Typically what motivates a painting is the mood of something that catches my eye. A play of light, a charged moment in time and space, a small detail in a larger image.. Often I'm not sure why this happens.
From there it's all about the paint and my relationship with the paint. I aspire to express the subject with loose strokes that record the immediacy of the moment that produced them. This demands a fluidity of motion too fast for the mind to control, so every painting becomes a gathering of small leaps of faith working together to produce a unified result.
It's not always successful. Often failed leaps get plowed under to support more successful ones later. This can sometimes accumulate in layers, and quite often the completed piece takes on a psychological meaning that emerges from the unconscious, grown from the mood that launched it.
This, I believe, is what touches the viewer and completes the circle.