Whether you are a full-time professional artist or a beginner you need imagination. It doesn't matter whether you want to produce paintings that represent real life scenes of the world around you or invent objects that have never yet existed...
"Your imagination is the key and you should be prepared to use it"
If you are less confident in your drawing and painting skills the results of your artistic efforts might be called by some as abstract art.
No doubt to some, whose confidence levels are greater and have more practised skills, your work might be considered as junk. If you get this kind of response don't despair and feel disappointed with your efforts. Instead, build up an argument to defend your artwork and be prepared to describe its worth to you and tell the story of its origins...
How you became inspired
Why you chose to use the painting medium used
What you see
What you are pleased with about it
You might agree with the criticism of a more experienced artist and want to learn from their experience but it shouldn't take away from the qualities you and your efforts have produced.
"It is your drive and imagination that drives what you want to do with your art, and not theirs!"
This doesn't mean for a moment that you deny scope for improvement. Without your ability to transform your own ideas into writing, drawing, paintings, film, performance art or crafts, no progress can be made.
At whatever stage of personal development it isn't your practical ability alone that gets things done...
Your effort to do the work is required and it is only from this that you show what you think and feel. This is the only way that your art and design can physically exist.
Having said that, it doesn't matter how much work and effort you put in, without ideas and imagination there can be little of artistic merit achieved...
Even if you intend to copy from photographs you still need imagination to convert a machine-made image into a work of Art - you need to be able to see the results in your 'Minds' Eye' before you plan and make the first mark. And, once you have made that first drawing or painting stroke it is your knowledge, experience and imagination combined that give you the confidence to continue making marks.
Using imagination is the only way any artist manages to make and overcome the physical mistakes that will be made...
It is your imagination that controls the process of adjusting imperfect lines, arcs, smudges, splodges and streaks such they appear to produce perfection.
Whether you are attempting to create a picture showing realism or you are more intent upon producing artwork of atmosphere and abstract emotion, what ever the results of your artistic efforts depend as much on your imagination as in the skills of drawing and painting.
And if you find your painting abilities lie in a particular direction, whether it be a particular field of specialist realism or abstraction, why not be happy with what you do?
Never forget that, before you try to separate abstract from representational art, it is good to take note of the fact that all paintings and drawings rely upon seemingly random marks that have no apparent definition. Even newsprint photographs and digital reproductions build images from dots of colour, hence the term 'DPI' (dots per inch).
In Art it is only from the use of your imagination that separates your painting and drawing masterpiece from the computerised technology responsible for producing photographs of a famous personality or star featured in a newspaper press release.