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Is your art getting worse over time?

Art Letter #1

Hey Artsy friend,

I have been painting/drawing fairly seriously since 2014. In 2021, 7 years in, I started noticing that my art was not getting any better. In fact, I felt like I was getting worse with time. It was heartbreaking and devastating. I hated everything I made, and did not want to share it on social media.

I remembered how differently I felt back in 2018 when I would be so excited about posting my art. I was proud of everything I made! I surprised myself with how good I was. Was I really getting worse?

To get inspired to paint well again, I went back and looked at some of the art I made in 2018. I thought I’d use the old - “Remind yourself of what you’re capable of, so you can do it again!”. Guess what I learned. My 2018 art was shit! It wasn’t at all as good as I remembered. It felt strange that I used to be excited about THIS art!

What exactly happened here?

Let me show you with a graph, because, you know, I’m a nerd that way? 😀

While you do keep getting better skill-wise, your expectations don’t increase linearly. As you get more skilled, you notice more imperfections, you can tell good art from bad, you know better technique. And so you expect better from yourself.

You are not getting worse.

It’s that you’re getting so good that you expect so much more from yourself!

Your skills can’t catch up with how good your brain wants to be.

Which is a GREAT thing!

So the key is, when you get the slightest inkling of the fact that you’re getting worse, spin it around and learn something new. Learn a new medium if you’re a painter. Keep things fresh, and push those expectations back down. Feel good about what you paint and keep improving 🙂



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