicist, 1893-1998

I plan colors ahead of time only in a general sense. I have found that if I try to force the paint to do what I want, I miss valuable input from the watercolor process. As a result, the colors grow and change as the painting grows and changes.

Carol Ann Schrader, Contemporary watercolor artist

When painting the faces of young persons… use the yolk of the egg of a city hen, because they have lighter yolks than those of country hens.

 Cennino Cennini Florentine painter, 1370-1440

Even More Color Quotes

I lack the magnificent richness of color that animates nature.

 Paul Cézanne, French Post-Impressionist painter, 1839-1906

I looked along the San Juan Islands and the coast of California, but I couldn't find the palette of green, granite, and dark blue that you can only find in Maine.

Parker Stevenson, American actor, b1952 

I used to rely on black-and-white, and while I was working on 'Smile,' I learned to adapt to color on my end.

Raina Telgemeier, American cartoonist, b. 1977

I've handled color as a man should behave. You may conclude that I consider ethics and aesthetics as one.

Josef Albers, German-born American abstract painter and designer, 1888-1976

To use color well is as difficult as for a fish to pass from water to air or earth.

Andre L’Hote, French cubist painter and sculptor, 1885-1962

Reds, yellows and oranges conjure up sunlight and fire, while the blues and blue-greens evoke snow and ice, sea, sky and moonlight.”

Unknown

A smart walk through a gallery from a fifteenth century to a sixteenth century, and then a seventeenth century room will reveal how in successive centuries the brilliancy of oil picture diminishes.

Arthur Pillans Laurie, Scottish chemist and Principal of Heriot-Watt College in Edinburgh, 1861-1949

All the best artists have shown that the greatest achievement in the production of fine color is the concealment of pigments, and not the parade of them; and we may say the same of execution.

Asher B. Durand American Hudson River School painter, 1796-1886

Color… thinks by itself, independently of the object it clothes.

Charles Baudelaire, French poet, 1821-1867

The last mad throb of red just as it turns green; the ultimate shriek of orange calling all the blues of heaven for relief and support… each color almost regains the fun it must have felt within itself on forming the first rainbow.

Charles Demuth, American Precisionist painter, 1883-1935

Flowers and flames. And color. Color as color, not as volume or light – only as color.

Charles Demuth, American Precisionist painter, 1883-1935

Partially mixed colors, mixed on the paper, are more interesting than thoroughly mixed colors from the palette’s mixing area.

Charles Reid, American painter, b. 1937

See what you can do with your daring with color and your ignorance mixed with it.

Charles Webster Hawthorne, American painter, 1872-1930

At the same time that I’m finding the color world I want, I’m also trying to make the imagery, you know, by the nature of the strokes themselves.

Chuck Close, American painter who achieved fame through his massive-scale portraits, b. 1940

I did some pastels and I did other pieces in which there was just basically one color per square, and then they would get bigger and I could get 2 or 3 colors into the square, and ultimately I just started making oil paintings.

Chuck Close, American painter who achieved fame through his massive-scale portraits, b. 1940

Colors pursue me like a constant worry. They even worry me in my sleep.

Claude Monet, Founder of French Impressionist painting, and prolific practitioner of the movement, 1840-1926

Since the appearance of impressionism, the official salons, which used to be brown, have become blue, green and red.

Claude Monet, Founder of French Impressionist painting, and prolific practitioner of the movement, 1840-1926

I haven’t yet managed to capture the color of this landscape; there are moments when I’m appalled at the colors I’m having to use, I’m afraid what I’m doing is just dreadful and yet I really am understating it; the light is simply terrifying.

Claude Monet, Founder of French Impressionist painting, and prolific practitioner of the movement, 1840-1926

It is not by his mixing and choosing, but by the shapes of his colors, and the combination of those shapes, that we recognize the colorist. Color becomes significant only when it becomes form.

Clive Bell, English Critic, 1881-1964

A superb membrane of paint is a feast for the eye… applying the colors in transparent layers on an underpainting rather than mixing wet colors.

