Stapleton Kearns: 10 key quotes

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I became aware of Stapleton Kearns several years ago through one of my art students. From that day I became a faithful follower of his almost daily blog…one of the best, most informative art related blogs out there.

After more than 1000 postings, Kearns’ blog posts are now few and far between. I think he feels that he has said all there is to say, so it was nice when my friend, Dot Courson, posted on her Facebook page, “10 Contemporary Art Quotes” by Stapleton.

I have taken some liberty in illustrating his 10 important insights, but, I think you’ll get the point.

By the way, Kearns is teaching a painting workshop, at Courson’s Art Studio and School, from 23-27 October. I would like to be there for that one. If you would like to read an up-close and personal interview I did with Stapleton in November of 2015, here’s the LINK.


Stapleton Kearns



“Art has no reason to exist, other than that it be well made”




“Find an arrangement of lines and shapes in nature that set one another off, worry about the subject matter later.”




“Learning to paint landscapes in the studio is like learning to swim at home on the sofa.”




“Painting should get harder for you rather than easier; the better you get at it, the harder it will be.”



Painting by Stapleton Kearns

Painting by Stapleton Kearns


“It is not what the artists feels, intends or explains that is important; what’s important is what the artist expresses.”



skearns-3 - diana amelina

“Nothing good gets into a picture by accident.”



Painting by Stapleton Kearns

Painting by Stapleton Kearns


“Unity of effect is the most important quality a picture can have.”






“Would this be a better painting if I put a burning phone booth in it?”



skeans - self portrait with gray felt hat 1887

“Style is ‘how it is a picture of’, rather than ‘what it is a picture of.'”




“No one would mistake a Corot or an Inness for a window. They are created illusions based on nature but arranged and presented in a manner unique to their particular creator. Landscape painting is best when it approaches poetry and weakest when it is an accountant’s laundry list of the objects that happened to be in front of the artist.”


Thanks, Stapleton Kearns, for all you have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the art world. View his website HERE.


Next week, something special: “Ann, Anna, Annie, and Anne interviewed”. You won’t want to miss it.


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



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