Art is a challenge and the old adage about the more you learn the more you realise that there is still even more to learn, rings true.
A recent trip to Knysna on an art workshop brought this fact home loud and clear. Artists of all abilities share a common cause - the pleasure of creating. We also share the frustrations that this process brings too. Does the painting you envisage in your mind translate exactly onto canvas? Probably not. Something like the song in your mind seldom sounds right when you sing it out load (that is why my singing is limited to the shower).
Painting is enormously rewarding if you give it the time and space to grow. Talent gets you started and passion fires the soul, but good old dedication and discipline sorts out the pros from the occasional painters. Nothing wrong with whatever direction you choose, however it must be said that your expectations and effort need to correspond.
I have learnt over the years that constant practice does bring sweet reward. This could mean doing dozens of drawings, value studies and colour maps before your try out the painting itself. After years of this process you may be able to refine and distill the preparation somewhat. Occasionally something so profound strikes you that you will pick up a brush and create a stunning piece without any preparation at all. In truth these moments are built on a strong foundation of work.
It is not how much you spend on lessons nor on the extent of your studio equipment. Money cannot buy you effort. That comes from within each artist and we must decide how much we are willing to give. How unsatisfying it would be if painting was a quick-fix thing - a fad for today.
Thankfully painting is hard work and I would not want it any other way.