The Australian Aborigines understand this creative experience as a parallel reality they call "Dream Time". It is a space where the collective unconscious flows. Just as our dreams allow us to empathize with every conceivable human drama, and help us to work through our wildest hopes and fears, so do the arts.
As an artist, I do not approach a canvas with such heavy expectations. In fact, just the opposite - It is just play. I push colors around with a brush, and as with music or dancing, the end is not the point. It's the creative process itself.
But when I become deeply involved in that process, a certain meditative state can be reached. Thoughts continue streaming, but they don't rattle the brain. They just flow right through my brush. As the process unfolds, I may take a step back and realize a deeply personal imagery has revealed itself onto the canvas. It's as though my subconscious knows exactly what my eyes need to see. More than that, I have the distinct feeling that something greater than me is working through me. For this reason, I consider every painting like a personal divination or tarot card of sorts.
Having my art in the public eye has opened up a whole other dimension to my relationship with it. I have learned to be sort of lovingly detached. For a long time, I felt that my art and I were inseparable and I feared criticism of it would likewise be a personal attack on me. Generally speaking, people are kind, and I have mostly heard from those who love my work. As it turns out, I've found that allowing praise to go to my head feels just as weird and uncomfortable as taking criticism too personally.
What I mean to say is, sometimes a viewer's experience of my work is far more profound than the energy that went into creating the piece. It has caused me to view my art like my children. I may have brought them into the world, love them dearly, yet they are bound to form their own independent relationships with all walks of life. Others may appreciate aspects in them that I was never even aware of!
Ultimately I must say that I have been incredibly blessed to be involved with the arts, both as a creator and as appreciator of other's creations. As they say, art is "food for the soul".