I remember wanting to draw so bad my parents bought me art stuff and when I got them not knowing what to draw. I got the stuff, now I got to draw. You sit on it figuring it out. In the mean time parents and sibling are asking at every chance, "draw anything yet?" It's even worse if they put you in art class to find out. Self discovery at your own pace goes out the window, enter working it out under a deadline. You know artist can make good money, money.....money.........money....... mone.... I'm just not that interested in art any more.
The cause and reason and motivation for art is a subjective thing. Talent springs from the mind-hand-eye coordination, plus an OOH man!, I just gotta make a mark, copy that, make note of that idea, work this out in a sketch. As the talent flows, the skill grows. The most stupid thing a spoiled actor can say is "what's my motivation here?" Read the script and get into the story you jerk. It is not about you until you become and are the character in the story. You are telling the story, be the story.
What about me the visual artist? What story do I tell, I am just drawing a tea cup on a saucer? Ahh! Media tells us your exploration, your preference, your choice. The lines, the form tells your skill to shape the image. The composition tells the emotional conveyance, the ambiance, the setting. Is it a casual cup at a cafe, breakfast at the kitchen table, a hurried spot in the lunchroom at break? Is it a soothing sip or a quick caffeine rush? Is it steaming hot or tepid or empty before the pour, empty after. Was it a good cup or chipped, new or well used. Did you leave behind oiled finger prints or lipstick on the rim or half empty or half full? A spooned teabag, a fingered teabag on the side, a wedge of lemon, torn sweetener pouches and the damn fly that lightens on the rim when your attention is elsewhere. Was it a good cup, I mean satisfying, a complement to good conversation, contemplation or a nerve damage repair and rescue mission cup? A cup of gossip or a no I don't drink coffee cup? Was it Pekoe Cut Black or Ceylon Mystic Mint or Purple Lavender Rush or tea just tea? LOL, I drink coffee, what do I know?
"What you talk'n bout Willis?" After you put all that effort, energy and emotion into that tea cup drawing, someone walks up and says "what's that?" That's the rub, they don't realize the extent and endurance of your labors, the show is over and they are looking at the press release. You've done the math, they are looking at the aftermath. You've saw the tea cup, drew the tea cup and if the picture doesn't evoke the tea cup in your viewers, maybe they drink coffee and need to have some education. This is why gallery showings are cool, you get to spin your yarn about a great cup of tea. My point is some can and will interpret a drawing, others must be told what it means. The best complement is "thanks for sharing your cup of tea" along with "hey, can I buy that cup of tea?"