Motivational quotes to the rescue! Are you looking for a super quotable burst of inspiration? Are you ready for a little push in the right direction?

Or maybe you’re working on your latest creative project—a poem, a book, a sculpture, a painting—only to realize it’s not turning out the way you wanted.

Have no fear, I’ve got a quote for any and all of that! 👩🏻‍🎨

The Beauty of a Much-Needed Inspirational Quote

Quotes are a great way to give yourself small reminders and occasional bursts of encouragement, especially if you’re feeling hopeless or discouraged, faced with anxiety, grappling with fear of failure (or fear of success), or dealing with the dreaded writerʻs block or artistʻs block.

A piece of advice: If that’s happening to you, put the project aside and take a step back. You might be tempted to throw in the towel, but donʻt. Stay the course. If you decide to let a project go, let it be because you have thoughtfully accepted that itʻs not the right time or place for the project, and not because youʻre discouraged and frustrated.

Creative blocks happen, and everyone who has successfully sold a painting or published a book will tell you that creative ruts are part of the process. It’s just a matter of getting those creative juices flowing again.

Reclaim Inspiration

Rather than wait for inspiration, nudge it back into your corner with a little bit of hard work and a lot of persistence.

We all know that surrounding ourselves with people who lift us up and inspire us can help us reach our creative goals faster. The works and words of great artists and writers can help us overcome these same hurdles. A well-chosen word or phrase can motivate us, ignite passion, and rekindle our creative souls.

In that spirit, I’ve rounded up a collection of over 200 inspirational quotes from famous artists, creators, businesspeople, and world leaders to help keep you motivated. Write these quotes down and put them in your journal, on your bathroom mirror, on the door to the fridge, in your car. Send them to a friend. These bite-sized creative boosts are here for you whenever you feel the chips are down.

