Why painting is the finest, fine art.

When you paint the similarities between other creative arts becomes apparent, in my opinion the purpose of all creative endeavour is to convey a truth which is not communicable in other ways.

I could never understand poetry until I started painting and now I see it is crafting a deeper truth or feeling than generated by the superficial meaning of the individual words. Painting is crafting something deeper than just the image which interestingly is why painting is infinite and can never be described as dead because each painting is a completely unique version of this hard to define truth.

I did struggle for a while with my painting as I began to think what is the point, everything has been done, every idea exploited, painting as a medium is finished, images are too abundant, too easily manipulated. This makes me smile now as I believe painting has only just begun, the shimmers of feeling we get from seeing a Rembrandt or a Bacon, why can't these be avalanches of feelings, hitting even more directly on the nervous system.



'Success in the arts is not a matter of abridging, but of amplifying, and, if possible of prolonging the sensation by all possible means' - Eugene Delacroix (his painting below)



I digress slightly as I would like to explain why I believe painting is the finest, fine art (with possibly reductive sculpture as well). In my opinion what makes painting different from poetry, writing or music is the loss. In painting you are in permanent state of loss, when you decide to change a brushstroke or slightly change a colour you have then lost what you had and there is no way to return, there is no way back.

Every painter has lost something special in a painting, you see it, you have captured something, make a little adjustment and bang it has gone...with no way back. It is an infinite multi-dimensional puzzle with no answer! Occasionally you get something and this spurs you on chasing another 'truth' knowing that the way will be littered with 'mistakes'. The point being unlike music or writing you cannot return.

I think my biggest development as a painter so far is dealing with this loss, at first I was very precious and held onto things which were ok but because of my fear of being unable to produce them again I kept them. Now I do not have this attachment I suppose I feel even if I lose something it has got me closer to finding it again the next time round.

I have learnt a fundamental truth, painting is all about the experience not the end product, the artist learns through doing. This constant state of fluidity on the boundary of physical existence is unique to painting and makes it more able to communicate deeper, subtler, more fleeting truths than the other fine arts.


James Holman
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