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When I was painting in art school - and I think many painters in the 1980s worked similarly - a finished painting would often be constructed from lots of other paintings underneath. Some of these individual layers of painting were better than others, but that was something that you would often only realise retrospectively.
The follow your dreams thing is really important because so many people are railroaded into taking other paths by their family, their friends, people who should be supportive going, 'What are you talking about?' Even just seemingly regular career paths, but if it's not what people expect for you they kind of react funny.