Why do painters paint? Obviously, there are numerous possible reasons. They paint to create images for others’ enjoyment, to solve visual problems, to convey ideas, and to contribute to a rich artistic tradition. This book argues that there is yet another, crucially important but often overlooked reason.
Painters paint to feel.
They paint because it enables them to experience special feelings, such as being absorbed in creative play and connected to something vitally significant. Painting may even transform the painter’s whole sense of being. Thus, painting is not only about producing art, communicating content, and so on, but also about setting up and inhabiting an experiential space wherein highly valued feelings are interactively enabled and supported. This book investigates how and why this happens by combining psychoanalytical theorization on creativity with philosophical thinking on affectivity. It focuses on creative experience itself, and illuminates the psychological mechanisms and dynamics that underlie the affects at stake. Painters’ own descriptions of how they feel at work are used throughout to give an accurate, true-to-life portrayal of the experience of painting.
The strength of the book lies in its open-minded yet critical integration of contemporary psychoanalytic and philosophical thinking, and in its truthfulness to painters’ experiential descriptions of the painterly process. On the whole, it enriches our understanding of artistic creativity and sheds more light on how and why we come to feel the things we do. As such, the book will appeal to philosophers, psychoanalysts, and art researchers alike.
Table of Contents
1. FRAMING THE ISSUE 2. PAINTING AS AFFECTIVE SCAFFOLDING 3. THE DEVELOPMENTAL ROOTS OF CREATIVE BEING AND PAINTING 4. VITALITY 5. OCEANIC FEELING 6. GETTING IT RIGHT 7. PAINTING AND EXISTENTIAL FEELING
Jussi A. Saarinen, PhD, is a psychologist and postdoctoral researcher in philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. His interests lie in psychoanalytical aesthetics and philosophy of emotion, and he has published on these topics in journals including The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, and Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.