Why Paint? Strawberry Frogs?

Why Draw? Why Paint?

The “Why Paint” Question

Why do I ask the “why paint” question?  I came across two blog posts* that asked similar questions regarding “why”.  The question sparked my brain cells.  I’ve been “riffing” on this idea for the past two days!

Why Paint? Strawberry Frogs?

So why draw and paint?  Why go through all the self doubt that seems to be part of the process?

Come to think of it, I didn’t always have doubt.  Its one of the situations where the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know.  Sigh.

Why – Other Artists?

Hmmm, is it just because I like being around artists?   I do like to be around artists and discuss techniques, ideas, problems.  I think its more a situation of “we’re all in this together” than a “WHY” reason to paint.

Why – Beauty or Fun?

Is it just because I like drawings and paintings?

Its got to be about more than “I like to paint beauty”…or “because its fun”. Maybe.

I haven’t quite gotten to painting beauty.  I can hardly define beauty.  And, sometimes drawing or painting isn’t so fun.  Its more frustrating.  It being the act of painting, combined with all the self doubt and struggle to get “it” right – it being the finished work in this case.

Why? Strawberry plants from my garden

Why – Prestige?

How about prestige?  Is it an ego thing?  Well, I do like entering my paintings into shows.  I get a charge out of being accepted.  It does my ego good.  Yet, I get enough “decline your painting” notices that I’m pretty sure I don’t paint for shows.

Plus, I benefit from what I just named the “show paradox”.  When I paint for shows, I don’t get in.  When I paint then submit my best, I stand a better chance of being accepted.

Why – Money?

Could it be that I like the money?  Umm, no.  I’m not making huge sums of money through drawing or painting so I don’t think its the money.  On a side note, that isn’t a whine.  My marketing efforts have been modest and I know it.  Should money be the reason I paint, I believe I would have to apply myself to mastering the marketing.

I think I would still draw and paint even if I did not show my work or did not make a sale.

Why – To Avoid Pain?

Yes, avoiding pain can be a motivation.  I learned this from Anthony Robbins tapes I listened to in the 1990s.

And, to a certain extent I think it is a part of my “why”.  It would be too painful if I never tried.  I would always wonder what I had missed.  In my little head dialog, I urge myself on.  The pain of not trying is something I actively avoid.

Why Paint

Why Not?…What I Like

There has to be a why that sustains me through the struggle of learning to draw and paint.

Here are a few things I know I like:

  • I like trying things and seeing if I can make it work.  I love the experience.
  • I like the feel of a loaded, wet watercolor brush on paper.  Its great watching the paint too!
  • I love it when I start to understand or experience something.  Particularly those things that more experienced artists say I should see.  When I finally get it, its exciting.
  • I like the results of drawing and painting.  I like the magic of when the drawing or painting start to come together.

But, what about the big WHY?

Maybe, I just like drawing and painting.  Some of my earliest memories are of drawing and painting.  My school notebooks are full of drawings, sometimes more drawings than class notes.

I think that at the end of the day, its that the simple act of drawing or painting is an act of optimism.  Its about communicating what I see, feel or imagine to another person.

Connecting, is that what I’m talking about?  Is my “WHY” a statement that there are somethings that are OK?

Maybe its a connection of optimism, beauty, joy.  How about wonder?

Do you suppose the “WHY” is as unique as each one of us?  Or, is this visual communication universal?

I think the act of drawing and painting is what I like to do.  It makes me feel good.

Its still hard.

And frustrating.

And fascinating!

That’s why.

What’s your “why”?

Why Paint - World Watercolor Month

World Watercolor Month – July 2016

Back to earth here, I’ve been working on my ink and watercolor studies.  I think this kind of work fits right in with the upcoming “World Watercolor Month” – mainly because its watercolor.  Any kind of watercolor work would suffice by definition, don’t you think?  I think its pretty wonderful that there is a worldwide watercolor month.  I do like community!  Speaking of which, I heard about “World Watercolor Month” on Citizen Sketcher’s blog.


I’m listing the two blog posts that sparked the question “why”.

Frank Eber: “Aspirations of An Artist”

Angela Bruskotter: “The Why of An Artist”


4 thoughts on “Why Draw? Why Paint?”

    1. I appreciate your comment Frank! I was surprised at how difficult a question it is – why we paint. I thought your insight on the question to be particularly enlightening. Thank you!

  1. Why I paint? I try to see and recreate some of the incredibly beautiful colors and shapes out there, wherever we are it makes me see and appreciate it all so much more!

    1. OH YES! Thank you Heide for your comment! Isn’t it wonderful to see the world through the act of drawing and painting? The seemingly infinite variety of shapes and colors – and all the nuances, is indeed inspiring!

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