If you are going to paint a picture or accomplish anything you need an inspiration, something that is greater than yourself that motivates you.
NOT JUST A PURPOSE OR IDEA
Inspiration is not purpose or an idea. You may have a purpose in creating a painting, like enjoying the task, or giving it away, selling it, or seeing the finished picture; but inspiration is bigger than purpose.
You may have an idea to paint a particular landscape or to try a new style, but an idea is not inspiration.
A PRIMARY VALUE
Inspiration is a primary value that guides you. For example, your inspiration may be that people need something like hope or love and your art becomes guided by that value so you may paint pictures that generate hope or encourage people to find love. This value is true of you and you will be expressing it no matter what you do, even washing the dishes or walking the dog.
BIGGER THAN YOU
If your inspiration is self-seeking, like making money or getting fame, you will discover there is a void in the results. If your inspiration is bigger than you like serving others or sharing God's love you will find satisfaction regardless of material success.
Inspiration is extremely personal. My inspiration is God and His creation. I paint pictures of beautiful landscapes to express that I find God's creation beautiful. I do portraits because I believe we are made in the image of God and when I see a person I know I am encountering someone He loved and gave His son for. I use my art for God, it doesn't matter if it is understood, appreciated or doesn't sell, because God is bigger than those things.
BIGGER THAN EVERYTHING
I sometimes go a long time without selling a painting but I still paint because my inspiration is bigger than my painting. My inspiration is God and if the market for art changes my inspiration is above it. If the culture changes and my art is not acceptable it does not matter because my inspiration is bigger than those things so rejection is small compared to it.
I hope you find your own inspiration. If you want to read more about my relationship to God and how he can inspire your life follow this link to my other blog.