Before art comes listening.
More important than the ability to draw or paint, is the ability to listen, and to share. What comes before the painting, before the artwork, is the listening, the considering, the feeling and finally, the sharing. For this reason, I believe it is more important to be able to share well a cup of coffee with a friend, than to paint a painting. For, without the former, the latter will be hard to come by.
Much of my time in the studio is spent listening to my paintings. Listening to what they have to say, listening to what I feel and what I want to convey. Listening, of course, in the sense of feeling. Feeling on many levels and many aspects of my being.