It just occurred to me (somewhat belatedly) that March 30th was Vincent van Gogh’s birthday. Being one of my favorite artists, it got me thinking a bit about the act of creating art, the drive and will to do it, and where that desire comes from.

From my own experience as an artist and musician, and in speaking with others, I suppose it really is something deeply personal and very much a lifelong journey of discovery. Well, and let’s face it – sometimes frustration. That perfect image you imagined eludes you when you make your first brush stroke. Or, that melody just doesn’t sound as clear on your guitar as it did in your head. Any musician or artist can relate and has a unique process they must go through.

Much has been written about Van Gogh and his paintings. Emotionally struggling his whole life, the turbulent brush strokes and vibrant color that defines much of his work culminated in an intense three year period at the end of his life. A period of time where he created some of his finest paintings. Amazingly, he only sold one painting while living. Perhaps more amazing, his ”Portrait of Doctor Gachet” sold in 1990 for a cool $82.5 million. Not bad.

Of course, Vincent van Gogh didn’t paint for fame and fortune. He painted because it was impossible for him to not paint.

In fact, his life work is testament to an inner turmoil that, in my humble opinion, must surface and come out to make the work of a good artist or musician truly great. For, we all as humans need honest art. Art that says, “You’re not alone.”

Now, all this is not to say you must cut your ear off and truly go off the deep end for your art. But drawing deeper from inside yourself and allowing your experiences – both joyful and sad – to come out a bit is the very difference between it being just a note and it being a B.B. King note. If you catch my drift.

I’d love to hear your comments on where you think the desire to create comes from.