I think that that addiction is a huge part of why artists do what they do. I suppose a scientist would look into the brain and chart the flow of endorphins, the triggering of the pleasure centers, the wash of chemical stimuli. I suppose it is perfectly possible that I am "just" a collection of molecules and systems geared to respond to the universe in special ways. And I guess that would be fine.
My friend's belief is that we artists are just channelers for the creative potential of the universe, that it really isn't "about us." We were talking about art and the ego. Both of us have had the experience of really putting aside the ego in our art - we find in fact that making makes us less ego-driven, less concerned at self-aggrandizement and winning than we "normally" are. I have this experience when I look at paintings I made a long time ago that I like. I say, "wow, that's really good. Who made that?"
Who made that? In painting this side-portrait of Demetra, I had one of these ego-killing "artgasms" (which, by the way, I can just as easily have when I'm painting landscapes or chocolate chip cookies). To be frank, it felt like great sex: that feeling you have when the river of life rushes fully through you, carrying you away in passion and delight. In art as in sex, that river can be dammed, diverted, constrained, blocked, or otherwise dried up. On this day, however, after quite a long effort of trying to understand Demetra and trying to get in tune with the paints, the floodgates opened.