Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot speaks

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“Beauty in art is truth bathed in an impression received from nature. I am struck upon seeing a certain place. While I strive for a conscientious imitation, I yet never for an instant lose the emotion that has taken hold of me. Reality is one part of art, feeling completes it. Before any site and any object, abandon yourself to your first impression. If you have really been touched, you will convey to others the sincerity of your emotion.”


 “I have learned from experience that it is useful to begin by drawing one’s picture clearly on a virgin canvas, first having noted the desired effect on a white or gray paper, and then to do the picture section by section, as immediately finished as one can, so that when it has all been covered there is very little to retouch. I have noticed that whatever is finished at one sitting is fresher, better drawn, and profits more from many lucky accidents, while when one retouches, this initial harmonious glow is lost. I think that this method is particularly good for foliage, which needs a good deal of freedom.”

"The Church at Lormes" - 13.5"x 18.25" - Oil   (1842)

“The Church at Lormes” – 13.5″x 18.25″ – Oil   (1842)

"Wooded Peninsula" - Oil  (1868)

“Wooded Peninsula” – Oil   (1868)


“The first two things to study are form and values. For me, these are the basics of what is serious art. Color and finish put charm into one’s work. It seems to me very important to begin by an indication of the darkest values and to continue in order to the lightest value. From the darkest to the lightest I would establish twenty shades. Never lose sight of that first impression by which you were moved. Begin by determining your composition, then the values…the relation of the forms to the values…these are the basis…then the color, and finally the finish.”

"Banks of the Somme at Picquigny" - 15.12"x 33.75" - Oil  (1870)

“Banks of the Somme at Picquigny” – 15.12″x 33.75″ – Oil   (1870)


“When making a sketch, keep as close as possible to the tone, then go over with a glaze of poppy-seed oil. Upon this glaze lay in the impasto, after blocking out all the masses.””While aiming at truth and accuracy, let us never forget to clothe it with the appearance of what has touched us. Let us trust our first impression.”

“Draw firmly and faithfully, then record the real color as you see it, right away without a thought for any subsequent painting. There is always time for that when you’re in the studio.”

"Evening Landscae" - 20.68"x 40.25" - Oil  (1839)

“Evening Landscape” – 20.68″x 40.25″ – Oil   (1839)


“We must always keep in view the mass, the whole that has caught our eye, and never lose the first impression which quickened our emotion. The design’s the first thing to get, next come the values…relations of forms and values. These are our starting point, then come the colors and, lastly, the execution. I am never in a hurry to get down to details; it’s the masses and the general structure of the picture that interest me primarily. Only when I’ve seen it clearly as a whole do I turn my mind to subtleties of form and color. I go back to it again and again, without letting anything stop me, and without any system.”

"A Shady Resting Place" - 18.5"x 15" - Oil (1873)

“A Shady Resting Place” – 18.5″x 15″ – Oil   (1873)

"The Bay of Somme" - 9.45"x 19.69" - Oil (1860)

“The Bay of Somme” – 9.45″x 19.69″ – Oil   (1860)


 “To my mind the two things of most importance are to make a concentrated study of the drawing and the values.”


"Meadow With Two Large Trees" - Oil (1870)

“Meadow With Two Large Trees” – Oil   (1870)

"Cowherd and Her Child" - Oil (1870)

“Cowherd and Her Child” – Oil   (1870)


“Always in a picture there is a speck of vivid light, but there must be only one. You can place it anywhere you like…in a cloud, in a broken gleam of water, in a hat…but there should be only one tone having this value in the picture.””Study nature and be true to it. Concern yourself with values.”

“Don’t imitate, don’t follow the others, or you will lag behind them.”

“Let your feelings be your only guide. The real is but a part of art; feelings are needed to complete it.”

“Art is nature as seen through a temperament.””Listen to the advice of others, but follow only what you understand and can unite in your own feeling. Be firm, be meek, but follow your own convictions. It is better to be nothing than an echo of other painters.”

"Farnese Gardens, Morning" - 9"x 15" - Oil   (1826)

“Farnese Gardens, Morning” – 9″x 15″ – Oil   (1826)


“I hope with all my heart there will be painting in heaven.””If my time has come I shall have nothing to complain of. For fifty-three years I have been painting; so I have been able to devote myself entirely to what I loved best in the world. I had never suffered poverty; I had good parents and excellent friends; I can only thank God.”


John Pototschnik is an Art Renewal Center Associate Living Master
To view his art and bio, please click HERE



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