I need to go to the woodshed.
This is a term I usually hear applied to jazz musicians, but I think it can apply to all sorts of artists. If posting art on dA is analogous to a musician performing or recording, then I need to stop posting for a while. I need to 'shed.
Musician and writer Paul Klemperer put it better than I can: "The term woodshedding in jazz means more than just practicing. It is a recognition of the need to sequester oneself and dig into the hard mechanics of the music before you can come back and play with a group in public. There's something philosophical, almost religious, about the term. The musical treasures of jazz are not easily accessed. You have to dig deep into yourself, discipline yourself, become focused on the music and your instrument, before you can unlock the treasure chest." ([link]
John Coltrane (pictured) was renowned for his 'shedding. He mastered the saxophone like few others before or since, and when he performed, he was able to invoke the voices he studied, but still express something personal. The mechanics of tone and dynamics were worked out in the woodshed, so that they became part of the art itself, rather than an impediment.
For the moment, I have settled on pen and ink as my medium of choice, and there is just so much to learn about it. How to lay down a line, how to render value and texture, how to compose a picture. There's no need for me to be working this out in public. I need to reconnect with my muses (Franklin Booth, Bernie Wrightson, Gustav Dore', and others), study their work and try to internalize their genius before I start "performing" again. Will I emerge in a few months' time as a master? Ha, of course not. But I hope to have made some significant progress, without worrying about faves, comments, or pageviews.
I'll be turning off my notifications, except for the people I watch. I'll check in periodically, and try to keep up with the small group of friends I've made here, but I probably won't be posting my own work again until the end of summer.