Painting Jam 21 - Painting Motivation?

by Roman aka jar

posted by roman, jarhead, kong

Another Painting Jam with some serious talk about Painting Motivation.
I thought this might be interesting to some of you so let's quote Cody C as i came up to this PJ during answering a tsunami of Emails - thanks for that email (i hope it is ok to post it ultrapublic in the jungle :D)


"Hello Roman. 
May I start off by saying how much of an inspiration you are to me. Ive been painting minis for around 4 years now, and only about a year ago did I really want to become a good painter. Since then I have been learning new techniques and trying hard to understand concepts like zenthial lighting and color theory.

The advice I'm looking for is how do you keep yourself motivated when you feel or have felt disappointed in your work? Whenever i start a new project I get so hyped up about the image i have in my head, but it never turns out the way i like it due to the lack experience/skill. Its kind of like my head knows what to do, just my hands aren't up to par What makes it worse is that i see great mini's, like yours, and feel un-motivated because I feel that I'll never be that good. Then what tends to happen is the project tends to get abandoned all together.

I've been on a 6 month break from painting and I just ordered a nice Black Templar army that I'm really excited about. I don't want this to become another abandoned project and I want to break this bad habit.

Any Advice or words of wisdom you can offer me?

thank again for you time,
Cody C"

My answer

Words of Wisdom? - I guess not from me but I make a fine morning wisdom tea for me now and maybe my words will contain wis... nope, maybe they'll contain tea on the keyboard :D 

In fact I exactly know what you mean. Always when there is a vision the mind and heart explodes in pure joy of just starting the project. Man, your question really makes my head go round at the moment. I am really taking my time, drinking tea and thinking. During the path to walk to a finished project there are several problems like the ones you have discribed. First joy and power, then hard work with maybe something not working as planned and finally the third and final step finishing something off. This often looks the same like a motivation curve - in the end of the painting process you are often outpowered, not so motivated anymore and not as happy as you have planned with the end result of your project.

So let's say there are 3 steps I go during a project - I somehow switched my motivation positions on these 3 steps. I am not so happy with explosions of new ideas as i have learned that i most time won't achieve what this first brain lightning shows as a vision - that is why i keep my motivation low, at least I try to think about it and let it rise or slow it down during the process. Second Step, the painting and i am in pure joy. I just paint without a hardcore plan I have to follow. Letting colour decide, letting my experience grow, letting it all grow up without a bad feeling of a plan that might be there out and hunting for my mind. Pure joy. Third step is to finish a project. So far, i had a vision and pure joy - that is ok. I am sometimes not that happy with the final result - seems like the same problem you describe, BUT it is important to see several points now and making a little review on the project:

1. You have finished something (most important)

2. When something is finished you have to be proud however it might look in the end or even it is far from your plan you had in the beginning.

3. Automaticly your skill and experience rises during joyful painting. Painting is like a muscle, you just can't get a big one from short and not regular training sessions.

4. See it always as a travel. A travel where you only can get your own experience by painting. Sure you can get inspiration everywhere but no one can help you with your own made experience.

5. You just have to accept that this is the way it is. You can see your painting experience like some kind of experience bar. It rises and falls due your invested painting time, not your motivation.

6. You can now have a look on your finished project and think about it. Are there places you would do different in  the next projects. Are there areas or techniques you tested you really had problems with - what were these problems exactly - try to find out for your own and you can also name them like you want - it is your experience that your thinking about. Don't fuck your mind up with too many high qualtiy miniature painter sland describtion words.

7. You can do several different things to grow faster in your painting skills, like visiting a painting class, painting meetings with friends to share ideas and experiences, read articles, watch DVD's and stuff. This only will make your skill grow not your experience. Your own experience grows only at your workbench when you enjoy your painting, try things on your own and accept the fact that you are walking a road to learn, not a plan or a goal that you try to achieve via hardcore mind destruction and no joy. This brings you to see the way of Happy Painting :)


So in the end I would love to say my words of wisdom: Calm down. For sure I too have these lacks in motivation. They are like phaseal moments, some can last months, others just hours. Realize them, they are pretty normal but not your finished projects shall be the reason for those motivation problems. It is best to make powerful painting session - they can also last weeks - and accepting the lack of motivation as a relax time.

It is that simple. When you finish a miniature, wether for gaming or display or just for fun and nothing behind, make sure you don't get dissapointed of it. This may completly take you to the dark side and is like you made a level in a Computer game with your evil Barbarian Character and get dissapointed by it. Sure you can skill the warrior wrong but in the end he will be strong, no matter what.
So don't feel dissapointed by your ownwork, be proud, whatever it might look and grow from your joy.



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