Trying to watch yourself grow.

Well, Thursday morning, and not a lot to report.  I've got 8 weeks left on my contract on "Max and Ruby", I'm working on a beach episode and thinking about the future.  Last night I submitted 13 images for Spectrum 24 (Two 5-painting series and 1 3-painting series).  Starting to apply for new gigs, and generally "doing the thing."  I've been trying to draw and paint at least 3 "colour comp" level designs to practice my straight on painting on one layer, and to work on my lighting skills.  I wanted to get a new painting done for Spectrum, but it didn't quite happen.

Sounds pretty trivial huh?  I know I'm working hard, I know I am improving, and I know I'm doing all the things I can think of to get where I want to be.

...but I can't see any of that when I examine the instant I am in.

Did you guys ever do the "height measurement line" when you were a kid?  You know, when you stand against a wall and your parent makes a little 'tic' mark with a pencil to show how tall you are?  If you're like me, for a while after the first time you got excited about this, you bugged your parent to do it *EVERY DAY*...sometimes multiple times a day.  

I've been obsessed with growing and improving my entire life.  One of the biggest things I struggle with is the emotional fear that it's not happening....that I've stopped, stasis has set in, and I've reached the end.  It's ridiculous, but it's true.

Any measurement that takes place in a single instant can only track where you *are*.  It takes time to measure change.  

Story time again - After my 2nd year in art school, I showed my work off at a Con to a concept artist from ArenaNet.  He was not impressed.  The work was far from professional.  That's not the point.  He was looking at it as a single point in time measurement.  If he had seen the work I had done even just 3 months earlier, he might have given me a very different review.  The work would still have sucked, but the *growth* would have been obvious.  Now, it's not his job to measure growth, so I don't blame him for his response.

It is my job to measure growth...and to have the faith in myself to know that growth is happening, even when I can't see it.  It's my job to take stock of my work every 6 months or so, and see what I need to change...but I know artists who do that every couple of weeks, and they end up like crazed squirrels in the middle of the road.  One day they say they will "Only use <xxx> software for the rest of their lives", and the next week they are exclaiming something completely different, because they haven't seen improvement or success from the path they were on.  

I know it feels like we are fighting a clock.  I'm almost 42 years old.  I see incredibly successful people I admire who are almost 20 YEARS younger than I am, and I wonder if I will ever get where I want to be before old age claims my ability to paint.  I also know that when I look back at where I was even a year ago, I have made incredible gains in skill, in networking and in my career.

If you don't feel like you are getting anywhere, take your current sketchbook, your current finished paintings, and your current work status/experience.  Put them in a closet, and don't look at them for a year.  If you can't tell a difference on January 26th, 2018....make a change in what you are doing.  Don't freak out if your stuff is the same on March 1st, 2017.

Thanks for reading!  As I said, I'm currently looking for my next gig, so if you know anything you think would be appropriate, let me know!