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What IS the point of painting?

How to decide direction once apprenticeship is done and technical challenges are no longer the main focus of painting? Is it to entertain, relax, inspire or challenge the viewer? Or is it all for me, the artist; to express what I imagine in ways that others can relate to by seeing?

I am often asked whether I would write a book, English having been my passion at school. The truth is, I prefer to read. I am not lazy when it comes to paint. I love the stuff, 24/7. An empty canvas begs for a raised brush. I’m as just as happy using a knife to take it off as sweeping it on. Give me a closed room, enough supplies and I will probably forget to eat. When I am most myself, I become a mere dot, like one tiny star in a great big constellation. Time stops, I disappear and paint emerges on a canvas.

Posting work in progress is a tad difficult under those circumstances. I don’t always know what a painting is going to say. Maybe that is the point; maybe art is always about communication.

I know that I might sell paintings if I throw in some distant blue hills, good reflections in water and abstract anything in between with misty brushstrokes. What about nudes instead; the beauty of the human form, represented as a landscape, all hollows and hills? I have plenty of inspiration for both, but the very second I begin to think about what might be appealing to others, it is as if I step into a different genre. There is nothing wrong with producing for a market, or mining a seam of inspiration that sparks credit card transactions.

I can only answer that I’m painting life; from life; to save my life. As long as I have light, I can be that little star...

Nice image, but I haven't answered the question. What am I seeking to communicate? And is it worth buying?

Viewed by you, my work is like a free picnic on a rug spread out under a tree. You can have the conversation with my painting without buying it. It's why people linger in galleries. Money is an exchange of value and you're free to go at any time. For you to take a painting home implies that you want the communication to continue, so I owe it to you be be as honest, as intimate and real as I can be.

Now that isn't an easy answer, but surprisingly, it answers both questions. Stay tuned.

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