No, I'm not talking about the "fine art" type of painting.
I am completing a major renovation of my home teaching studio, and I've been covered in paint for the past three days. During that time, it's easy to let your mind wander and explore ideas.
It occured to me that painting a room is very similar to studying music; you put in a lot of time, and you get a pleasing result...or do you? What if the color is wrong, or you've missed a spot? Just like the painted room, practicing and preparing music has lots of places where things can go wrong.
When practicing, take the time to do it right the first time. Concentrating on less material but with greater focus will yield better results than just "playing through" your music. In painting, the primer coat may take longer, but the end result is better!
Also, remember that you are sometimes too close to the process to truly see your progress. Right after the room is painted, it doesn't look even, some spots are wetter than others, and the color doesn't seem to be uniform. But come back the next day, and things will have sorted themselves out, the color is true, and the wall looks great. You may not see noticable changes in your playing from one practice session to the next, but if you're paying attention, doing it right, and taking the time necessary, in time you will see things have worked out, just like that wall. Now, grab a brush, or some sticks, and get to it!