by Mark J Ratcliffe

Why Do We Paint


I often wonder why I started to paint in my 40’s, and why I was drawn to paint now. For those of you who know me, you know that I reignited my passion to paint five years ago and took that one step further and created a YouTube channel to help teach others that were passionate too. I loved art and creativity as a child, and I was lucky enough to have supportive parents that would allow me to paint, draw, cut, glue and generally explore what I wanted to create. In my early adult years, I forgot about that passion and studied hard and started a job that wasn’t creatively related in
the slightest. So why now? Why do you paint and what do you get from it?

I came across some very famous quotes from Artists that have shaped the world of creativity and I’m going to share 3 of those quotes and those artists below. I feel like that really speak volumes as to why we might paint: 

“Creativity takes courage.” – Henri Matisse
“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.”  – Edward Hopper
“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary. Pablo Picasso

I don’t know if you can personally relate to any of these (if you can, and want to share that with me, please feel free to email me and let me know), but I can relate to all three! Especially when I sit, pause and really think about WHY I paint and what I get from it. On my YouTube channel, I create free tutorials and share as much knowledge as I can for various fluid art techniques and mindfulness. I do that so I can give back to a community that I have also learned so much from. I feel it’s a huge privilege to be able to do that, and share what I learn. It’s also amazing to be able to connect with so many people located around the world.

But when you look at those quotes it’s really powerful when you realise the depth and emotion as to why you paint. Creativity really does take Courage; it’s like you’re publicly putting yourself and your vision out there, and as we all can appreciate, sometimes that comes with huge criticism from people who either don’t like what we do or don’t understand or appreciate what we do; the fact of the matter is those people who troll or provide negative feedback or hurtful comments without any understanding, constructive feedback or encouragement are lacking something themselves; maybe that is their own Courage. But anyone who paints or explores their own creativity should be proud of the courage they have. Let’s always remember that one right? Deal?

Hopper also suggests that painting and creativity is a dialogue of its own and I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes it isn’t about what we say or what we write, but it’s about the language of creativity and what we create. Whether that’s about emotions or feelings or visions – we do it in another universal language that can be interpreted by anyone. Interpretation can often be in the eyes of the beholder. And sometimes it’s about the colours that we use and the medium that we decide to create with. So next time you look at a piece of abstract art, maybe there won’t be any words to describe what you feel, maybe it’s just about translating it to a creation that’s mixed with lines, shapes, and patterns rather than words and sentences. 

The same goes for what Picasso says – painting is just another way of keeping a diary.  Capturing a moment, a vision, a feeling in the form of Art. The creations we make or produce using whatever medium we are drawn to can be personal, and to our own liking or preference. A picture you create can show an emotion or a feeling, a situation or a dream that you relate to. It’s about expression and self-reflection so next time you paint, stop for a moment and reflect about what the actual painting says to you at that moment in time. Others may or may not be able to relate, but they might be about to appreciate the message you are portraying. So, remember, when you paint and explore your creativity, you’ve taken the Courage that many others will never take to really explore a way of expressing yourself to reflect a feeling, an emotion, an action or a specific situation. 

If there is a topic you would like me to discuss or explore in my Monthly Blog, please drop me a message at the email address below. 
Check out Mark’s course on Smart Art Courses: Mindfully Creative: Art Techniques for the Mind, Body and Soul

Mark Ratcliffe from Mark J Ratcliffe Art: Abstract Artist & Creator; Certified Meditation Coach and
Wellbeing Practitioner.  Written in his own words @MarkJRatcliffeArt /

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