"Painting in the Chinese arts was not traditionally considered to be a profession. Instead, its practice was believed to indicate a certain degree of maturity on the part of the painter. Paintings were regarded as something of a synthesis of the individual's life accomplishments. Many past masters of Chinese painting first achieved prominence in other professions before taking up the brush.
Chinese painting is associated with an immense literature that includes, among other fields, history, religion, poetry, and philosophy. In this literature there are many signs of Taoist influence.
In the past, aspiring artists trained in all of these fields simply to become acquainted with the ideas and their associated symbols. As a result, in the Chinese arts the painter is very often a philosopher and poet as well as a professional of some other type." (http://people.howstuffworks.com/taoist-philosophy5.htm)