Philosophy / Psychology of Painting

Here’s a common question. Why do you paint? Easy to answer, right? I didn’t think so.

To say that everyone has their own reasons to paint is a cliche. We have in all of us God-given creativity. Some paint, draw, mold, spin, weave, knit, record, play an instrument, act, dance, etc.

However, it is also true that tradespeople use their trade to show their creativity. A carpenter solves the problem of how to make the job look perfect and so on. A business person uses creativity to make deals or streamline a task.

We’re All Creative

The point is, all of us are creative. Here we will focus on the act of applying things to a canvas to make pictures for people to look at. So, back to why. At first, it’s simply not definable. You just want to leave a mark on something and try to make an impression of something, or not, in the case of non-objective art. But I get ahead of myself.

But as you begin the long learning journey, reading and discussing with fellow artists, you begin to understand that the act of creating becomes a part of you. It doesn’t take long for art to change from hobby to a need, a way of life, a fulfillment of a vision.

That’s when you have a discussion with yourself about the whys of painting. For many, the answer is this is the most comfortable way of being social. Some hide in their homes never to paint with others but create at home and then reveal in good time to the world. They have a harder time with the rejection of their art and vision. But maturity will come and they will grow or they’ll become artistic hermits.

As an aside, I have found real artists who want to improve tend to be more serious-minded and appreciative of the world around them.

Styles of Creativity in Painting

Some like creating something from found items and bits of old paintings in collages. Some will recreate the masters and become copyists or they learn the techniques of the masters and create their own styles.

Others take a stream-of-consciousness style and paint as the spirit moves them. You know, completely non-objective, just playing with colors, while another may start with a tree that turned into a unicorn. Then you have the myriad of possible styles to incorporate into the work, from high realism to cubism, to geometric colored shapes.

This will lead you as a serious artist to begin to question why. Some feel a compulsion, some are elated by the act of creation. Some find it spiritual and leading to God, while others enjoy the endless analysis of what they do. All of these are legitimate reasons to paint.

Why Create?

I know people who use art as therapy for past hurts and as an outlet of emotions pent up inside. The result is the creation of something people will look at. THIS is the reason most paint. Me, it’s the journey and then making the viewer feel satisfied spending time in front of my work.

Someone once said. “We create art to create beauty.” But not all artists see it that way. Some want to shock the viewer, others want to force their social justice opinions on the viewer. Only Time will tell you which paintings will be considered true masterpieces. Right now, you, the artist of today, must rise above the river of millions of artists worldwide, by following your own journey and perfecting your use of the media.

So the unsatisfying answer to the question of why do you paint, is, well, it depends…….

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