Cornelis Le Mair, Dutch painter, b. 1944

I don’t know if something can be too colorful. Color is one of the great properties of glass and is more intense in glass than any other material. Imagine entering Chartres Cathedral and looking up at the rose window: you can see a one-inch square of ruby red glass from 300 feet away.

Dale Chihuly, American glassmaker/sculptor and entrepreneur, b. 1941

Ah, Chardin, what you grind on your palette is not this color or that… but the very substance of things. You dip your brush in air and light and spread them on your canvas.

Denis Diderot, French philosopher and writer, 1713-1784

I work in black and white, then go from there.

Deon Venter South African-born Canadian painter, b. 1953

I don’t think of myself as a ‘colorist’; I look at myself as a value painter. While I paint I do not think directly of what colors I wish to use… rather I think of temperature.

Don O’Neill, American artist, b. 1924

Color is a matter of taste and of sensitivity.

Edouard Manet, French realist/Impressionist painter, 1832-1883

I was walking along a road one evening – on one side lay the city, and below me was the fjord. The sun went down – the clouds were stained red, as if with blood. I felt as though the whole of nature was screaming – it seemed as though I could hear a scream. I painted that picture, painting the clouds like real blood. The colors screamed.

Edvard Munch, Norwegian Symbolist/Expressionist painter, 1863-1944

Colors in vibration, peeling like silver bells and clanging like bronze bells, proclaiming happiness, passion and love, soul, blood and death.

Emil Nolde, German Expressionist painter, 1867-1956

The artist, busy and unsettled, can find a moment’s peace – and even whole-being rejuvenation – by quietly attuning to a red sky, a gray sky, a black sky, a blue sky.”

Eric Maisel, American author

The mind is excited by what painters refer to as ‘broken color’, the juxtaposition of two or more colors in a single passage.

Eric Wiegardt, American painter

Everyone knows that yellow, orange, and red suggest ideas of joy and plenty. 

Eugene Delacroix, French Romantic painter, 1798-1863

I can paint you the skin of Venus with mud, provided you let me surround it as I will.”

Eugene Delacroix, French Romantic painter, 1798-1863

The sea a dark greenish blue like a fig.

Eugene Delacroix, French Romantic painter, 1798-1863

Not only can color, which is under fixed laws, be taught like music, but it is easier to learn than drawing, whose elaborate principles cannot be taught.

Eugene Delacroix, French Romantic painter, 1798-1863

Color exists simultaneously with form. Both elements are constantly associated but color strikes you more a rose for instance sometimes form the human body.

Ferdinand Hodler, Swiss Art Nouveau painter, 1853-1918

If you use color carefully, that is, placing a softer ‘off’ color next to pure color, it helps add the magic touch to your work– and that special look.

Gail Boyle, Senior curator based at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

There are always a myriad of color choices that will work in any situation, as long as the tonal value is appropriate.

Gaye Adams, Contemporary Canadian painter

The white canvas– it’s like a layer of dust that covers up the real painting. It’s just a matter of cleaning it. I have a little brush to clear away the blue, another for the red, and another brush for the green. And when I’ve finished cleaning, the picture is all there.

Georges Braque, French cubist/Fauvist painter, 1882-1963

The point is to know how to use the colors, the choice of which is,when all’s said and done, a matter of habit.

Claude Monet, Founder of French Impressionist painting, and prolific practitioner of the movement, 1840-1926

One has to arrive at a specific temperature, at which the objects become malleable.

Georges Braque, French cubist/Fauvist painter, 1882-1963

Whether the flower or the color is the focus I do not know. I do know the flower is painted large to convey my experience with the flower – and what is my experience if it is not the color?

Georgia O’Keeffe, American painter recognized as the "Mother of American Modernism", 1887-1986

I know I can not paint a flower. I can not paint the sun on the desert on a bright summer morning but maybe in terms of paint color I can convey to you my experience of the flower or the experience that makes the flower of significance to me at that particular time.

