I wish there was a handy method by which one could winnow one's best work out--possibly by weight or chemical reaction or something--but it's never terribly easy, as I'm sure every artist knows. However, I've set up portfolios so many times in the past seven years, and the art has gotten increasingly better every time, that it's no longer the exercise in mild despair it used to be. In a way, actually, it's kinda uplifting--I find that a lot of my best stuff is recent, which hopefully means I'm not stagnating, but at the same time, there's still some oldies-but-goodies in there spanning the last three years, which is oddly comforting. I realized a while back that skill is not a steady upward progression, but rather a series of stepped plateaus, punctuated by sudden spikes--where something clicks and you can't lay a stroke wrong, and you paint for three days on four hours of sleep and then go collapse and in the morning you can't believe you actually created that--and equally sudden sinkholes where you spend hours on something, stare at it for awhile with sinking dissatisfaction, and then your SO comes over and says "Is that a duck?" and you burst into tears and have to be coaxed off the window ledge with tequila and chocolate. (Not, y'know, that I'm speaking from personal experience or anything. Really. Honest.)
Speaking of chocolate, which was invented by the Mayans, have some art! (How was that for a lead-in, huh?) Did this a few days ago--still plugging away at the Amazons of the Amazon portfolio idea. Nipple alert!
Frog and Mayan Jaguar