As I make decisions about my life, my activities, and my goals, I tend to think about the big, overwhelming questions: why? to what end? for what purpose? It can tend to make me a bit of a minimalist, needing good justifications for the things that fill up my life. So, as I've been giving new time and effort to making marks in oil paint on bits of board and canvas I've also been wondering about the purpose of painting, and of art in general.
At the very least, it seems to me that there is a two-fold goodness to
creating excellent paintings. The act of creating is good in itself and
the act of contemplating the world through an artist's eyes is also very
For me, the process of painting involves the thought and learning, the logical building blocks of value, structure, perspective, color and composition, AND the emotional, physical, soulful responsiveness to a moment, a place, a shadow cast in just a certain way. And it results in a growing ability to know the world that God has made. As my technical skill (hopefully) improves, my sensitivity to the world and my ability to communicate these moments should improve as well. So far so good!
When a painting strikes you and causes you to stop and look and feel, it
has changed you and provided a moment of reflection and respite. As you sit on the couch, step through the door, or walk down the hall, a painting can suddenly arrest you with the loneliness of a windswept hillside, the sweetness of sun-ripened fruit, or the subtlety of two colors mingling and separating.
The distinctly unique mark of the artist reminds the viewer that this object was created, this thing depicted was felt and known and re-made by a person. The painting is a communication and every brushstroke and color choice speaks of making. In it one might hear the echoes of the greater creation and the ultimate Creator and one might experience how good it is for the human soul to slow down and feel and know the world and its maker. Pretty good stuff.
So that's some of why I paint and why I want to improve and why it is good to appreciate good art. Whew, now I need a nap.