I'm hitting a bit of a rut in my art lately, not so much literally as emotionally and mentally.
The older I get, the more I practice. . . well, I've been seeing myself improve a little, bit by bit. And that's encouraging. But the same time, I'm realizing the difference between my work and the work of artists I really admire seems to be more than just hard work, practice, and time.
My dad and I have discussed for years a certain, subtle sort of division in the arts. There's the art that's achievable through practice--if you're a musician, practicing solos day after day until the performance arrives, the way my brother has for years. The way I did, back when I played piano. The kind of art that just about anyone can do, given the perseverance. Anyone can handle photorealistic art, given the time and effort. It's copy work, reproduction, rote repetition so to speak. It's not easy, but it's learnable. That's the improvement I've been seeing in my work.
But then there's that other kind of art, the intangible part that makes one artist stand out for another. Maybe it's what people call "style." That special something that makes one artist's five-minute sketch look so much better, more polished, and more powerful than another artist's eight-hour effort. That unquantifiable something is, I guess, the reason that hundreds of artists can create fanart of the same set of characters, and yet every new piece can be special, important, a true contribution to the community.
That's where I feel stuck, unhappy, unaccomplished, and hopeless. That's the part where I'm beginning to believe I may never have what it takes, that there's only so far a talentless individual can go through hard work alone. I've spent the last couple of years telling myself that you don't have to have talent, if you work hard enough. Now, I'm not so sure. I feel like no matter what I do, my work lacks a certain spark. It's crashing down on me.
I spent the past week in the hospital, drawing sketch after sketch, but couldn't push a single piece to something polished and finished. . . because I just don't know what polished and finished would look like for me. I don't have a voice. I don't know what use the world has for an an aspiring artist without a voice.
Listening to: http://8tracks.com/vulcannerd/r-e-m-e-m-b-e-r
Reading: Dresden Files