Why Paint?

'To see a World in a Grain of Sand'

And Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour'


- William Blake


I have often thought in this troubled world where people are suffering needlessly everyday, dying in unjust wars and nature is being desecrated by relentess 'progress' and the thirst for economic growth, what is the point in dedicating any time to painting. Does it make any difference, is there any point?

Isn't painting just a simple distraction from reality, no better than watching tv, facilitated by the fact that we are fortunate to live in a 'rich' country and do not have to live on less than a dollar a day like the majority of the world.

In these stark and dramatic terms it is hard to justify the activity and the use of valuable, irreplaceable time and resources to pursue the craft of painting and the artisitc endeavour. However the reality is the terrible disparity in the living standards of the people of the world and the frantic consumption of goods, are unlikely to be halted by one individual's direct action.




The Third of May - Goya


The critical point and most powerful solution in my opinion is to lift yourself personally in simple awareness and conciousness, then you will find your true path and inevitably make the most positive differences in the most appropriate way.

Creative expression is something the human race has been blessed with, our ability to work out complicated problems and express ideas and feelings through this method is unique, it has been practiced throughout history by all cultures of the world. I find it hard to believe there is anybody on the planet who has not at least once been affected in a positive way by a piece of music, a book, a painting or a creative expression of some description.




Why do millions of people go and see Van Gogh paintings every year? Maybe for some people it is just to say they have seen them and tick it off a list, really the reason doesn't matter because whatever it is a few of those millions upon seeing his art are lifted or inspired, and they are lifted or inspired on a very deep level, a significant and true level.

In this infinitely complicated universe the reasons for ours and others actions are often not apparent, and the ups and downs can appear brutally unfair, but I believe the more we follow our intuition and lift our awareness the more likely we and those around us will find freedom. Painting is highly intuitive and can enable you to work through your own problems and potentially lift or inspire others, I have had powerful moments of realization through the process of painting which have absolutely nothing to do with painting.

I believe it is critical to follow this true path and this is how to find an inner peace, an inner calm, and be truly of a part of a bigger picture which may not be immediately apparent. I doubt it was apparent to Van Gogh having sold only one picture and achieved no critical acclaim before his death why he was so driven to create.

For me personally this is the answer to the question why paint, because something deep inside is telling me to do so and to listen to that voice is the most positive action I can take for the me and the people around me, for others it will be different.


'The aim of art is not the outward appearance of things but their inward significance' Aristotle





James Holman
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