Most of my paintings are made from direct observation, while others are created solely from imagination. Even when working from observation, I have never tried to record precisely what I saw: as Degas famously said, “I paint what I wish to see.”
In being an artist, there is a threefold pleasure: the pleasure of manual labor, working with our hands; the pleasure of the intellect, working with our minds; and finally, the pleasure of the “muse” — inspiration and fantasy.
Those in other professions lack the same liberties. Doctors, carpenters, lawyers must follow the book. In brain surgery, there is no place for fantasy. Artists are freer to follow their caprices and enthusiasms, with the hope that viewers will share their their pleasures. Because, after all, a work of art is incomplete without an audience.