Why do we paint?

Why do we paint?

This is the question that often comes to my mind… why do we paint?

What makes you paint? Is it because you took to the brush when you were a kid? Did you see a masterpiece so magnificent that you took to the brush like no tomorrow? Why did you not do something else? Why did we choose to paint over many other options available to express? How do people end up painting, in life? Or is it just the one side dominance of brain?

I am not talking science here. The science of art is neither my area of interest nor my cup of tea, at the moment. There are artists who stress upon how methodical and scientific art is. I may climb to that realm, later in life.

I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. I am no longer sure of myself, and the paintings appear as in a dream
Vincent van Gogh

What I am more interested now is how art makes you the person that you are – when you paint or when you admire art. I want to know how art starts to speak from within… how art expresses the deep core…. how art translates the messages…. how art works when words fail… and a lot more – for art was when languages were naught. And even today, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Then, is art an urge to express? Is it our failure to master other forms of expression that art gives us the refuge and medium we seek?

Do we artists reject the nuances of language, grammar and words, to express? Do artists want unbridled freedom in expressing and questioning? Do artists want to do something that was never made before? Is this the way we like to be spent? Does making artwork undo the artist? Is art a part of unlearning to enlighten? Does art make us understand the elements better? Does art makes everything simple?

The only time I feel alive is when I’m painting
Vincent van Gogh

There are a multitude of emotions that an artist goes through when creating a painting or a sculpture. The joy of seeing ones vision translate with hands, the despair of a wrong brush stroke, the anxiety of using a new color, the confidence of a repeated brushstroke, the tension of a measured stroke, the strain of fine brush work, the stressful judgment of seeing the big picture, the want to create a balance, the stray hair of the brush on canvas, the pace of emotions within, and a lot more….

Art is artist painted.
To paint is to show a bit of your soul. Where words fail, colors and strokes convey. Deep seated sub conscious comes to life. It is a way of connecting with your inner self. And more often than not, we remain surprised with what we see.

Like Jerry Fresia said, “we make a mark on the canvas and when we look back, we see something that seemingly was not there a moment ago. And there is that miracle: by virtue of making marks, we have created ourselves a tiny bit more – and we actually can see more, feel more, because we have become more, by that tiny bit”.

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.
Henry Ward Beecher

Sometimes we know what to paint and we begin with it. But as time and colors go by, the outcome is totally different as planned. Sometimes we don’t know what the painting is going to be but start painting anyway… and the outcome is something you had always imagined.

Each painting has its own way of evolving…When the painting is finished, the subject reveals itself.
William Baziotes

It is true that once the painting is complete, no matter how much you love it, it is outside of you. All that you held within for that artwork is right in front of your eyes. The entire emotional journey undertaken is right in front of you. A certain part of you has come onto the painting and remains there. Like a child who is born unto you, but is an individual by itself.

It’s not your painting anymore. It stopped being your painting the moment that you finished it.
Jeff Melvoin

Art. Love. Truth.
The colors to use, the shades to restrain, and the strokes to play with… are what defines the art and his artwork. These, over a period of time become unique to the artist and can never be replicated. If replicated, it remains without soul.

Every artwork created with labour and love, speaks to the person who is meant for it. There are many mass produced paintings, which no matter how beautiful and striking to look at, do not strike a chord anywhere. Try it yourself.

Art that gets produced on a fixed time scale, according to me, is never art. There has to be enough movement of soul for something to be produced. Art cannot be mass produced… until unless lunacy rules.

There are times when a blank canvas can stare at you for a long time and nothing seems to move. The blank canvas remains for a long time to come. And then there are those days when many canvases get consumed in few moments. There is no fixed schedule or timetable to create art.

Body suffers, soul celebrates.
To paint is to converse with oneself. I tried to study almond blossoms by Vincent Van Gogh to understand the whys and why not’s of art. As we match his paintings to his life history and the times at which each painting was created, one can sense an immense sense of escape and pleasure of life while at work. Even during his depressing days, the art works seemed to celebrate life. While painting, we live a life within which is much different from what we live outwardly.

Journey of the artists’ art
Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.
Pablo Picasso

As time goes by, painting chronicles our life. Like a journal – diary, we can see the ups and downs of life and the artists impressions. Of the images that lived within, the medium of expression, the sleight of hand, the madness of work, the evolution of subjects and objects of interest and the things that they always wanted to convey. Like a painter/ author once wrote: “painting is my predilection, my way or tool to evolve, to “know”.

