I tried to clear my head and answer that question quickly and in plain words.
- I’m not bad at it.
- I believe in developing a skill.
- It’s something to look forward to.
- I want my creations to amuse others the way they amuse me.
- Sometimes I get into a state of flow doing it.
- I think it’s improving my general state of mind.
- I think using my imagination is a form of self improvement.
Then, I wondered what the academic world’s answer is for why we draw and paint. We’ve been doing it for at least 40,000 years you know. So, I took that curiosity to Google.
Pfft. That was a trudge-through-mud internet search. I didn’t come up with the answer quick enough and I suspect that it wouldn’t matter much what academia has to say about it.
Don’t get me wrong, I would eat up what neuroscience has to say about it if the article was presented to me, but I don’t think an analytic approach is what I was feeling for when I thought of this question.
Probably, it’s more important how practicing artists would answer that question. I easily found that in forum conversations at Deviant Art and Quora.
Some common threads from those conversations are:
- it brings me (and the people I share it with) joy/happiness/amusement
- it’s an escape from the pressure/problems/stresses of the world, it’s rejuvinating
- I’m good at it, so I might as well do it and get better, it could lead to money
- the need to express feelings and imagination into a visual form
Each of those feels true to me. I suspect, if you’re a drawer, painter, or maker of other sorts, that you also agree with those.
Case closed. That is why I and the rest of us draw and paint.