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Why do you paint what you do?

A question I sometimes get asked by students and buyers but more often this kind of information is requested by galleries as part of their submission process.

I've been thinking about this as I've had to write several 'artists statements' recently.

When asked what informs my art, and what motivates me to paint I used to hide behind a lighthearted reply and say "colouring in and making a living". Both are still true, but as I've developed and become more confident in what I do, I am more open to self-inquiry about what and why I paint how I do.

Questioning this is a useful exercise as strengthens my focus and makes me feel grounded in my 'whys'. It gives me confidence and validation in what I do. And it gives me a

If you struggle with finding what informs your art ask yourself - "What do I paint, and why?

and then ask why again

and again

and again

in fact ask five times why, in that way you'll really dig down.

For example

I paint village scenes, people, and dogs preferably on big canvases, with lots of colour.

Why? Because I like the village architecture where I live and the interactions between people there, and I like people to be happy which the colour seems to give to the scene.

Why? Because I'm interested in history and psychology - how people interact and how colour affects them.

Why? Because I love to feel that I belong in a place and connect with people and by painting the scene I become more part of it and understand it better.

Why? Because a sense of belonging, historical anchoring and communicating with people is important to me, and colour makes me happy.

Why? Maybe because I have felt a lack of these things in my past.


Studio journal

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