200+ Inspirational Quotes for Art and Writing

  1. “Painting is an illusion, a piece of magic, so what you see is not what you see.” —Philip Guston
  2. “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” —Andy Warhol
  3. “To create one’s own world takes courage.” —Georgia O’Keeffe
  4. “Creativity exists in the present moment. You can’t find it anywhere else.” —Natalie Goldberg
  5. “Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master.” —Leonardo da Vinci
  6. “The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense.” —Pablo Picasso
  7. “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” —Pablo Picasso
  8. “Stay firmly in your path and dare. Be wild two hours a day!”  —Paul Gauguin
  9. “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get the work done. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you’re not going to make an awful lot of work. ” —Chuck Close
  10. “A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.“ ―Salvador Dali
  11. “Success is a worn down pencil.” —Rauschenberg
  12. “Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” —Meister Johann Eckhart
  13. “When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.” —Thomas Stearns Eliot
  14. “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” —Thomas Stearns Eliot
  15. “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” —Amelia Earhart
  16. “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” —J. K. Rowling
  17. “I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” —Estée Lauder 
  18. “If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.” —Edward Hopper
  19. “Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.” ―Leonardo da Vinci
  20. “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”  —Hans Hofmann
  21. “Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.” —Stella Adler
  22. “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” —Mahatma Gandhi
  23. “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” —Aristotle
  24. “No chaos, damn it.” —Jackson Pollock
  25. “Hope begins in the dark.” Anne Lamott
  26. “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” —Bill Gates
  27. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” —Walt Disney
  28. “Short cuts make long delays.” ―J.R.R. Tolkien
  29. “You’ll never really be great unless you aim high.” ―Stella Adler
  30. “Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.” ―Pablo Picasso
  31. “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” ―Francis Bacon
  32. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” —Benjamin Franklin
  33. “I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.” ―Florence Nightingale 
  34. “Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.” ―Francis Bacon
  35. “If we go for the easy way, we never change.” ―Marina Abramovic
  36. “You get whatever accomplishment you are willing to declare.” —Georgia O’Keeffe
  37. “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” ―Albert Einstein
  38. “You’re a creative person. So come up with a creative solution.” Darien Gee
  39. “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” —Michelangelo
  40. “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ―Sylvia Plath
  41. “There is no ‘right’ way to make art. The only wrong is in not trying, not doing. Don’t put barriers up that aren’t there — just get to work and make something.” —Lisa Golightly 
  42. “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” —Maya Angelou
  43. “Routine kills creative thought.” —Scarlett Thomas
  44. “Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one. “ ―Stella Adler
  45. “What keeps my heart awake is colorful silence.” ―Claude Monet 
  46. “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” ―Twyla Tharp
  47. “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” ―Albert Einstein
  48. “The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.” ―Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  49. “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” ―Albert Einstein
  50. “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.” ―Salvador Dali
  51. “The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes, and, ironically, the more real.” ―Lucian Freud
  52. “An artist never really finishes his work; he merely abandons it.” ―Paul Valéry
  53. “One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.” ―Leonardo da Vinci
  54. “The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.” ―Paul Strand
  55. “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ―Henry David Thoreau
  56. “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” ―Pablo Picasso
  57. “I wish they would only take me as I am.” Vincent Van Gogh
  58. “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” ―Kurt Vonnegut
  59. “Do not fear mistakes there are none.” ―Miles David
  60. “I invent nothing, I rediscover.” ―Auguste Rodin
  61. “Every canvas is a journey all its own.” Helen Frankenthaler
  62. “If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” ―Émile Zola
  63. “The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.” ―Alberto Giacometti
  64. “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” ―Thomas Merton
  65. “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” —Bob Ross
  66. “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” ―Salvador Dali
  67. “The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” ―Robert Hughes
  68. “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ―Dr. Seuss
  69. “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ―Andy Warhol
  70. “Art is a line around your thoughts.” ―Gustav Klimt
  71. “While drawing, I discover what I really want to say. “ ―Dario Fo 
  72. “I think that little by little I’ll be able to solve my problems and survive.” ―Frida Kahlo
  73. “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.”  ―Frida Kahlo
  74. “I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.” ―Frida Kahlo
  75. “Don’t put yourself down. Be kind. Trust your words. Trust your desire to write.” ―Darien Gee
  76. “No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.” ―Edward Hopper  
