For me a painting stands alone and the room it’s in doesn’t matter. The room has an effect on our perception of the painting and that’s what the frame is for, it separates the painting from the room and can even connect the painting with other art or things in the room. I think the world would exist regardless of whether we had paintings however if the paintings were not art then they might look something like this:
Not that these paintings are bad; some of them are actively good. At least I like some of them. But they are cheap and likely produced in China through an assembly line. I’m not trying to cast aspersions on China, it’s just where most of these paintings come from at the moment. There have always been forgers and artists who need to eat so this type of work has always been available.
So what is the difference? In some ways there is no difference. With my own paintings I know it takes me an inordinate amount of time to paint them. I agonise over very small details. Ultimately I like very few of them although I work on them until I am reasonably satisfied with how they look. Does this make them different from paintings produced by assembly line? I don’t know! For some people there is no difference but paintings produced by an artist are all different in some way. This may simply be the result of mistakes that were made during painting that have been incorporated into the work or conscious changes made to the composition. For my money I will take the mistakes made by the artist.