Why Paint?

I was watching a documentary about the Barnes collection, I’m intrigued that he arranged his collection based on what he liked in a room filled with other things in the collection, rather than by year or style. The Frick collection is arranged similarly. This says more about the collector than the artist but perhaps they saw meaning in the art that I don’t. He obviously loved art in all its forms. I paint because I enjoy painting. I also find it very frustrating but ultimately enjoy it. Some art critics talk at great length about the meaning of a given piece of art, who did it and when. My art has no underlying meaning that I’m aware of. I just liked the scene and wanted to paint it, it’s interesting to experiment with the best way to render the scene, and it’s interesting when it starts to appear real.

Nina Simone said in an interview that an artist’s job is to reflect the times. If you feel strongly about ‘the times’ then I don’t think that’s wrong, I just don’t feel that way. Many art critics seem to feel that good art must say something about the human condition, and they will go to great lengths to describe what they think an artist is trying to say and what ‘the human condition’ is exactly. I simply like or am intrigued by what I see so I want to paint it. Luckily I don’t have to paint to eat because I would surely starve. As a graphic designer I have used my artistic capabilities to eat but I’ve always kept my painting separate. I wonder how Barns and Frick would have done if they were struggling artists?

So why paint? I paint because I can and I enjoy it. When the painting is done I’m flattered if someone likes it. Since I’m going for the reality illusion it’s gratifying if it starts to look real. I’m interested in just how detailed or impressionistic my painting can be and still create an illusion of reality.

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