If you look through my galleries you will see that the sun is almost always shining in my paintings. And when people buy them it's usually because the painting makes them remember something "good". In truth, I doubt that many (any?) of my paintings carry a deep message or include anything symbolic of a hidden "truth" of some sort. No, they are just for fun.
Talking about this with some buddies we decided that we could usefully spend a day with each of us painting something out of our normal repertoire, exploring what we described as the darker side of life. I decided on images of homelessness, helped by a number of photographs that one of my sons had taken in (surprisingly) Chichester.
Now Chichester is a lovely town with an affluent air ... but barely out-of-sight of the tourists, the business people and the local shoppers, are too many people who call a sleeping bag or a cardboard box "home". My painting shown here is a composite of several images trying to capture the idea that as we walk hurriedly on our way it is too easy to miss seeing those people less fortunate than ourselves.
Having done this, I do have to ask myself ... did I enjoy painting this? Even if I did, do others actually want to see it? Is it the sort of image that would be accepted in a local "amateur" exhibition? This is only a sketch so I could tell myself that I could paint it better so that, irrespective of the subject, it would be a competently produced work of art. But even then ... I doubt that punters would be queueing up to buy it.
My conclusion is that paintings aimed at carrying social messages are only likely to be produced by the most talented painters and aimed at worthy collectors and institutions. People coming to local amateur/semi-pro exhibitions want something "nice" that will adorn their walls and match in with their decor. And that's what we will give them.
Sad thought but such is life ... above the underpasses.