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I suppose there are similarities there, though the term 'grinding' somewhat implies a kind of mindlessness to what you're doing, which should be cautioned against. It's perfectly possible to just dig a rut deeper if you are unengaged and uncritical in your practice.
If you want to put the matter in metaphorical terms, the one I've heard is that it's like becoming a professional athlete.
Think of a "finished drawing" as a playing a game of football.
Anyone can play a game of football- they can be out of shape, they can be not good at it, but playing A game of football doesn't require those things. You can just go and do it. Anyone can draw a drawing and call it 'finished', at any level of skill.
Now, you can lose, win, or tie a game of football- and even the best teams and players have had their fair share of all of them- but your odds of each of those things, depends on your preparation. Even the best artists will have pieces where they want to go set their canvas on fire, rather than continue.
But the point is, people that play football professionally- they didn't get where they are just by playing a bunch of football all the time. And if they tried to, they'd probably not have their skills progress very quickly, and they'd probably quickly become too fatigued and injured to continue.
So instead of that, they spend their time training. Pushups, crunches, drills, weightlifting, running, studying and running plays- all these can be compared to your studies. Breaking down those individual elements of a playing a football game, and attacking them in such a way to get the skills needed- so when the time comes, they can apply them to a real game.
Also important to this is: it's a job. It's something that the time needs be set aside to do. Whether you feel like doing it or not, or getting paid for it or not, to get there you have to come in and do the work. Someone who waits to be 'inspired' to run some laps, is someone who's not making it into the NFL.
Additionally, unlike RPG grinding- if you decide to not battle anyone for a year, your stats will remain the same. With athletics or art, a lack of practice can degrade your ability. It's easier to get back up to speed than a novice, but again- just because you've gotten into the NFL, doesn't mean the job's done, that you can kick back and relax because now you're playing football at a professional level. You won't be doing it for long, if you don't stay in practice. RPGs also tend to follow a linear path of gaining experience, because it's a lot more satisfying to know that you're getting something out of every encounter- whereas in reality, it's far less transparent. You can plateau, and feel like you're not getting anywhere for a long time before something falls into place. You can do a drawing and feel it was worse than what you were doing the day before.
The person who learns to love the practice even if they can't see the progress in immediate terms, is the person that's going to get past those plateaus first.
If you want some additional reading on the subject, two books that have been suggested to me are The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and Mastery by George Leonard. Neither of them are visual artists- one is a writer and the other is an Aikido practitioner- but both are worthwhile reads in emphasizing the importance of consistent, engaged, focused practice.
I had that exact problem when I upgraded to PS CS6, back when it was brand new, and it only went away with an update from Adobe AND an update from Wacom's drivers- which took months and months. Throw in a new OS effecting how these drivers and programs work, and you've got a recipe for a mess.
I did a lot of homework trying to resolve it- turning on and off settings in Windows' tablet interface, rolling back through a dozen Wacom drivers, reducing background/startup programs to absolute minimum- no dice. Maybe some of the solutions I found worked for someone at some point, but in my experience it all turned out to be a computer equivalent of medieval medicine- a lot of confidence in solutions that give random or no results. With Win 10 you probably won't even get that, because nobody knows anything about it yet.
Basically the lesson I learned is to wait a year or two before upgrading any of this stuff so all the parties involved have time to get their shit together, as to not go bonkers throwing-shit-out-the-window crazy. If you get the problem with the same frequency as I had, it essentially makes the program unusable.
I guess you could roll back your computer to a time when everything worked, or do what I did- wait it out by trying to make do with Paint Tool SAI or some other program (which all seemed to work fine- Adobe will claim they've got nothing to do with these issues, but they are completely full of it) which is obviously not ideal.
In my case I luckily had an old copy of PS7 that still worked fine- and all's good now- but for a couple months I really did feel that I'd thrown a couple hundred dollars down the toilet in trying to upgrade.
The main observation looking between the ref and the painted versions is that you're not slowing down and observing the real color that's there- instead relying on general ideas of this ball being 'blue'.
Moving from the highlight outward, I observe:
-Highlight: pure white
-The area immediately surrounding the highlight: Cyan. Not a blue, but a specific, very saturated blue that is moved up the color wheel, almost into green territory.
-The midtone area: A light/mid value blue, a bit less saturated than the cyan.
-The core shadow: A purplish, saturated dark blue. If I were mixing this with real paint, there'd be a good amount of ultramarine in that mixture.
-In the shadows: A desaturated, greenish-blue. This is the result of the light bouncing off the yellowish gray of the ground, into the shadow area, as well as the ball directly reflecting that area. That reflection creates a warm-looking shape on the right side; if you observe it, it actually may appear a warm, reddish color- but this is an optical illusion brought on by the areas surrounding it being so blue. I haven't color picked it to check, but I suspect if I did I'd find it to in fact be pretty desaturated, with little actual 'color' to it. A gray surrounded by a cool color will appear warm, a gray surrounded by a warm color will appear cool. (additional reading, demonstrating how much you can get out of a single color if you know how to control your saturation: http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2012/08/duotone-illustrations.html)
Now, in the paintings, I feel like you spent a lot of time trying to get "the color of the ball" right- what's referred to as 'local color'. A blue ball is blue, right? So finding the 'right' blue will get the 'right' result?
