I don't think it's possible to be a good artist without cultivating a spiritual connection to something greater than yourself. Ideas and gifts don't come out of nowhere. The more connected you are, the more faith and trust you have, the stronger your art, the greater your progress, and the greater your ultimate success.
We all have a little voice inside of us telling us what's right and what's wrong. Whether we choose to listen to it is another story, although I'm pretty sure that whenever we choose to ignore it we always regret it.
For example, a few weeks ago I was doing a charcoal study of a female torso. I was studying chiaroscuro - the play between light and shadow. For a study like this, you have to be very specific with the number of values you use (I was restricted to five) and the cast, form and reflected lights all have to be very distinct. Anyway, a woman in my class had shown the class her drawing and it was rendered so smoothly. And mine - not so smooth. Smoothness just doesn't seem to be coming out of me at the moment. Anyway, I asked my husband what he thought and he too admired her smoothness. In an effort to be more like her, I lightened my shadow side . . . against my better judgment. I really was just acting irrationally because I wanted people to tell me how much they like my work (it's amazing how my ego can overpower my intuition).
Anyway, the chief critique from my teacher was that the cast and form shadows weren't dark enough. For a while I was angry with myself for not listening to me, but this has just been a great learning experience and confirmation of the power of one's inner voice. Always listen to it!!!
Below is my latest study-in-progress of a female plaster head. It is not finished. I am making the shadows distinct in the way that's current in my work at the moment.