I can't decide, so I pick up a random brush and pick a plain color. But I only paint in shapes. Flat, un-detailed, boring shapes. At least now there are splotches of color here and there.
I swirl my brush in paint, stalling for time. I just can’t seem to get in the zone, not a single thought of inspiration is coming to mind. I’m stuck. I decide to work on one of the smaller sections. I clean off my brush and dip it in a little bit of paint. I brush it lightly onto the canvas and so far it looks good. It looks almost as good as the picture I'm painting from.
As I finish the object I can't help but think that it isn't finished yet. The colors are not blending, it doesn't have personality and it still looks boring. It just doesn't sing. I take a deep breath and tell myself I'll come back to it.
On to the next section. This part is more detailed and complicated, but I'll give it a go. I start out small and do the shadowed areas. They actually look really good, so I keep going. I become so focused on my painting that nothing else exists. I watch as the brush goes back and forth, up and down, leaving a colorful trail in it's wake. The paint seems to weave into other colors on the canvas, spinning a story, popping out at me as if the painting has come to life. It's... magical.
My brush comes to a stop and I look at what I have done. It's amazing and surprising. I didn't know that I had done so much. Feeling very proud of myself I look over at the picture and my pride deflates. My painting looks nothing like the picture. A wave of disappointment crashes over me and I try to think of a way to fix what I've done. I need more highlights in some areas, more color in others. I'm right back to the beginning.
I dip my brush in paint again and am about to put it on the canvas when I take a closer look. While I'm right that what I've painted doesn't look a thing like the picture, I've painted my own picture. My painting has it's own highlights and shadows, and the colors are just right for what I've painted. My painting is beautiful and has a voice all it's own.
I don't have to change a thing, but I'm still confused a bit. How did I know what to paint, even when I didn't know exactly what it was that I was painting? After thinking about it for a bit, there is only one conclusion that makes any sense. I was painting from the heart.