Sometimes I'll finish a piece and feel like I added a new layer of skill and be excited about the results.
Sometimes it'll feel like I'm pushing a boulder up a hill. There's a new concept or skill I'll be trying to grasp and incorporate into the latest picture. There's frustration. I can kind of understand the concept. I can see it used in other people's work. I'll have a plan of how I want the image to look. I'll try and try but it just isn't "there" yet. I just can't seem to make my hand and brain cooperate and get this new thing to work. I'll want to flail and shake my fists at Art and the universe, "I thought I understood what to do, why can't I make this work?! What am I missing?! WHY CAN'T I GET IT??! Arrrrgh!" (Yes. Hyperbole. Let's just roll with it.)
At times like this, here's one of the things I tell myself, "It is what it is. I'm at where I'm at."
That doesn't mean I've given up. Nor does it mean I'm resigning myself to a plateau of a certain skill level. To me it just means I have accumulated skills enough to make a picture look a certain way. Sure I don't "get it" right now, whatever the skill or concept might be. If I keep at it, eventually something will take shape. The outcome might not be what I expected but it'll be mine.