Georgia O’Keeffe, American painter recognized as the "Mother of American Modernism", 1887-1986

Color is one of the great things in the world that makes life worth living to me and as I have come to think of painting it is my efforts to create an equivalent with paint color for the world — life as I see it.

Georgia O’Keeffe, American painter recognized as the "Mother of American Modernism", 1887-1986

All the earth colors of the painter’s palette are out there in the many miles of badlands.

Georgia O’Keeffe, American painter recognized as the "Mother of American Modernism", 1887-1986

I choose color on the spur of the moment. People ask me why I paint in red. I do not have the slightest idea. I was painting in blue, then I had a need to paint in red. To be able to interact with the medium, this is the key. There are no sure ways to do art.

Guido Molinari, Canadian painter, 1933-2004

Color is a plastic means of creating intervals… color harmonics produced by special relationships, or tensions. We differentiate now between formal tensions and color tensions, just as we differentiate in music between counterpoint and harmony.”


Hans Hofmann
, German-born American painter, 1880-1966

Colors must fit together as pieces in a puzzle or cogs in a wheel.


Hans Hofmann
, German-born American painter, 1880-1966

I don’t start with a color order, but find the colors as I go.

Helen Frankenthaler, American Abstract Expressionist painter, 1928-2011

Cutting directly into color reminds me of a sculptor’s carving into stone.

Henri Matisse, French artist, 1869-1954

Tintoretto attempted to fill the line of Michelangelo with color, without tracing its principle.

Henry Fuseli, Swiss-born British Romantic painter, 1741-1825

The greatest masterpieces were once only pigments on a palette.

Henry S. Hoskins, Stockbroker and Man of letters, 1875–1957

Truly color is vice! Of course, it can be, and has the right to be one of the finest virtues. Controlled by the strong hand and careful guidance of her Master drawing, color is a splendid Mistress, with a mate worthy of herself, her lover, but her Master likewise, the most magnificent Mistress possible, and the result is evident in all the glorious things that spring from their union.


James Abbott McNeill Whistler
, U.S.-born British painter of the late 19th century art movement, 1834-1903

The world is your kaleidoscope, and the varying combinations of colors which at every succeeding moment it presents to you are the exquisitely adjusted pictures of your ever-moving thoughts.



James Abbott McNeill Whistler
, U.S.-born British painter of the late 19th century art movement, 1834-1903

Color confines the totality of elemental work.

Jan Zawadzki, Contemporary American artist

Trying to brighten a dull color is nearly impossible… I start with a color that is too intense so I can calm it as needed.

Jane Jones, Contemporary watercolorist

There is true color, there is nature without exaggeration, without forced brilliance! He is exact.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, French Neoclassical painter, 1780-1867

The West is color. Its colors are animal rather than vegetable, the colors of earth and sunlight and ripeness.

Jessamyn West, American author, 1902-1984

This may sound a bit simple, but the rainbow was my teaching source about mixing color.

Jim Pescott, Contemporary Canadian painter

Little by little, I’ve reached the stage of using only a small number of forms and colors. It’s not the first time that painting has been done with a very narrow range of colors. The frescoes of the tenth century are painted like this. For me, they are magnificent things.

Joan Miro, Spanish Surrealist painter and sculptor, 1893-1983

Color can overwhelm… One must understand that when it comes to color, ‘less’ is often ‘more’ – lesson taught us by the masters but ignored by many artists.

Joe Singer, portrait artist

He who wishes to become a master of color must see, feel, and experience each individual color in its endless combinations with all other colors.

Johannes Itten, Swiss Expressionist painter, designer, teacher, writer, and theorist, 1888-1967

Good color really means good taste; and ‘powerful’ color means a reserve, to give a climax its full force, and not ‘red, white, and blue all over.

John F. Carlson, Swedish-born American painter, 1875-1945

As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.

