Finished a painting today. The strokes just 'worked', and it just came together.. but that's not always the case.
When a painting 'works', you take a step back and try to figure out why, so you can apply whatever the 'magic formula' is next time. When it doesn't work, it makes it all the harder to start the next one. --in fact, it becomes tedious work.
You toggle back and forth wondering whether you had too much self confidence at the start and took the process for granted. Then, I like to blame things that really don't have any affect on the end result-- like whatever crap music Ralph's playing. Because, you know, crap music can ruin a painting.
So, following this line of thought, the formula's the answer. John Lennon had the formula. Babe Ruth had the formula. I just need to get the formula.
But that's not it either. IF there was a formula, it would compromise the discovery and growth, and the whole process would become mundane. That's when a creative process becomes a factory product.
It's a juggling act. If it was all struggle, I'd give up and go get an office job. If it was all ease, well, then I'd get bored and go get an office job.