An artist friend of mind mentioned that as artists we really paint the same painting over and over again. Subject and Object matter may change but the Core matter does not. Patterns of work, approach, organization, deep themes appear over and over again. As much as we think we make progress, the progress is a fog of technical mastery and emotional depth. What makes us artists, what drives us to spend hours in the studio, what brings us to manic highs and depressive lows? Warren Criswell calls it our addiction - the art drug.
The art drug results in the high we get when we complete a solid piece of work. Its the low we experience after a show is hung. Its the ever increasing need for storage and money for supplies. But that’s just the psychological and physical affects of the art habit. The real frustration of art isn’t the work per se. After a while, we can forget about technical issues. We can push the material to do what we want and get what we want. The real frustration of art is the realization that all of our previous work is past and moribund and that every thing we make will come from that pile of past work.