One does accumulate quite a 'herstory'. I've kept workbooks since 1986, as was the requirement at art-school. It amazes me that I can get any old workbook out, open it at some random page and read something that I could have written yesterday.
It has been said that a painter only paints one painting for their whole life, or tries to. Even though I have been through so much change through the various stages of my life there is something so consistent recorded in those books, that it makes me feel like I'm a stuck record. Not a loop however, more of a spiral, growing more determined, stronger imprint into matter, and I like to think...space and time. Painting has a lot to do with feelings towards space and its definitely time-based, a record of time passing, freezing the moments. A painting never lies; time invested is palpably visible.
When I am lost, not so often these days, I start rereading my workbooks. Some of them are full of commentary and there are others that have an emptiness and lack of any real attempt to communicate anything. Those books are probably from when painting is going really well...and everything is in the painting, no need to say anything else, complete synthesis. I do try and stop and write down my philosophy of painting when that rises to the top. That sometimes feels quite urgent, a notation of some fleeting thoughts that seem to come come from somewhere quite sub-concious. Those ramblings then get shaped into 'artist statements' of the kind you can find on this website.