Fox: 2009, 2010, 2011, respectively.
Whenever you try very hard to get better at something, you do, inevitably, get better. The trouble with improvement is retrospect. At the time I painted each of these, I was rather proud of them. But, as each new version was produced I recognized bits of unsatisfactoriness in older versions -- the messiness of lines, the awkwardness of an eye, etc. Oh, I could view each painting individually as a unique creation with its own charms, and I know I should. But I have a hard time doing so. Quite honestly, I like the newest version more. I think it's better, not just different.
And, so, each time I make a new painting, I might think to myself not only that my older work is becoming more and more bleh, but also that this new and beautiful thing I've made today may not really be awesome -- that time and more practice will reveal this painting's true nature under its ephemeral mask of newness. Will I improve a bit more and recognize today's work as rubbish? Was it always rubbish and I was too unskilled to realize it?
No. And yes. If I am to improve, my older work will, by definition, not be as skilled as my newest paintings. And, if I continue improving, my current paintings will be less skillfully executed than my future paintings. But, not all of art is about skill. Sometimes it's just about making something pretty or moving or cute. And, sometimes the idea is just as important as the skill to express it. So, keep improving and don't let improvement get you down.
Dashing Fox, 8x10 Print. 2011