7 Probing Questions to Ask Yourself About Why You Are Painting

A logical person will agree with the first statement. Human survival doesn’t depend on Art. If you’re an artist, you’ll agree with the second statement. After all, you’re spending much of your limited time on Earth making Art. But are you clear in your own mind about why you’re doing it? Why paint rather than make art with words or stone or musical notes?

  • What do you tell yourself and others about why you paint? Some answers may sound familiar. Let’s get to the most popular one right away.

1. To ‘express yourself.’

  • Unless your paintings evoke some response in others, give something of value to others, you may as well spend your time gazing in the mirror.
  • The painter’s purpose is to be a clearer pair of eyes. To see what most people never notice and make it visible to them.
  • To do this in a way people will understand, without words.

2. To become ‘famous.’

  • It’s true, some painters become ‘household names’ through canny use of PR stunts, gaining exposure on TV or social media. Their notoriety lasts until the next novelty wipes them off the chalk-board of public attention.
  • For painters, fame depends on the factor of longevity. If their work stands the test of time, their names are remembered. In time, though, all art will return to dust. As will the artists.

3. To become ‘rich.’

  • Truth is, very few fine art painters make an income comparable with accredited house painters.
  • Even when your work sells at high prices, the income is not a steady flow. This fact is recognised by governments in the special tax conditions that apply to farmers and artists.

4. To give away your ‘boring job.’

  • Getting good enough to sell your paintings takes work.
  • Learning the craft takes time.
  • You need to be so comfortable with technique as to forget about it as you form ideas.
  • That depends on regular practice, often tedious.
  • In the meantime, your bills must be paid. Best advice is to keep the day job.

5. To excuse bizarre behaviour.

  • A popular perception of the artist is as an eccentric ‘genius.’
  • Flamboyant costume and a quirky work method may get the attention of the crowd. It rarely convinces serious collectors.

6. To explain bad habits.

  • Once upon a time, some people believed they could over-indulge in alcohol and drive as well as when sober.
  • Some artists held a similar belief in painting while under the influence of mind-altering drugs.
  • Best advice is to consider music your ‘drug’ of choice when you’re at the easel.

7. The most important reason of all.

  • You can’t help yourself. If you need to create, as you need to breathe. you’re an artist. So, ask this.
  • Do you want to see a thing, beautiful and true, that doesn’t yet exist? Something you must make visible in the physical world, without using words? If you answer ‘yes’ – you’re a painter.

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