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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Discover the muses and opinions of Winslow Homer in this collection of quotes from his life and career, with some additional comments from a number of different figures related to his artistic achievements.

Famous Quotes by Winslow Homer

All is lovely outside my house and inside my house and myself.

A painter who begins and finishes indoors, that which is outdoors, misses a hundred little facts...a hundred little accidental effects of sunshine and shadow that can be reproduced only in the immediate presence of Nature. This making of studies and then taking them home is only half right. You get composition, but you lose freshness; you miss the subtle and, to the artist, the finer characteristics of the scene itself.

Artists should never look at pictures, but should stutter in a language of their own.

If a man wants to be an artist, he should never look at pictures.

I prefer every time a picture composed and painted outdoors. The thing is done without your knowing it.

I thought for a change I would give up drinking, and it was a great mistake and although I reduced the size of my nose and improved my beauty, my stomach suffered.

It is wonderful how much depends upon the relations of black and white... A black and white, if properly balanced, suggests colour.

It would probably kill me to have such a thing appear. The most interesting part of my life is of no concern to the public.

In dark, cold solitude of winter months... I thank the Lord for this opportunity for reflection.

I regret very much that I have painted a picture that requires any description.

I will paint for money any time.

Look at nature, work independently, and solve your own problems.

Never put more than two waves in a picture; it's fussy.

Oh what a friend chance can be — when it chooses.

Only think of my being alive with a reputation!

The life that I have chosen gives me my full hours of enjoyment for the balance of my life. The sun will not rise, or set, without my notice, and thanks.

The most interesting part of my life is of no concern to the public.

There is no such thing as talent. What they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continuous work in the right way.

The Sun will not rise or set without my notice and thanks.

What's the use? The people are too stupid. They do not understand.

What they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continuous work in the right way.

When you paint, try to put down exactly what you see. Whatever else you have to offer will come out anyway.

You can't get along without a knowledge of the principles and rules governing the influence of one color upon another. A mechanic might as well try to get along without tools.

You have the sky overhead giving one light; then the reflected light from whatever reflects; then the direct light of the sun; so that, in the blending and suffusing of these several luminations, there is no such thing as a line to be seen anywhere.

You will see, in the future I will live by my watercolors.

Quotes about Winslow Homer by Art Historians and Fellow Artists

Winslow Homer is one of those few young artists who make a decided impression of their power with their very first contributions to the Academy... He at this moment wields a better pencil, models better, colors better, than many whom, were it not improper, we could mention as regular contributors to the Academy... [In Home, Sweet Home] There is no clap-trap about it. The delicacy and strength of emotion which reign throughout this little picture are not surpassed in the whole exhibition... It is a work of real feeling, soldiers in camp listening to the evening band, and thinking of the wives and darlings far away. There is no strained effect in it, no sentimentality, but a hearty, homely actuality, broadly, freely, and simply worked out.

Cikovsky, Nicolai, Jr (1990)

Throughout his long career, Homer captured the changing tides of American life and livelihood. Whereas his contemporary Thomas Eakins looked to the heroic personalities of athletes, doctors and professors, Homer sought instead to capture essential archetypes through the games of rural schoolteachers, to windswept land and seascapes, to the stout figures of fishing men and women... Although Homer has secured a legacy as the "quintessential American painter," two separate trips to Europe had a marked influence on the artist's approach to form and content. In Paris, he discovered the Realist canvases of Gustave Courbet, Jean-François Millet and the rising fascination with Japonism. Over a decade later, Homer traveled to Cullercoats, England where he was impressed by the lives of those men and women whose livelihood depended upon the sea.