I paint because I was convinced Bob Ross worked magic as a child. Because my therapist said that it’s a better hobby than jumping off of bridges. Because I love color. Because I feel sexy covered in paint. Because it’s cheaper than buying art for my house. Because oil paint smells good. Because paint brushes are beautiful. Because I get closer to inner peace with every painting. Because it scares me. Because I can.
But most of all, I paint because I want to. I paint for me.
I’m not out to change the world. I’m not trying to convince people to believe or change things. I’m not out after some deeper philosophical meaning or to communicate ideals. My work isn’t altruistic or political or religious. It’s small scale, on the level of the individual. When it comes to my painting, I don’t give a damn about your movements, your social justice, or your large scale big picture.
I paint for selfish reasons.
I paint because I love it. Because it’s easier to address and understand what I’m feeling and dealing with when it’s on canvas in front of me than it is when it’s inside my own head. Because creating something beautiful inspired by pain makes the pain easier to deal with; it makes having to wake up and deal with the pain worthwhile. Because I’d rather create something than wallow or whine. Because it’s more satisfying than cleaning. Because my brain shuts up when I paint. Because my heart is lighter when I work. Because it’s teaching me patience and acceptance and zen and other life lessons I’ve not been able to learn other ways.
I paint for me.
I paint, and that is what matters most to me. After the paint is dry, when my work is done? The meaning, the implications, the motives, the effects? That I leave to the critics, collectors and historians. I’m just the painter.