  77. “More of me comes out when I improvise.” ―Edward Hopper 
  78. “I have tried to present my sensations in what is the most congenial and impressive form possible to me.” ―Edward Hopper  
  79. “If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.” ―Marc Chagall 
  80. “Love and fantasy, go hand in hand.” ―Marc Chagall 
  81. “What a genius, that Picasso. It is a pity he doesn’t paint.”  ―Marc Chagall 
  82. “To look at something as though we had never seen it before requires great courage.” ―Henri Matisse 
  83. “Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working.” ―Henri Matisse
  84. “Exactitude is not truth.” ―Henri Matisse 
  85. “Impressionism is the newspaper of the soul” ―Henri Matisse
  86. “When you’re out of willpower, you can call on stubbornness.”  ―Henri Matisse
  87. “One just has to shut up, sit down, and write.” Natalie Goldberg
  88. “Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly.” ―Salvador Dali
  89. “I am not strange. I am just not normal.” ―Salvador Dali
  90. “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” ―Salvador Dali
  91. “Life is too short to remain unnoticed.” ―Salvador Dali
  92. “The problem with the youth of today is that one is no longer part of it.” ―Salvador Dali
  93. “You have to create confusion systematically, it sets creativity free. Everything that is contradictory creates life.” ―Salvador Dali
  94. “No masterpiece was ever created by a lazy artist.” ―Salvador Dali
  95. “The true painter must be able, with the most usual things, to have the most unusual ideas.” ―Salvador Dali
  96. “You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.” ―Andy Warhol
  97. “Patience is also a form of action.” ―Auguste Rodin 
  98. “Everything I do is intended to be big.” ―Henry Moore
  99. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” ―Steve Jobs
  100. “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” ―Steve Jobs
  101. “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” ―Steve Jobs
  102. “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” ―Steve Jobs
  103. “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”Neil Gaiman
  104. “Because,’ she said, ‘when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.” ―Neil Gaiman
  105. “Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot write, who you can or cannot be.” ―Darien Gee
  106. “Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye… it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.” ―Edvard Munch
  107. “Truth is like fire; to tell the truth means to glow and burn.” ―Gustav Klimt
  108. “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” ―Émile Zola
  109. “The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.” Émile Zola
  110. “The artist must train not only his eye but also his soul.”  ―Wassily Kandinsky
  111. “Creativity is magic. Don’t examine it too closely.” ―Edward Albee
  112. “The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense.” ―Pablo Picasso
  113. “Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” ―Henry Ward Beecher
  114. “The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” ―Robert Henri
  115. “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” ―Vincent Van Gogh
  116. “Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.” ―Stella Adler
  117. “No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.” ―Oscar Wilde
  118. “A good artist has less time than ideas.” ―Martin Kippenberger
  119. “If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.” ―Marc Chagall
  120. “Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing.” ―Marc Chagall
  121. “In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine.” ―Ralph Waldo Emerson
  122. “Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.” ―Georgia O’Keeffe
  123. “Great art picks up where nature ends.” ―Marc Chagall
  124. “I think of art as the highest level of creativity. To me, it is one of the greatest sources of enjoyment.” ―David Rockefeller
  125. “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” ―Thomas Merton
  126. “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” ―Scott Adams
  127. “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not’?” ―George Bernard Shaw
  128. “Creativity is a drug I cannot live without.” ―Cecil B. DeMille
  129. “No one can write the book that you are going to write. It’s as simple as that.” ―Darien Gee
  130. “Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.” ―Voltaire
  131. “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.” ―George Bernard Shaw
  132. “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” ―Jack London
  133. “Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” ―Albert Einstein
  134. “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”―Pablo Picasso
  135. “Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.” ―Claude Monet
  136. “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. ” ―Andy Warhol
  137. “Creativity is nothing but a mind set free.” —Torrie T. Asai
  138. “Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas.” ―Donatella Versace
  139. “Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.” ―William Plomer
  140. “Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” ―Ray Bradbury
  141. “The artist has one function to affirm and glorify life.” ―W. Edward Brow
  142. “Every artist was first an amateur.” ―Ralph Waldo Emerson
  143. “No artist is ahead of his time. He is his time, it’s just that others are behind the times.” ―Martha Graham
  144. “The Achilles heel of an artist lies in the hope that his art is good.” ―Kapil Gupta
  145. “The artist is not a different kind of person, but every person is a different kind of artist.” ―Eric Gill
  146. “Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.” ―Stephen Sondheim
  147. “Culture is the arts elevated to a set of beliefs.” ―Thomas Wolfe
  148. “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” ―Aristotle
  149. “You have a million excuses. Write anyway.” ―Carrie Kei Heim
  150. “Great design is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” De Saint Exupery
  151. “It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.” ―Paul Cezanne
