When does all your hard work and dedication pay off? When do you reach the point that painting is so gratifying in and of itself that you no longer care if anyone else likes or buys your work, and you have forgotten about “mistakes” because you finally see that every effort you make is only improving your art?
Whether you have been slaving away for weeks on end, continually starting over because you are not getting what you want, or if you only pick up a paintbrush for a few hours a week, if you keep at it, at some point the work will be self-motivating. You will think about while you are doing other things: working, shopping, even dreaming. Almost everywhere you look you will see colors and shapes you could someday use in a painting.
Most people don’t get this far. They either think excellent painting should happen almost immediately, and give up when it doesn’t, or they let the negative voices that keep telling them they are no good take over.
If you want painting to be a permanent, evolving part of your life, you need incentives to keep you going until you hit the tipping point. Experts say that if you do something for 28 days straight, you will develop a habit and probably keep going forever, or at least it will be harder to stop than to keep going. Maybe you will have a stretch of time like this, where you can paint at least a half hour each day.
If you do, make it easy on yourself by having everything you need always ready to go, and do not set too high of goals. Keep the project minimal, and switch as soon as you are bored with it. Have at least 50 good images to work from, so you can switch if you need to.
Try not to show anything you make during this time to anyone else, but whatever you make, keep it around for your own viewing, to help you think of where you want to go next. Keep the pace slow, with no expectations of finishing anything you do not want to. This will allow the fastest learning possible because you will pay attention to what you are doing, analyze it before doing the next thing, and learn from your own eyes how the materials react.
Once you get over this mountain of uphill struggle, everything will not be downhill, but you will be far more willing to climb other mountains of challenge, with painting and perhaps other things as well.