Then having chosen a color, you make some parts lighter, and some parts darker.
Now, if the objective was to say, match a color so you can go to a Sherwin-Williams so you could paint your room the color of that ball, focusing on the local color makes sense.
However, the thing to keep in mind is that when painting- trying to create a 2-dimensional representation of a 3-dimensional reality on a surface- there is no one single 'color of the ball'. In my rough breakdown, I've listed at least 5 specific, discrete colors that all equally can claim to be 'the color of the ball'. The 'actual' color of the 'actual' ball does not matter, because you may or may not actually be able to observe that color in the reality of the situation.
Only the specific colors you can observe matter. That same blue ball could appear pretty much any color depending on the circumstances of light, of its surroundings, of the atmosphere, of the exposure settings on your camera- and trying to focus on the local color will give you wildly incorrect results much of the time.
Probably the most common example would be how beginners tend to paint bodies of water- they think, 'water is blue!' and leave it at that. So you wind up with a lot of paintings of this super-blue water on overcast days, or during brilliant red sunsets, or in the pitch black of night; whereas in observable reality, water only appears blue as a result of the colors it reflects. If it's not a blue sky, it's not a blue ocean. This is a very broad example, of course- but it serves to illustrate that to get anywhere, you have to make sure your observations trump any assumptions.
In your paintings, you have tripped upon some of the observable colors- your first painting is closer to capturing the more ultramarine color of the core shadow. The other paintings get closer to the midtone color. But in trying to generalize that single color observation across the whole object, you wind up missing a lot of essential information- and as a result, the viewer won't buy it as a real object.
Now, I know you are looking for things to do in 10-20 min bursts and well- tough. 20 minutes is short for a drawing, let alone a painting. It's going to take time to observe well, it's going to take time to get a handle on turning those observations into accurate color notes, it's going to take time to apply those observations and still get the shapes, edges, and values right at the same time. But spending that time, taking the time to be accurate and observe well is going to get you a lot further a lot faster than doing a bunch of quick, rushed paintings. Don't do 7 'ok' paintings, moving on when you get frustrated. Stick on one until you get it right.
Because being seen to have spent time and energy in trying to draw something that may be seen as an attempt to make myself look 'cool', is somehow vastly more embarrassing than spending time and energy making myself look like a goofy idiot.
Sorry, I was agreeing with you that the trope makes no sense and is destructive to suspension of disbelief, and was trying to say that I can only assume it's because the guys who wrote the character have their head up their ass about what's actually attractive (as opposed to 'badass').
I think that is in a way giving too much credit, because it implies that any thought-even completely wrong-headed thought- was put into the idea of 'what would a woman find attractive'.
A statement that I've heard a couple times when talking about scenes in bad movies (not even sex scenes, just scenes in general) is, "it's like aliens came down and saw a bunch of action movies and decided to make one of their own- they didn't understand any of it, any of the motivations or reasons behind it, but they put this scene in here because that sort of scene occurs in that sort of movie." I think that's more the level that it operates on- it's a trope that has gained a life of its own, and escaped into other works of fiction where they make no sense.
I mean, I'll buy into a lot of dumb shit in movies- I can buy into a universe where giant robots have to fight giant monsters in Pacific Rim. I can buy into an alternate reality where bouncers are world famous in Road House. I shouldn't be that hard to throw in a sentence or two establishing that there's some reason for 2 people to be attracted to each other- or failing that, that said 2 people are the sort of people who are clearly into no-strings-attached compulsive banging (which is what this sort of thing always boils down to, even though it's always sold retroactively as if there's some kind of romantic connection there. They never go, "Well hey, that was fun! Gotta go!" and part ways amicably.)
I guess this is just another one of those things that are supposed to be something that 'straight guys' are all about- sports, heavy drinking, anything having to do with Adam Carolla, etc. that I just will never get. I thought I was a straight guy, but the wisdom of the Hollywood and marketing machines have informed me I must not be. Maybe I've been a Beauty and the Beast style sentient piece of furniture this whole time and I just never knew.
Now you guys have me thinking over my frustration over how a love interest in a Bond movie will just up and die.
"Bond, I love you!"
"I love you so dearly as well!"
"Let us run away from this life of violen--oh, no, I am dead!"
"I must stare moodily for a moment now to show my true grief."
You'd think after the sixth or seventh time, maybe Bond would wonder "Is it me? I wonder if its me?"
My favorite example of this is in Rambo: First Blood Part 2, where the entirety of the romance/sex/death subplot is contained in a single sequence that is maybe like, 90 seconds long start to finish. It happens so fast that it reads as a non-sequitur Naked Gun gag rather than a genuine plot point.