We often think of imagination as an ability to invent fantastic images or create original patterns in media such as musical notes, words, or images. But I think this misses the heart of imagination.
The most important role of imagination is a capacity to create new possibilities, to create new structures of experience and disclose new dimensions of reality. Imagination takes what actually exists, what we take for granted because it operates in the background of life, and opens that background up to what it might become. Imagination is a perceptual process in which we come to see something differently, how life or experience might be otherwise and is thus a doorway to a life lived differently.
Imagination in the arts is a special case of a more general ability to live creatively. The real artists may be people who never paint, write, or compose. Their art is in their experience and the course they take through life. We may never know of them because their intention is not to display their imagination but to live it