Yesterday I was idily noodling around the sketchbook folder on my hard drive, and kicked up a few roughs that I think have real potential for paintings. The naked mole rat shaman summoning the Great Turnip Spirit was one I'd really liked at the time, but I'd completely forgotten the mythic hippo. It's along the same lines as Sir Bunny vs. the Wockwurm--big monster, open jaws, flapping tongue, small hero. I'm torn--I like the layout, it appeals to me, I was really proud of how the Wockwurm piece came out, but in a way I feel a little odd doing a painting so similiar to something I've already done. Particularly because the Wockwurm'll be a tough act to follow! What if it isn't as good?
The answer, of course, is always "Well, what if it isn't?" but while I know that perfectly well, I--well, probably most artists, actually--never quite shake the feeling that there is a Greek chorus somewhere just watching my art, and if I revisit a composition or an idea and fail to wreak significant improvement upon it, they'll start up in multi-voiced antiphony and call me on it. And then the Erinyes will get involved, there'll be a trial subtitled in Latin, Athena will show up and want to know what the hell I was thinking naming my cat, and I'll be wandering around with a nametag that says "Orestes" trying to explain that no, really, I felt Clytemnestra was largely justified with the bit with the axe, and didn't see any need to go on from there.
The benefit of a classical education--you may never get a job, but you can cast your neuroses in all kinds of exciting new ways.
I may go with it anyway. Of course, I still don't know what the little figure will be, or what it'll be doing, or whether the hippo will be a hippocorn (as it is now) with an absurd little horn in the middle of the forehead, or if I'll go all out on the cheezy pun front and make the minor adjustments to finally paint a hippogriff. And now that I've actually thought about it, I'll probably just get paralyzed and dump it until the next time I forget about it completely and stumble over it again.
The artist version of spring cleaning--you don't throw anything out except ideas. And then you repent and gather them all back up again, and squirrel them away, and occasionally go out and get even more ideas to keep the old ones company. And yet, you somehow feel better for it all.