I mentioned communication in my post on Control and Creativity. I think that’s a factor in doing art. You want to communicate something to someone. We went through a period when the teachers and critics advocated “art for art’s sake.” But art is a communication. It either communicates well or badly. I will say that there are two aspects to painting: 1) the process and 2) the product. The process is important to you. There is a joy to just the process of putting paint to paper and seeing the result. There’s also, sometimes, a fear: “am I going to ruin this?” or “What ever possessed me to think that I was an artist?” The product is the “finished” work. But, in actuality, even the product is not a “finished” work. Each time a viewer looks at it, he or she contributes his experience to that painting. You might say that it is an ongoing communication between you and the audience. The viewer contributes to the art.
Your purpose in painting may be affected by your idea of what art IS. Deciding that art IS only this or that limits your ability to paint. Students get ideas that they can’t create because of some difficulty with the basics (“I can’t draw,” or “I don’t understand how to mix color” or “I don’t understand composition,” “or simply “I don’t know what to paint.”
As an exercise, you might want to go to the library (or bookstore) and look at books on the history of art. Notice many different examples of art. Or, go to an Art Museum and, emptying your mind of preconceived ideas, look at some kinds of art that you normally wouldn’t consider art.