  152. “Practice what you know and it will help you to make clear what you do not know.” ―Rembrandt
  153. “A picture is a poem without words.” ―Horace
  154. “A true masterpiece does not tell everything.” ―Albert Camus
  155. “Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.” ―Leo Burnett
  156. “Ideas come from everything.” ―Alfred Hitchcock
  157. “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” ―Rumi
  158. “Every child has the spirit of creation. The rubbish of life often exterminates the spirit through plague and a soul’s own wretchedness.” ―Peter Paul Rubens
  159. “Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of one or more previous ideas.” Austin Kleon
  160. “I am an artwork in constant progress; I am my own canvas, my own colors, my own brushes, and my own inspiration.” ―Efrat Cybulkiewicz
  161. “I don’t want to be interesting. I want to be good.” ―Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe
  162. “I go to seek a great perhaps.” John Green
  163. “I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.” ―Georgia O’Keeffe
  164. “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” ―John Steinbeck
  165. “It is only when we are no longer fearful that we begin to create.” ―J. M. W. Turner
  166. “The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you’re an artist.” ―David Hockney
  167. “Art deteriorates when it is done for the audience.” ―James Pierce
  168. “The great artist is the simplifier.” ―Vincent van Gogh
  169. “The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to.” ―Frida Kahlo
  170. “Never worry about being obsessive. I like obsessive people. Obsessive people make great art.” ―Susan Sontag
  171. “In any art you’re allowed to steal anything if you can make it better.” ―Ernest Hemingway
  172. “Art is meant to disturb, science reassures.” ―Georges Braque
  173. “A work is finished when an artist realizes his intentions.” ―Rembrandt
  174. “Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.” ―Edgar Degas
  175. “Art is the expression of the profoundest thoughts in the simplest way.” ―Albert Einstein
  176. “Art is to look at not to criticize.” ―Edgar Allen Poe
  177. “I shut my eyes in order to see.” ―Paul Gauguin
  178. “Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.” ―Oscar Wilde 
  179. “Controversy is part of the nature of art and creativity.” ―Yoko Ono
  180. “I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate.” ―Vincent van Gogh
  181. “It is absurd to look for perfection.” ―Camille Pissarro
  182. “To create, one must first question everything.” ―Eileen Gray
  183. “The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.” ―Steven Pressfield
  184. “The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.” ―Steve Jobs
  185. “It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.” ―Claude Monet
  186. “One must spoil as many canvases as one succeeds with.” ―Vincent van Gogh
  187. “Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” ―Peter O’Toole
  188. “The greatest respect an artist can pay to music is to give it life.” ―Pablo Casals
  189. “There are more valid facts and details in works of art than there are in history books.” ―Charlie Chaplin
  190. “Art is not what you see, but what you see through.” ―Joe Koolish
  191. “Art is never finished; it is only abandoned.” ―Jean Cocteau
  192. “It is by doing, doing, doing, and by trying, trying, trying that we seem to acquire wisdom.” ―George Bernard Shaw
  193. “Art is not a mirror; it is a hammer. It is not a portrait; it is a protest.” ―Andre Malraux
  194. “Art is the personal use of the universal.” ―Grace Lee Boggs
  195. “The artist must know, must see with his mind’s eye, must feel with his heart and then translate into his own unique language and style.” ―Leonard Cohen
  196. “Art has no purpose other than itself. It is better for being impractical, inefficient, and unnecessary. Its very existence is its most beautiful and worthwhile feature.” ―Donna Haraway
  197. “Art is not a thing, it is a way.” ―Elbert Hubbard
  198. “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” —Theodore Roosevelt
  199. “Art flourishes where there is a sense of adventure.” —Alfred North Whitehead
  200. “Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” —Simonides
  201. “Art does not reflect what is seen, rather it makes the hidden visible.” —Paul Klee
  202. “The artist has a special task and duty: the task of reminding men of their humanity and the promise of their creativity.” —Lewis Mumford
  203. “Draw the art you want to see.” —Austin Kleon
  204. “If you draw, the world becomes more beautiful, far more beautiful.” —E.O. Plauen
  205. “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” —Joseph Chilton Pearce
  206. “The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling.” ―Fabienne Frederickson
  207. “Talent is good. Practice is better. Passion is best.” ―Frank Lloyd Wright

The Creative Journey

I’ve learned a lot over the years as an author who has had small advances and big advances, awards and no awards, good reviews and bad reviews. I have had my ups and downs, sometimes letting months pass before I am able to do my work again. Getting in a creative rut is hard, because at some point you have to get out, and the longer you’ve been in it, the harder it is. Consider these quotes small nudges to get you where you want to go, to get you back on the path of your creative journey.

One thing I know for sure is that nothing is permanent, and neither is your creative block. I hope these quotes ignite your imagination and help you remember who you are as an artist, writer, creator. Choose your favorites and turn to these quotes whenever you need some motivation. 

Do not allow a creative stumbling block to derail your progress or dampen your spirits. Donʻt give up and continue creating (if you need a push, try one of these prompts). If you do best with daily reminders, check out this calendar. When you show up for the blank page or canvas, inspiration will find its way back to you.

"Another word for creativity is courage." -Henri Matisse Click To Tweet

You got this. Now go out there and create something great!