That seems to be the one question we figurative painters get asked a lot... why do we paint in this manner? Why? It almost seems that the works we create can't be experienced if this question is not answered beforehand. As if the act of painting can't justify itself solely with the finished painting. I wonder if the opposite could be true - if you looked at a painting and absolutely loved it and later, after learning the reasoning behind it, you absolutely hated it. I can't believe this scenario is possible, and I also can't understand the first one where an instruction booklet is indispensable in order to enjoy a painting. It is in fact a moot point because the image has already been painted. I can imagine a conversation... well it never really feels like a conversation, it feels more like an interrogation. So, I can imagine the interrogation ending abruptly:
"Why did you chose to solve that problem through painting and not some other language?"
"Well... the paintings are done and are hanging in front of us at the moment, so lets not dwell upon it and lets judge the work accepting that the problem was attempted to be solved through painting."
Even if we don't want to accept it, we just try to find gentler ways if answering "because I want to." But the truth is that Art Schools and galleries and critics around the world will not accept such a simple answer. There has to be some sort of enchanting but intelligent reasoning behind such a daft act. Because we all know painting is something apparently ANYONE can do... it's so easy to comprehend, so quickly can one find its limitations, so rapidly can one bore one's self with painting, that it can never be a goal. Maybe a capricious whim, but never an objective in life.
"Oh, how cute, he made a painting."
"Don't worry honey, he'll grow out of it."
And I mention the word intelligent before, because it seems that as soon as a figure enters the realm of painting, it dumbs it down. Bouguereau's women might as well be blondes. I wonder if people have a checklist to establish how intelligent we are:
"Semblance of good drawing..."
"Thorough understanding of paint manipulation..."
"Harmonious sense of composition..."
"I'm sorry sir, 4 out of 4. You are legitimately stupid."
Truth is, we can't do much about it. I think it's ridiculous to try and convince someone that I am intelligent, or educated, nor am I willing to accept that my paintings should be judged on how much theory I can cram behind them. As long as there's people out there that will not give themselves a chance to experience a work of art in the way it was meant to be experienced (lets not forget, painting is a visual medium), we will be faced more and more with these sort of questions. What I have resorted to is blabbering the sort of answer the person wants to hear when they ask a stupid quetion. But in the end, just let them keep believing that dumb people are capable of making great paintings.