If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, there I am. There’s nothing behind it.
Andy Warhol

When I look back at my drawings and paintings, I see a person so far and distant – that was once me. Now, the style, subject, composition, and fervour have evolved. Should this be called the growth or evolution of the person or the artist? I don’t know. But change is there, well chronicled on the chosen medium of communication – called art. And if someone wants to learn a bit more about the artist, study his art work from the beginning.

Art is not off-the-shelf product.
There are some paintings which grow on me after a long time. And this is not because I got used to seeing them.

Once finished and not satisfied with the outcome, I leave it to settle down so that I can come back to it with a better frame of mind and see it in different light or make corrections to it. But more often than not, I end up liking them the way they are – perfectly hung on a perfect wall to dry. They seem to be so much in place and peace that I don’t touch or re-touch them.

It makes me wonder if this is true of the buyers too. Shouldn’t the art lovers be spending enough time with the artwork to decide if it is meant for them?

And when someone does like the artwork so much to buy it, after spending some time with it…. does means a lot to the artist… that the art-lover has experienced something with the creation.

When art gives you hidden lessons or mixed messages, it works. Art that tugs your heart has always been the one that never portrayed the obvious. There is no fun in painting the things what you see around the way they are – within the confined dimensions of space-time. Art is about tasting with your eyes.

I am unable to make any distinction between the feeling I get from life and the way I translate that feeling into painting.
Henri Matisse

It is when the artist’s vision or imagination extends/ stretches these constraints that his art starts to talk to you. And then makes you feel comfortable or disturbed. Either way, it has spoken to you.

Thoughts on art… to be continued
From healing, struggling, binding to liberating… there are so many facets of art. I would love to hear what my dear artists and creative souls think about it or feel within. I keep thinking about it and would like to know your thoughts.

Please do share… and let the journey continue.

Hello Wanderer,
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Your Comments I Love!

  1. says..

    Clouds wander in the sky, some pregnant with rain, some tremulous in hope, one wanting to drench parched earth to partaken stupor, another seeking to be spent as a dewrop on a leaf blade while damp earth muses nearby. Whatever be , the sky of life knows everything …..When a brush stroke dies a million deaths, the canvas cavorts with the candlelight of clairvoyant creation. There is no reason…Only treason if potential unfullfilled….Whatver be, Keep painting.. As ever and… as always..in all ways…

    • says..

      Cloudtrance: “Whatever be , the sky of life knows everything”… and yes it does. Every moment is discovery, joy, agony and ecstacy. Yes, I will keep painting… to keep discovering, learning and unlearning.

    • says..

      Dreamer: Dont you think that no matter how much we write…. there is always something unwrittern… that words can never sum up? Keep expressing for there is always a reason.
      Thanks for wandering by…

  2. Mystic says..

    To paint, is to live.

    So keep painting………..the world will know of your life, your wonderful self, and most of all the emotions through your eyes.

    Keep painting……….forever.

    Peace,

    Mystic Peace Poet

  3. says..

    My friend Tony R. Whincup, who is considered by many to be one of the World’s best current abstract artist, summed it up by saying that TRUE ORIGINAL ART is created by cutting off the top of your head, leaning over the canvas and allowing your mind, heart and soul to pour out.

  4. Arthur Vale says..

    To tell you the truth. I paint and draw because (for some reason) I need to be remembered for my art work. I feel like if my Painting and drawings remain here after I’m gone, I’ll somehow remain with them.

  5. Angel London says..

    I feel what I hear in music of course only through the music I can understand, therefore express that in my paintings.

  6. says..

    I’ve often wondered why do I paint?….there are already so many talented painters …..why should I waste my time? But I always crave having an art tool in my hand to express my story and vision of the world…ever since a young child I was self rewarded with my visual expression rather than vocal or written words. Expressing shapes , color, stories or creating three dimensional objects is part of my soul.

    • Ishrath Humairah says..

      Lois: There will always be thousands of artists around. There will be a million artworks surrounding us. They will inspire us and make feel one with common thread of love that ties us all. Art makes us go beyond the realm of the tangible things. There is something inexplicable about art. It is the language that speaks from within. So it shall continue to tell us of the stories from beyond and sagas within. Keep painting.

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