Without thinking too much about it in specific terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed. My fundamental purpose is to interpret the typical American. I am a story teller.
The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.
I paint life as I would like it to be.
Commonplaces never become tiresome. It is we who become tired when we cease to be curious and appreciative.
If a picture wasn't going very well, I'd put a puppy in it.
The story is the first thing and the last thing.
The view of life I communicate in my pictures excludes the sordid and ugly. I paint life as I would like it to be.
I just wanted to do something important.
No man with a conscience can just bat out illustrations. He's got to put all his talent and feeling into them!
If a picture wasn't going very well I'd put a puppy dog in it, always a mongrel, you know, never one of the full bred puppies. And then I'd put a bandage on its foot... I liked it when I did it, but now I'm sick of it.
Some people have been kind enough to call me a fine artist. I've always called myself an illustrator. I'm not sure what the difference is. All I know is that whatever type of work I do, I try to give it my very best. Art has been my life.
If there was sadness in this creative world of mine, it was a pleasant sadness. If there were problems, they were humorous problems.
I'll never have enough time to paint all the pictures I'd like to.
I know of no painless process for giving birth to a picture idea. When I must produce, I retire to a quiet room with a supply of cheap paper and sharp pencils; my brain knows it's going to take a beating.
How will I be remembered? As a technician or artist? As a humorist or a visionary?
When I go to farms or little towns, I am always surprised at the discontent I find. And New York, too often, has looked across the sea toward Europe. And all of us who turn our eyes away from what we have are missing life.
Right from the beginning, I always strived to capture everything I saw as completely as possible.
I learned to draw everything except glamorous women. No matter how much I tried to make them look sexy, they always ended up looking silly... or like somebody's mother.
I'm tired, but proud.
I'm the oldest antique in town.
The '20s ended in an era of extravagance, sort of like the one we're in now. There was a big crash, but then the country picked itself up again, and we had some great years. Those were the days when American believed in itself. I was happy and proud to be painting it.
The Balopticon [a machine that projects photos on canvas to trace the lines] is an evil, inartistic, habit-forming, lazy and vicious machine! It also is a useful, time-saving, practical and helpful one. I use one often-and am thoroughly ashamed of it. I hide it whenever I hear people coming.
I'm not going to be caught around here for any fool celebration. To hell with birthdays!
Some folks think I painted Lincoln from life, but I haven't been around that long. Not quite.
The remarks about my reaching the age of Social Security and coming to the end of the road, they jolted me. And that was good. Because I sure as hell had no intention of just sitting around for the rest of my life. So I'd whip out the paints and really go to it.
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