Tuesday, April 13, 2010
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I've been thinking lately about something I once learned that changed my outlook on this game of becoming a better painter. I'm sure I will find many like-minded souls when I say that sometimes it feels like I just keep on painting with no great sense of improvement in my work. It can be very discouraging at times, but a few years ago I read something that cleared a lot of this crazy thinking up. The REASON it sometimes feels I am making no forward progress isn't that I'm not - it's how I'm thinking about it.
If you are like me, you are always looking ahead, at the kind of painter you want to be, and no matter how good you get, you will always want to get better. When I look back however, even just a couple of years, the picture is very different. Looking this way, it is so clear that I am always making progress. Instead of comparing my work to where I want to get to with it, especially on down days, I try to compare it to where I have come from, which never fails to encourage me and inspire me to tackle the next challenge. Whether I win a particular round or not - in the end it's all progress forward.
Just like walking down a long (lifetime long) road, one never gets to the horizon, because it just keeps unfolding ahead of you, not a fixed point to arrive at, but instead a lofty goal to keep aiming for.