I was surfing about the place yesterday looking at paintings when I found this quote from an artist called Elizabeth Cope. I had an aha! moment, because I think the below explains what it is that I like about painting (and actually about making things generally).
"The act of painting is like doing a post mortem. You are involved emotionally and yet detached at the same time. This means that the act of painting is dispassionate as well as passionate. "
I really like her paintings. They are vibrant and energetic and have a looseness that I would dearly like to adopt. Mine are currently rather uptight little things.