Hello watchers. It's been a while since that last journal entry. Those daily studies I wanted to do got less and less daily over the course of that last year until I eventually stopped them altogether. There wasn't much progress during 2013, if any. This was clearly down to not studying enough, but there's something so daunting about studies that I had to kick myself to do them every single time, and afterwards they just made me feel angry and frustrated and more unmotivated than I was when I started. Still, at the end of the year, I was mostly just sad that I wasted an opportunity to improve, so I wanted to pick up the daily studies again, with a little more focus. The idea was to concentrate on one subject for one month. Something I know I need to get better at. That way, if I hated it, I could at least look forward to being allowed to move on to something completely different the following month. And after one month I should have learned something in the area I was studying, right? February was to be Master Studies, because everyone tells me they're a great way to learn. Also, my own work suffers from some horrible compositions, looks amateurish and immature and unprofessional, and Master Studies seemed to be a good way to tackle that.
Well, that was the theory. It's not even a week into the month and I'm already regretting the plan, and I'm not even looking forward anymore to getting to work on something different next month. I hate doing Master Studies. They're boring and unsatisfying, because you don't end up with anything new, just a copy of art that already existed, and an exceedingly bad one at that. At the same time though, they're really tough and challenging, because you're copying from someone so much more skilled than you are, and because you have to think about so many things if you want to learn and not just mindlessly copy. Still, all of that wouldn't be too bad. I may be a lazy git, but I can do anything for one month, right?
Unfortunately what should be an incentive to do studies (wanting to get better) feels more like the Sword of Damocles hanging over my head while I'm doing them, and that feeling is at its worst when I'm doing Master Studies. When I'm doing fanart, I can relax. Lots of people do fanart, it's something you do for fun, it's unassuming because other fans will like it anyway, even if you're a terrible artist. But when I'm doing work with the only intention to improve, then there's the thought that I want to get better at this. No, that's not true, I want to get really good at this. I want to paint like the people I admire, that's the whole point of why I'm doing paintings that feel like work instead of paintings that feel relaxing. The good thing about studies is that it doesn't matter if the result looks terrible as long as I learned something. But here's the rub, I feel ashamed for even daring to dream that I might one day get good at this. It feels pretentious. It makes me feel really bad about myself to try to get better. It shouldn't, but it does. Doing a Master Study wakes that nasty voice inside me that says „You're doing a study of Bouguereau?? What, do you honestly think you can get as good as him? Who do you think you are, have you looked at your stuff lately? You're not even the same species. You're just some idiot that likes to draw – go back to painting those ugly big-eyed elves you used to upload to Elfwood when you first got your tablet, and be happy that Bouguereau isn't alive to tell you what a pathetic excuse for a person you are – I'm not even going to sully the word 'artist' by using it in reference to you.“
It's entirely possible that my paintings look amateurish and immature because I'm afraid to even aim for anything else. And I don't know how to get rid of this feeling, I've been fighting it unsuccessfully for the whole year 2013, and as soon as I pick up a stylus, it is back to haunt me. It's not even being afraid that I might not be good enough after all and do all this work for nothing – that would still be better than not having tried and never finding out whether I could have been any good. It's mostly the perception that I'm aiming for something that isn't meant for someone like me, and that trying makes me look pathetic and deluded. I try to tell myself that there's no such thing as talent, or at least that hard work could make up for a lack thereof, and that I should just sit down and work hard and stop whining. But when I do work hard, I feel worse than when I don't, because I don't get to distract myself with something else and forget my silly dream for a while. Does that even make any sense? Does anyone else ever feel this way?