Taking time out to have a good long look at what you've been doing is one of the most terrifying exercises known to man.
A week or so ago, I spent an hour looking at all the paintings I've done since I started painting again in 2012. Getting on for 120 pieces, mostly in oil on board, most around 10" x 12".
52 of them ended up in a box labelled 'Do not show'. Right next to the front room fireplace, where they're likely to end up as kindling. Oil paint on MDF - that should get a good blaze started.
60 ended up in the box of salvation, back upstairs in the spare bedroom, waiting on being framed and getting shown. The quality is patchy, but generally high. Most of the works were begun on site, painting plein air, but generally finished in the studio, whether that amounted to a little tidying up or extensive reworking.
Most of them are landscapes, though there have been two forays into self portraiture, one still life, and an Old Master copy that taught me a lot.
A dozen or so are repeated variations of the same landscape over the seasons, a series that will be finished come September.
I like to think I'm forging a tool, putting together the skills and knowledge needed to bring something new and worthwhile to landscape painting. From a cold start back in 2012, my drawing has picked up and my painting is workmanlike. On a good day, I think I know what I'm doing. On bad days I wonder who I'm kidding.
But then, walking that particular high wire, and refusing to let either over-confidence or ludicrous self-flagellation get in the way of what you're doing, is all part of painting. My next step is to enter some exhibitions this year and see if I get anywhere. If someone else decides my paintings are worth showing, maybe I can believe it too.