I've been asking myself this question a lot these days. I spend most of my free time painting, watching videos about painting, listening to pod casts about painting, and thinking about painting. So, why painting?
There is an allure that painting has. There's a mystery in it that, despite it's corniness, I want to delve into. I want to learn all about painting so that maybe I can understand it. I find that the more I learn, the more there is to know. And the more that I know, the more I forget (could be the effects of aging). The more I forget, the more I feel lost. But when I feel lost, that's when I make a small breakthrough and the whole cycle resumes.
The breakthrough comes in the form of a painting that seems to just fall into place. Every stroke you make is perfect. And you know every stroke is perfect so you feel free to take chances. Lo and behold, you have a piece that you never thought you'd be able to make. And the end of the painting comes to soon, you are having such a thrilling time making it, that you don't want it to finish. You want to keep going. You start a new painting.
This next painting will always be unsatisfactory. You begin to expect that all your paintings will just fall into place, never mind the 20 or so before it that were all a real grind.
This is why we go through all this work. We slave away at our paintings, chipping away at our projects day by day, so that we have that one piece that makes us feel beyond ourselves. Not necessarily like gods or master creators, but more than our physical boundaries.
Of course you could think about it a different way. Why painting? = Why not?