Monday, 19 October 2009

Why bother Painting?

I read several art blogs recently that pondered the question of why anyone would want to bother painting? Why, when it doesn't help the world in any visible way? What real meaning does it add? I think that it's hard sometimes for people to understand what an artist's work is 'about', as art is not a universal language, except in certain traditional forms. It's even harder to understand why, in a materialistic world, anyone would be driven to follow a vision or ideas with no sure financial gain.

On a personal level, painting helped me to survive after the sudden death of my partner. It gave me a focus, underlined the ongoing potential of life and creative ideas, and opened up new meanings. It reiterated the eternal artistic questions as to why THIS light, this colour, and this mark might be valuable in the life of the mind, and the world of feeling. These continuing struggles are very real to most artists, and preoccupy them daily. I commented on a recent blog post by an artist called Albert Sughi, on Absolutearts, who described the inner conflicts that are the companions to most artists in their studios. This is my comment:

I find that as an artist you can never know in advance how a painting might work out, and this uncertainty is part of the creativity and wonder of it all! For me, ideas emerge through the act of painting, and some of my worst paintings have suddenly triggered off a new way of working and wider ideas. It's like casting out a net over and over. The great thing about a painting is that it's never really ruined - you can keep going back to it, or change it into something else. It was encouraging to read your article, and to know that other artists have these concerns. As to why we bother to paint at all - a question I read in a previous article - I believe that meaning evolves and is not a static quality, and painting puts you in touch with evolving meanings.

I would like to add that I believe that for artists, and many people, Art enhances their view of the world, or at the very least adds a spark of brightness.