I have to say first of all thank God it's not just me then!!
I know exactly where you're coming from, I too quite often find it hard to get motivated to paint. I also find some bits of painting more exciting than others. For example I find base colouring tedious and monotonous, but love blending and highlighting.
I have been collecting and painting now for about eighteen years, and just to let you know that in all that time I have yet to completely finish painting an army!!!
. I have a half finished Space Wolf army, a half finished Dark Elf army, a barely started Tomb King's Army, a half finished Witch Hunter's Army and a just started Black templars Army. However after three long years I am finally close to finishing my Cadian Imperial Guard!! At least I have the excuse that this is a BIG army.
The main reason for this is I suspect the same as yours. I am also a pretty good painter, having done it professionally for some time myself. The trouble is that quite often painting for other people can make painting more like work, and less like a hobby, so when you get around to painting for yourself it seems like a bit of a chore.
I also find that I want to have display standard armies. I wouldn't want to speed paint an army, or not put in as much effort as I can as I know I will not appreciate the army when it's finished. The trouble is this takes time, and quite often when I'm half way through painting an army for myself a nice new one comes out and I think "Ooooh I want those too" or "ooooh those models are so much nicer than the ones I'm painting now, and my ones are now way too boring!". And as you say, painting an army means that you can't go too wild on different color schemes, as you need to keep a unified theme.
My best advice is to not be deterred, keep going it will be worth it in the end. As far as motivation goes I have discovered a few new techniques that have helped.
I find that once you get started it's easier to keep up the momentum, and the boring tedious stages are soon forgotten if you just work through them. I try to paint every day now, but only in short 20-30 minute stints, usually before or after work. This means that although it's only a brief painting session, you get about 3-4 hours painting a week done. If you then combine this with a couple of weekend sessions you're time spent painting each month soon builds up.
Play more Games. I often find that I get the urge to paint more when I've been playing with my minis. I hate fielding unpainted minis, but get bored of continually playing with the same ones, so it's motivating to get new units painted up to surprise your opponents.
Set yourself deadlines or enter tournaments or painting competitions. I got the most painting done this year in the two weeks before Conflict. I had to have a fully painted army for this event, and wanted to try to win best painted army. The fact that there was only a finite amount of time to finish meant that I had to sit down and paint, and for once I enjoyed it. Or you could set yourslf personal deadlines, I am sad and have an excel spreadsheet that tells me what I need to paint and when!!
Or gradually increase your army in 500 point blocks. this means that you can control the amount of painting that needs to be done, but don't go off on a tangent painting all the exciting stuff first (we all do it!!
Paint with friends. My gaming friends often meet up for games at the weekend, but now and again instead of gaming we paint instead. This means that you can share techniques, learn from each other, but also get a full day's painting in! If your mates have travelled far they won't let you slack off and miss out on valuable painting time!
Introduce your girlfriend to the hobby. Believe it or not this can work (if you're lucky enough to have a girlfriend that wants to get involved
). I find that painting together can be fun, but also means that you don't feel so guilty or get such a hard time when you're sat painting and not giving your other half any attention. Having a girlfriend involved also means that she then becomes aware of how much this hobby costs
. This has meant that I am simply banned from buying any more figures until I get what I have assembled and painted
. I'll tell ya, that's motivational!!!
Just stick with it, and before you know it you'll have it done, but you're not alone in this. I think all of us have bits of the hobby we enjoy, and bits we don't, and this makes it difficult to get motivated, but the end result is well worth it.