John Lubbock, collagist, Illustrator and Art Critic, 1957-2011

I mix them with my brains, sir.” (His response when asked what he mixed his colors with)

John Opie, Cornish Historical and portrait painter, 1761-1807

The glories and the beauties of form, color, and sound unite in the Grand Canyon – forms unrivaled even by the mountains, colors that vie with sunsets, and sounds that span the diapason from tempest to tinkling raindrop, from cataract to bubbling fountain.

John Wesley Powell, American explorer, 1834-1902

I entreat fresh visions from the painters. Be lavish with your vermilion to portray the mountains in the spring.

Lu Xun, Chinese printmaker, 1881-1936

Artists can color the sky red because they know it’s blue. Those of us who aren’t artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we’re stupid.

Jules Feiffer, American Illustrator, b. 1929

Don’t think of sea as color. Make it a solid that can support a boat. Think of ‘wetness’ as color-texture.

John Sloan, , American painter, etcher and one of the founders of the Ashcan School of American Art, 1871-1951

Form your own color concept of things in nature. I have no rules for fine color to give you.

John Sloan, , American painter, etcher and one of the founders of the Ashcan School of American Art, 1871-1951

To play your colors by eye is worse than playing the piano by ear.

John Sloan, , American painter, etcher and one of the founders of the Ashcan School of American Art, 1871-1951

Color is like cooking. The cook puts in more or less salt, that’s the difference!

Josef Albers, German-born American abstract painter and designer, 1888-1976

Any ground subtracts its own hue from the colors which it carries and therefore influences.

Josef Albers, German-born American abstract painter and designer, 1888-1976

I have broken the blue boundary of color limits, come out into the white; beside me comrade-pilots swim in this infinity.

Kasimir Malevich, Ukrainian cubist painter known for the iconic Black Square painting, 1878-1935

I have established the semaphore of Suprematism. I have beaten the lining of the colored sky, torn it away and in the sack that formed itself, I have put color and knotted it. Swim! The free white sea, infinity, lies before you.

Kasimir Malevich, Ukrainian cubist painter known for the iconic Black Square painting, 1878-1935

If I can someday see M. Claude Monet’s garden, I feel sure that I shall see something that is not so much a garden of flowers as of colors and tones… because it was planted so that only the flowers with matching colors will bloom at the same time.

Marcel Proust, French intellectual, novelist, essayist and critic, 1871-1922

Creators of computer graphics are ahead of painters… Programs such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop have ‘color pickers’ that present you with a screen full of continuously blended color from which to choose. (Commenting on the color wheel)

Patrick Fanning, Contemporary American painter

Anything can be any color at any time depending on what color everything else is at the time.

Keith Crown, American abstract painter, b. 1918

A variation of edges, along with the proper value, allows the artist to draw attention to or away from different areas of the painting… Likewise, use of color draws attention to an area…

Kenn Backhaus, American painter

Every so often change your palette. Introduce new colors and discard others. You will gain knowledge of color mixing and your work will have added variety.

Kenneth Denton, English painter, b. 1932

The picture will have charm when each color is very unlike the one next to it.

Leon Battista Alberti, Italian Early Renaissance architect, 1404-1472

For those colors which you wish to be beautiful, always first prepare a pure white ground.

Leonardo da Vinci, an Italian polymath and painter, 1452-1519

I always lay out my color in the same way so I don’t have to stop and search for the color I want. I press the paint out in long ribbons rather than blobs. It keeps the paint cleaner and less contaminated by other colors.

Linda Blondheim, Contemporary American painter

For a warm earthy palette, add Raw Umber, Cadmium Red Light, Burnt Umber and Olive Green.

Lisa Buck-Goldstein, Contemporary American watercolor painter

If we were to imagine an orange on the blue side or green on the red side or violet on the yellow side, it would give us the same impression as a north wind coming from the southwest.

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein, Austrian philosopher, 1889-1951

Imagine someone pointing to a place in the iris of a Rembrandt eye and saying, ‘The walls of my room should be painted this color.

