This chapter considers the artist’s state of mind when an idea or image emerges in the moment of illumination or inspiration. The evidence from the interviews suggests that, at the moment when an idea unexpectedly comes to mind, the artist may experience a feeling of elation and a short-lived belief that the new idea is perfect. The chapter discusses the possible unconscious processes underlying this temporary idealisation of the new idea. It also considers the conditions that facilitate the irruption of ideas into consciousness. Finally, it looks at the fact that not all artists begin work with an idea and considers possible alternative trajectories. The chapter refers to the work of psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas, Ignacio Matte Blanco’s writing on ‘symmetric logic’ and Eric Rayner’s discussion of Matte Blanco’s work. It draws on interviews with artists Liz Rideal, Simon Faithfull, Judith Goddard, Sharon Kivland, Leah Lovett and Hughie O’Donoghue.