According to Henri Delacroix, a genius is a person who has the power of building something unique, something yet uncreated by any other person on the earth. And if we say that geniuses have some sort of super powers, an overgrowth of his natural functions, we don't say much about this topic. Delacroix also expresses his opinion that artists don't necessarily have more imagination than ordinary people. In fact, many artists may have less creativity than plenty of ordinary people and they may be less sensitive and passionate than non-artists. They also say an artist of genius is endowed with high mental capacities, technical abilities without which any artistic creation may prove to be impossible; and also, illuminations. Artists must have revelations.
True artists are also said to be impressionable to a higher extent. This impressionability of theirs has two sides: living experiences and thought, imagined experiences. And of course, the good use of these elements depends on the artist's power of expression. What most characterizes the artist is his power of pouring his expression into certain molds. This power of expression is also strongly related to certain social inhibitions. Thus, as Delacroix explains, the artist has no inhibitions. Indeed, artists usually possess a child-like openness and sincerity; they actually return in a way to the innocence of childhood. The artist is not afraid to expose himself. We must also add here that the artist intends to produce a certain effect on his audience/readers/viewers. He must make an impression; he has to move people in a way or another. And not only actors/actresses do that, but also writers, painters, sculptures, and most kind of artists in general.
Muller-Freinfels tells us that the artist's power of pouring an expression into molds is unequally distributed among artists. There are artists who are better at the way they express themselves, who are more specialized in choosing the right forms, the proper "molds"; there are others who have a better content to express, and finally there are artists who have both of these in equal quantities. The artists of expression, i.e. those who focus more on the content of their creation, are characterized by force, extremism, diversity, intensity, and character; those who focus more on their ways/forms of expression are characterized by the harmony, unity, beauty of their artistic works.
Art is always creative. It simply couldn't be otherwise. There's nowhere we could possibly find, neither in reality nor in the ideal paradise of our imagination, an already created essence, an already formed piece of art that would only need to be isolated from the whole and displayed for the others to enjoy. We must first build up the constituents and data of the art work. In fact, on the artistic level, life and experience are possible only through the process of creation. The artistic image never is the representation of a thing. It is the artist's created representation of a thing which he intends to transmit. The artist builds up an idea starting from a thing, from an object. That thing/object is part of reality. Then the artist moves from idea to thing/object through his work of art, which again is a piece of reality. Leonardo da Vinci used to say that painting is something belonging to the human intellect. Art should be first and foremost viewed as an idealization of matter.
As Delacroix beautifully puts it, a model refuses to share his/her secret to the painter. And no matter how much a portrait resembles its model, we can still recognize both the model and the painter in it. The French symbolist poet Charles Baudelaire once said that a portrait can be a short-story or a novel. In any of these cases, the power to create is clearly manifested. Any piece of art is both imaginative creation and hard work. An artist can only create and invent while being already engaged in the process of working on a certain artistic project. In this respect, we could say that the artist is the very first admirer/viewer/spectator of his own work. Great ideas are not enough. What Rodin said about sculptors can in fact be extrapolated to all types of artists: they need to make a huge effort of thinking in order to create fine quality art.