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein, Austrian philosopher, 1889-1951

Imagine someone pointing to a place in the iris of a Rembrandt eye and saying, ‘The walls of my room should be painted this color.

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein, Austrian philosopher, 1889-1951

There is no criterion by which to recognize what is a color, except that it is one of our colors.

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein, Austrian philosopher, 1889-1951

A color which would be ‘dirty’ if it were the color of a wall, needn’t be so in a painting.

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein, Austrian philosopher, 1889-1951

Has anyone ever placed this color more reasonable with more of a sense of time and measure than he?

Marsden Hartley, American painter, 1877-1943

A dominant color possesses tremendous power in making a painting unique. tremendous power in making a painting unique.

Mary Bassi, Argentinian painter, b. 1934

Any color works if you push it to the extreme.

Massimo Vignelli, Italian designer, b. 1931

Color can be the true main thing in art that is widely valued – even valued by the maker of the art – for other meanings.

Matthew Collings, British art critic and broadcaster, b. 1955

There were apples painted in pale green and bright red on a ground of emerald green leaves. It is all color. One might say it was a Cezanne.

Maurice Denis, French Nabi painter, 1870-1943

It almost always happens that true, but exaggerated, coloring is more agreeable than absolute coloring.

Michel Eugene Chevreul, French chemist, 1786-1889

Don’t go an inch without changing color.

Millard Sheets, American painter, 1907-1989

Each color is applied to the canvas in relation to the colors next to it. The painting becomes a living thing and calls out for the color it wants.

Neil Patterson, Canadian painter, b. 1947

Colors in painting are as allurements for persuading the eyes, as the sweetness of meter is in poetry.

Nicolas Poussin, French Baroque Era painter, 1594-1665

I want to know one thing. What is color?

Pablo Picasso, Spanish cubist painter and sculptor, 1881-1973

When I haven’t any blue I use red.

Pablo Picasso, Spanish cubist painter and sculptor, 1881-1973

Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No.

Pablo Picasso, Spanish cubist painter and sculptor, 1881-1973

His is the greatest palette of France and no one beneath our skies possessed to a greater extent than he both the serene and the pathetic, the vibration of color. We all paint through him.

 Paul Cezanne, French Post-Impressionist painter, 1839-1906

Nature is more depth than surface. Hence the need to introduce into our light vibrations represented by the reds and yellows, a sufficient amount of blue to give the impression of air.

Paul Cezanne, French Post-Impressionist painter, 1839-1906

There is a logic of colors, and it is with this alone, and not with the logic of the brain, that the painter should conform.

Paul Cezanne, French Post-Impressionist painter, 1839-1906

There is no model; there is only color.

Paul Cezanne, French Post-Impressionist painter, 1839-1906

When the color achieves richness, the form attains its fullness also.

Paul Cezanne, French Post-Impressionist painter, 1839-1906

When the sun is so terrific here that is seems to me as if the objects were silhouetted not only in black and white, but in blue, red, brown and violet. I may be mistaken, but this seems to me to be the opposite of modeling.

Paul Cezanne, French Post-Impressionist painter, 1839-1906

It is the eye of ignorance that assigns a fixed and unchangeable color to every object; beware of this stumbling block.

Paul Gauguin, French Post-Impressionist painter, 1848-1903

Color and I are one. I am a painter.

Paul Klee, Swiss Expressionist painter, 1879-1940

I still come closest to success with drawing. When I use color the results are dubious, for these painfully gained experiences bear less fruit.

Paul Klee, Swiss Expressionist painter, 1879-1940

Colors are promiscuous. They get infected by their neighbors.

Paul Richard, Contemporary American street artist

With a limited palette, the older painters could do just as well as today… what they did was sounder.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French Impressionist painter, 1841-1919

Color does not add a pleasant quality to design – it reinforces it.

Pierre Bonnard, French Nabi painter, 1867-1947

Drawing is feeling. Color is an act of reason.

