I've come to realize that painting or any kind of art is a life-long journey with twists and turns rather than a destination or place that you arrive.
Art has been a part of my life ever since I can remember, starting around age 4 or 5. I would draw my favorite cartoon characters all the time and try to come up with my own characters every once in a while. Looking back at all my drawings, it seems I was most creative around ages 7 and 8, but I'm not sure why this is. Around this time I would draw whatever was on my mind - including little corny one-page comics. I was free to create, without putting myself down or doubting my abilities. As time went on, I would still draw off and on but it wasn't always the main focus in my life. I knew when I grew up that I wanted to become an artist but I never knew how or where or what I would do to keep a career.
My skills improved and my hands grew steadier as I became a teenager but it seems that I lost my drive and creativity. I ran out of ideas and seemed to never know what to draw because I felt that I wasn't good at drawing people or animals or almost anything off the top of my head - I was better at copying what I saw. Eventually, I drew some still lifes in high school drawing classes and experimented with oil pastels and paints. Did the same throughout college as well but it became more focused and more clear to me what I might want to do with this talent I possessed.
It took me halfway through college to realize that I loved painting and then it took another two years to realize that I enjoyed acrylic painting more than any other medium [UPDATE 07/2015: And now I love Oil Paints!]. So then, I started painting - a lot. I painted almost 250 paintings in my first year. I would try to do it everyday, whenever I could. At times I would get discouraged and angry but eventually it would pass and I would get back to the brushes and canvas again. After my first year, most of the paintings I did were not something that I enjoyed - I was bored of my "style" and approach. I had barely even created my own style though.
Thus a journey began, to develop something I would enjoy looking at and creating - something I could call my own. My process and use of color is always evolving, the more I read and look at other art, the more I strive to improve and create a clearer vision for my work. It's kind of an art form itself.
The main point I'm trying to make is that I've been doing this almost my whole life - close to 20 years now and I'm still evolving, creating, changing, and improving. This is a journey - mental, physical, emotional - a search for meaning, full of surprises. I don't see how it could ever just be a destination.