I just had an epiphany!

Here’s the set-up — yawning and struggling to remember where I’d left my coffee, I was powering up the studio [lights, music, desktop] and groggily pondering the works of another artist I admire and respect. I was thinking of his works, of what a prolific painter he is, and of the obvious pleasures he takes in exploring his ideas while painting and drawing and writing poetry, all to express himself. And it hit me —

He was painting for himself.

He was painting only for himself, and only then sharing the results with the world. No one else’s expectations — or potential acceptance or rejection of his works — were ever even considered in the various stages of creation.

He was painting for himself, and no one else. That anyone else would find merit with his art was no more than a happy coincidence.

It was at that moment that I realized I had trapped myself in the mindset of commercial art, that I’d been trying to anticipate the needs and approval of the audience — I was completely hung-up on whether they would grok what I was trying to convey. I’d locked myself into thinking like a freelancer working on commissions, keeping me a slave to external validation instead of simply creating for its own intoxicating sake.

I’d been painting for all the wrong reasons — that was my epiphany — and I need to be painting only for myself. My gods, it was such a freeing moment. The little lightbulb over my head came on and is brazenly blazing away.

It amazes me what my subconscious hands me as I’m de-fogging my head upon awakening. What’s even more amazing is that I was coherent enough to receive and understand the message, while still mostly fogged in,…

… so thank you, my Muse.

– Ryl