Pierre Bonnard, French Nabi painter, 1867-1947

You reason color more than you reason drawing… Color has a logic as severe as form.

Pierre Bonnard, French Nabi painter, 1867-1947

The colored planes, as much by position and dimension as by the greater value given to color, plastically express only relationships and not forms.

Piet Mondrian, Dutch Neo-Plasticist painter, 1872-1944

Color is a creative element, not a trimming.

Piet Mondrian, Dutch Neo-Plasticist painter, 1872-1944

Painting is something that takes place among the colors, and … one has to leave them alone completely, so that they can settle the matter among themselves. Their intercourse: this is the whole of painting. Whoever meddles, arranges, injects his human deliberation, his wit, his advocacy, his intellectual agility in any way, is already disturbing and clouding their activity.

Rainer Maria Rilke, German poet, 1875–1926

Color that has been built up in stages has a different character than a solitary layer of color. Plying in several layers of pigment, weaving each color on top of the last, creates a richness of hue that is otherwise unobtainable.

Richard McDaniel, American artist, b. 1948

Clarity will be color, proportion; these proportions are composed of diverse elements, simultaneously involved in an action.

Robert Delaunay, French cubist painter, 1885-1941

On the other hand, the artist has much to do in the realm of color construction, which is so little explored and so obscure, and hardly dates back any farther than to the beginning of Impressionism.

Robert Delaunay, French cubist painter, 1885-1941

First of all, I always see the sun! The way I want to identify myself and others is with halos here and there, movements of color. And that, I believe, is rhythm.

Robert Delaunay, French cubist painter, 1885-1941

On the other hand, the artist has much to do in the realm of color construction, which is so little explored and so obscure, and hardly dates back any farther than to the beginning of Impressionism.

Robert Delaunay, French cubist painter, 1885-1941

These are based on studies in the transparency of color, whose similarity to musical notes drove me to discover the ‘movement of color’.

Robert Delaunay, French cubist painter, 1885-1941

I am attracted to generic or ‘industrial’ colors; paper bag brown, file cabinet gray, industrial green, that kind of thing.

Robert Mangold, American Minimalist painter, b. 1937

Colors come out of a tube pure; why is it that painters take such a long, indirect road to find them, searching for them in the light, in the shadows?

Rodrigo Moynihan, British painter, 1910-1990

My personal theory is that being frugal with the number of colors, one gets to know them intimately and to understand how each reacts with the others.

Ron Ranson, English artist, teacher and author

I can hide as much as I want in my colors.

Sara Genn, Canadian painter

Being a true colorist means demonstrating discipline by first assessing all the options laid out before you, and then giving equal regard to hues beyond the brightest in your quiver.

Scott L. Christensen, American painter, b. 1962

To achieve depth the color has to penetrate the paper.

Shanti Panchal, Indian painter

He who knows how to appreciate color relationships, the influence of one color on another, their contrasts and dissonances, is promised an infinitely diverse imagery.

Sonia Delaunay, Ukrainian-born French abstract painter and designer, 1885-1979

At a certain point the well-versed musician does not need to think of the keys, where they are located, or which scale or sequence of notes will recall a certain mood… The artisan can think of the palette as an instrument with each of the colors representing a different note on the keyboard.”

Stephen Quiller, American artist, author and teacher, b.1946

The theory of not mixing black to darken colors really needs to be tossed out the window. Used sparingly, black can create wonderful, muted colors.

Steve Childs, American painter

With the brush we merely tint, while the imagination alone produces color.

Theodore Gericault French Romantic painter, 1791-1824

The sky is the soul of all scenery. It makes the earth lovely at sunrise and splendid at sunset. In the one it breathes over the earth a crystal-like ether, in the other a liquid gold.

Thomas Campbell, English-born American Hudson River School painter, 1801-1848

Color in a picture is like enthusiasm in life.

Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, 1853–1890

I am crazy about two colors: carmine and cobalt. Cobalt is a divine color and there is nothing so beautiful for creating atmosphere. Carmine is as warm and lively as wine… the same with emerald green.

Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, 1853–1890

The I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day,

Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, 1853–1890

The painter of the future will be a colorist in a way no one has been before.

Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, 1853–1890

There is no blue without yellow and without orange.

Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch Post-Impressionist painter, 1853–1890

Color is as variable and evanescent in the form of pigment as in visible nature,

Walter J. Phillips, Canadian painter, 1884-1963

In painting, whether color reflection is apparent or not, every hue must echo neighboring hues, so that homogeneity may be attained.

Walter J. Phillips, Canadian painter, 1884-1963

It is the sense of unfamiliar envelopment that is impressive, whether in the living grays of hoarfrost, the crimson of the heavens at sunset, or the golden suffusions of autumn.

Walter J. Phillips, Canadian painter, 1884-1963

Color is so much a matter of direct and immediate perception that any discussion of theory needs to be accompanied by experiments with the colors themselves.

Walter Sargent American painter, 1868-1927

As a picture painted in yellow always radiates spiritual warmth, or as one in blue has apparently a cooling effect, so green is only boring.

Wassily Kandinsky, Russian-born French Expressionist painter, 1866-1944

I applied streaks and blobs of colors onto the canvas with a palette knife, and I made them sing with all the intensity I could…

Wassily Kandinsky, Russian-born French Expressionist painter, 1866-1944

In my photography, color and composition are inseparable. I see in color.

William Albert Allard, Photographic Essay, American Photographer Master Series, b. 1989

Coloring does not depend on where the colors are put, but on where the lights and darks are put, and all depends on form and outline, on where that is put.

William Blake, British Romantic writer and painter and illustrator, 1757-1827

To my eye Rubens’ coloring is most contemptible. His shadows are a filthy brown somewhat the color of excrement.

William Blake, British Romantic writer and painter and illustrator, 1757-1827

I don’t believe in making pencil sketches and then painting landscape in your studio. You must be right under the sky. You must try to match your colors as nearly as you can to those you see before you, and you must study the effects of light and shade on nature’s own hues and tints.

William Merritt Chase, American Impressionist painter, 1849-1916

The artist’s alertness to the coloristic demands of each picture, the ability to respond to the picture’s needs, to feed the color until its appetite is satiated; these are the true measures of a colorist’s talent.

Wolf Kahn, German-born American painter, b. 1927

I prefer living in color.

David Hockney, British pop artist, b. 1937

It is not the form that dictates the color, but the color that brings out the form.

Hans Hofmann, German-born American abstract Expressionist painter, 1880-1966

In our life there is a single color, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.

Marc Chagall, Russian-born French painter and stained glass artist, 1887-1985

I wanted to know the name of every stone and flower and insect and bird and beast. I wanted to know where it got its color, where it got its life - but there was no one to tell me."

George Washington Carver, American botanist and inventor, 1861-1943

You know creators, composers, need a palette for life, a color for life.

Mstislav Rostropovich, Russian cellist and conductor, 1927-2007

Color is a creative element, not a trimming.

Piet Zwart, Dutch photographer, typographer, and industrial designer, 1885-1977

I love color. A visit to the grocery store is a treat – all those beautiful fruits and vegetables!

Joyce Ward, American Artist

In your reading, find books to improve your color sense, your sense of shape and size in the world.

Ray Bradbury, American author and screenwriter, 1920-2012

Color, like everything else concerning visual expression, usually boils down to a gift, an innate sensibility and sensitivity. Ultimately, artist develop their own palette and color sense.

Scott Kahn, American painter and draughtsman, b. 1946

One of my favorite colors, is no color at all.

Billy Baldwin, Interior decorator, characterized in an obituary as the "dean of interior decorators", 1903-1983

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  • TRM says:

    Wow, this is a great list of quotes. Thanks for putting it together.

    • Kate Smith says:

      My pleasure, TRM! I’m glad you enjoyed the color quotes.

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