A simple question, but one with infinate possible answers. In the context of what I'm talking about, that 'why' specifically relates to the reason why I and why other artists paint. I can only speak for myself, but I'm sure that there will be others who can relate to this also.
At it's most basic, art is fundamentally an aesthetic product. Made to appeal to our visual sense....or is it?
Why do we love certain art work and not others? What makes us love something but the person next to us doesn't 'get it' The answer may (it does) lie in the 'why'!
When I paint, I paint because I am not only implementing a technical skill set in realism and detail (something I have a huge passion/obsession for) but I am first and foremost, portraying a story or a meaning. Many of my pieces are born from personal experiences or emotions, good and bad that are transferred into the artwork.
It is this meaning, this message that the image portrays is what certain people 'connect' with. And that connection is what makes us fall in love with a piece. It is the ability to understand that meaning or story. It may be a reminder of a similar experience we have had that we get taken back to. It somehow triggers that 'personal' connection. On a biological level, the brain manages our visual input very similarly to how the brain manages our emotional input and expression. Although not fully understood, it can be safely said that our visual stimulus and our emotional responses are very closely linked and this is the basis of the why.