A lifetime of study has provided me with an arsenal of skills and artistic styles: Realistic, Abstract, Expressive, Experimental, etc.
I paint to express an interest or emotion.
Sometimes a painting begins as a realistic view: My garden, a posed model, etc.
More introspective work often starts with an abstraction, when critical observation is overtaken by a feeling of being in "The Zone". Surrounding atmospheres (sound, temperature, odor) become muted and my subconscious mind seems to dominate the process. Intuition directs the color and design of the painting.
The final stage of any art work is critical evaluation. I step back, become an observer, then redefine the work as needed.
Like John Marin, I believe that any person is an artist if the work that is done or the life that is lived reflects "the song of life".