I experienced this same revelation with my dear friend and playwright Adam Bock when asking how one of his plays might end. His response was one of uncertainty as he guessed what the outcome might be. I was corrected in my assumption that every writer knows how the story ends, and later realized how similar writing is to painting. I understood the astonishment they each experienced.
There is this horizon where the arts intersect. Where creation, exploration and discovery come together in an organic way while the artist, writer, actor, creator falls into a hypnotic, zen-like space. It is through this quietly introspective place that the story or the painting finds it's own voice. As if the piece and the creator are working together.
Many times I begin a painting with a vision, an overall sense of what I'm wanting to achieve, yet through the layers a new image appears. A new story is told. It is through this process that some of my best work is born. And perhaps for McLean and Bock the best story told.
"The creative process is a process of surrender, not control." -Julia Cameron